Cowes 1991- Cowes Express start boat "Wight King"
Incredible footage Nigel!
Haven't seen any video of this race before.
Unfortunately this race is often remembered for the controversial running of some competitors onto the rocks near Torquay and I shall not add further to what has been said before-only to say that all competitors are responsible for the safe navigation of their boats after the start including Rule 6 of the Colregs and no blame should have been placed at race organisers - who acted on the pre race weather forecast.
The film shows great -fast catamaran racing of the early 1990s. Cant forget the sound of a dozen or so V12 Lamborghinis tearing down the Solent!
I was master with IOW based ferry company, Cowes Express, at the time - and we provided the start boat that year the 50 knot surface effect ship (air cushion catamaran) Wight King. I remember making one practice run and trying to find a safe spot for the starters (flag man and a.n. other with VHF) on top of the aft superstructure, without them literally getting blown away.
On race day I think we made one of the fastest ever CTC rolling starts- certainly all the big cats were nicely up and running as we wound the Wight King up to around 48 to 50 knots.
Just before the start though, most of the invited "guests" on board realised the starting fleet would be on our Port side and all went across to the windows on that side- this caused cavitation on the Stbd waterjet and a bit of a wobble just before the start. However teverybody got away without incident- as can be seen in the footage.
Sadly, Cowes Express was squeezed out of operation by ABP (Associated British Ports) who ran the Port of Southampton and coincidentally, owned our competition, Red Funnel Ferries-and by the time CTC 92 came around, we were no longer in business.
Subsequent starts at Cowes were a more sedate 35 kts behind the Red Jet catamarans.
Happy memories from when the fast cats reigned!
Keep the vids coming Nige!