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Pendennis Cup Day 1: Mariette and Mikado win in their classes

The third Pendennis Cup got under way in Falmouth Bay yesterday. Following the late withdrawal of the schooner Eleanora due to technical problems, Classes 1 and 2 were amalgamated to form a fleet of nine boats. Professional race officer Peter Craig oversaw the combined class’s Bucket style staggered starts which are becoming the norm in this type of regatta with such a variety of boats competing.

The 42 metre Herreshoff schooner Mariette was the first to start, followed by the 26 metre ketch Velacarina and then the rest of the fleet at two minute intervals.

At the end of a course of around 25 miles sailed in a SSW force four to five and persistent drizzle, the first three boats finished off Pendennis Point within 27 seconds of each other. Line honours went to the 34 metre German Frers sloop Unfurled, closely followed by the schooners Adela (56 metres) and Athos (61 metres).

'The helmsman was concentrating so hard he couldn’t look back,' says Adam Bateman, Unfurled’s captain, 'but he could almost feel the bowsprits prodding him in his back!'

Mariette finished fourth, but she was close enough to the leading three to take victory on handicap with Adela second. 'It was a very good course for schooners and ketches as there wasn’t a lot of beating but there was a lot of tight fetching,' explains Duncan Adams, Mariette’s tactician. 'It wasn’t really a hugely tactical race but we’ve started the way we want to keep going.'

Sailing on board Firebrand – the 1965 Admiral’s Cupper owned and steered by naval architect Ed Dubois – we had a conventional line start in Class 3. The Sparkman & Stephens yawl Tomahawk finished a short distance ahead of us, but after the times were corrected, the 1904 Fife-designed Mikado – the oldest boat competing - was declared the winner, while we retained our second place.

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