Classy Peregrine takes flight before Variety joins the show

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Alex Alley, from Gosport.

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Despite the hundreds of boats and thousands of competitors, Cowes Week is all about intense competition between racing yachts in each of the numerous classes.

One-design or handicap, large or small, after a couple of days and a few races, everyone knows where the competition is coming from at their level.

Marking its 80th anniversary, those in Portsmouth’s Victory class already have a measure of the opposition, though early skirmishes are yet to suggest an overall winner at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

Duncan Evan’s 2008-built Peregrine took the first race of the week, though followed up with a disappointing ninth in the second.

Janet Dee and Shaun Hopkins’ Variety won the second race.

Geoff and Sarah Dixon’s Zelia showed early form with a 3-2 scoreline to hold an early overall lead, as did Kim Taylor’s Zest (4-3).

Further down the Victory class are brother and sister Hugh and Philippa Pringle, Cowes Week regulars since the 1970s.

‘We basically put sibling rivalry to one side when we’re sailing,’ said Hugh.

‘We get on well in the boat, and although I helm, she often knows better than me, so we’re a good team.

‘Family Day was great, despite our middle of the fleet result (10th).

‘We had challenging conditions, which led to bit of broach in one of the gusts, so Philippa got a bit wet.

‘She still seems to be talking to me however.’

Elsewhere, Jon Powell and his team from Warsash aboard Betty took wins in the opening two races of the J/80 class.

‘It was really shifty out there and it was particularly noticeable because we were sent on a zig-zag course to Norris, where the wind was all over the place,’ said Jon.

‘We had a moderate start but managed to take the lead a quarter of the way up the first leg.

‘Once ahead it was a case of not just playing the shifts well but also being fairly conservative and taking a few knocks now and again.’

After the opening weekend Betty’s performance put her in second place in the overall white group standings, just behind Dauntless in the Daring class, another double winner.

The positions were determined by comparing results with the size of the class contested.

Black group was led by Chaz Ivill’s J/97 ETB Tyres Just Like That thanks to two bullets in IRC5, just ahead of IRC4’s HOD 35 Zarafa, and the Beneteau 47.7 Moana (IRC1).

In IRC2, Adam Gosling’s Corby 36 Yes!, last year’s overall Black Group winner, is leading with a 2-1 scoreline.

One yacht having a nightmare regatta so far is the normally competitive J/111 Shmokin Joe, which so far has been over the line twice and disqualified once.

Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug took an early lead in the week, which is also the class’ European Championships.