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Down To The Last Race for the Cape 31’s in a Shifty Northerly

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Round Five of the 31 Race Circuit at the Royal Thames Yacht Club Invitational

Seventeen Cape 31’s were on the start line at the Royal Thames Invitational at the weekend which marked Round Five of the 31 Race Circuit. Following a big week of orienteering at Cowes Week the Cape fleet had eight windward leeward races in a puffy and very shifty Northerly.

The conditions made for tight finishes and huge gains and losses to be made on the race course. In eight races there were five different race winners making for close battles on the leader board. Amongst the races winners were new team Motions, taking a convincing win after coming last in the race before.

With the usual suspects from the solent, four Irish teams, Flying Jenny from the USA and the fleets newest team from the Netherlands, there was quite an international feel to the fleet.

Nine out of seventeen teams made it onto the podium in races over the weekend. Lots of woops and cheers could be heard throughout the fleet on finish lines as new teams pulled it together to earn a top spot - a great feeling for all involved.

In the top spots over the three days were Arabella, Tokoloshe, Katabatic and Squirt. Niall Dowling’s team on Arabellawere leading after Day 1 with a 1,1,2 with Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe in second place with 1,2,2 and Lance Adam’s Katabatic in third. Tokoloshe took the lead after day two with Squirt moving into second place just two points behind the leaders. In the end it all came down to the last two races on Sunday. After not winning a race in the first two days Russell Peters and team pulled it out of the bag with two bullets on Sunday.

Ian Walker, tactician on Tokoloshe said “Sailing the Cape’s was fantasic and the conditions were excellent. Great racing, lots of place changing. The Tokoloshe crew were awesome - I don’t think I’ve ever sailed on such a quiet calm boat, they made it all the more fun. The good think about the racing this weekend was that no-one was going to get everything right. If you fell back, you always felt that there was opportunity.”

The fleet attracted some new but well known faces this weekend including Olympic gold medalist Giles Scott on Arabella, Olympian Saskia Tidey on Fanatic, America’s Cup veteran Jes Gram Hansen on Motions, double Olympic Silver medalist and Volvo Ocean Race Winner Ian Walker on Tokoloshe and Grant “Fuzz” Spanake Olypmic, TP52, Americas Cup and Round the World Sailor and Coach on Flying Jenny.

Off the water the teams enjoyed beers and pizza on Friday night at the Sugar Store at Shepards Marina. On Saturday they gathered at the Island Sailing Club for the regatta party with food, AIX Rosé and music into the wee hours.

21 teams are expected for the Cape 31 National Championship at the Royal Yacht Squadron 30th September to 2nd October. The largest number of these boats that have been on a race course at once. Get out on to the water if you can - it's a spectacle!

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