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Visit Malta Puma triumph on last day of Cowes Week

Skipper Tim Thubron's final day race report.

After a long hard week of racing and the disappointment of an OCS (over the course start) on Friday the crew on Visit Malta Puma headed out to the start line on Saturday with the goal of winning their first Cowes Week race. 

Very lights airs and strong spring tides greeted us as we headed over to the start area and we watched anxiously as the Class 0 and Class 1 boats started just 10 minutes before us and many of them struggled to clear the start line. For this last race we were grouped with Class 2 as well as the Beneteau 40.7s potentially making for a very competitive fleet.

Our start strategy was initially very clear; to head over to the mainland shore to get out of the tide was essential so starting at the starboard end of the line looked to be the best place to start.  However, with just 3 minutes to go the wind dramatically picked up making the other end of the start line (pin end) favoured.

Visit Malta Puma timed it to perfection, tacking just a few seconds before the start and heading off on port tack towards the shore.  Slightly worryingly we heard the call of 'individual recall' but Mike (first mate / bow) called back confidently to say that we were definitely behind the line!  Amazingly only one other boat had started near us and immediately we were able to sail into a commanding lead.  Early on we knew we were doing well as just 10 minutes into the race we overhauled some of the bigger and faster Class 1 yachts who had started 10 minutes before us!  It also took over an hour for the first Class 2 yacht to overhaul us as well.

With such strong tides we were under pressure to 'push things' but the team kept their nerve even when the depth gauge was reading 0.0 at one stage!!!! (Don't tell Allie!)

Paul (navigator for the day) had clearly learned well from Tris (navigator all week) and made some great layline calls as we approached the windward mark at up to 10 knots SOG (speed over ground).  On the final downwind leg we were, however, slightly bemused when the call came back that there were a number of hazards in front of us only to be clarified when Tim asked "what sort" as "various"! Hmmm!

Yet again a fantastic race for a team who hadn't sailed together before the first race and we were rewarded with our first race win of the week and at long last were able to beat our great rivals Premier Flair! Not only did we soon find out that we had comfortably won our Class (3) but also that we had beaten all of the faster Class 2 boats as well on corrected time. A real triumph!

Naturally some champagne was quickly flowing as the results were confirmed - a brilliant race and well deserved result from an excellent team. Thanks Team, and I hope to sail with you all again!

Photo taken by Andrew McIrvine, skipper of La Reponse

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