Sailing: Quencher refreshes Eaton: Newly finished boat goes from strength to strength

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QUENCHER has turned out to be one of the wonders of Cowes Week, and all in the space of a few days. When Mike Eaton's boat started her first race on Saturday the crew were still bolting things to the deck and the hull.

Quencher won that day, retired on the soggy Sunday, and has won every day since. 'She's a little beauty, an absolute delight, and straight out of the box,' Jonty Sherwill, the helmsman, said.

The SJ320 comes from the drawing board of Stephen Jones, the designer who lives just the other side of the Solent up the Hamble River in Warsash. He is also responsible for one of the high-profile boats of the week, Richard Matthews' Essex Girl. She has shown great pace at times, but has still to find true winning form.

Essex Girl was one of those not helped yesterday by the course-setting blunder which left the Britannia Cup in disarray when the fleet was sent to a buoy which has not been there for two years.

Having gone 15 miles east out of the Solent, Class One was left looking for Dean Tail Buoy. Some boats sailed around the position it should have been in, as indicated by their satellite positioning systems, some sailed around buoys marking the wreck of the Theofano, and some went home.

Inevitably, the race went to the protest room as Graham Walker's Indulgence said that they should be awarded the race as they could prove they had sailed the course. Others said they had similar computer-logged evidence.

In the more straightforward world of the day boats, another man from the Hamble, Peter Baines, has been keeping well clear of trouble like that. He won his third race in a row in the X One-Design boats, his fourth of the week.

The Captain's Cup, scored on the cumulative results of the Monday to Friday races, was won by Baines in 1992 with the same boat, Wenda, and he was looking very confident yesterday despite being ninth at the end of the first upwind leg.

Also recording a hat-trick of wins was Jeremy Lear in the Victory day-boat class, which is celebrating its diamond jubilee this year. Summer Pudding has done the same in the Sigma 38s.

There was also another satisfying win for Eric Williams, sailing Hectic in the Dragon class. This is his 34th Cowes Week and his appetite is as great as ever.