11:12 Saturday 11 Aug 2018 Sue Pelling/LCWA win for Leon

David Franks, winner of Class 4 in his brand-new J/111, Leon photo Tom Gruitt/LCW

David Franks, local sailor and master of many classes here at Lendy Cowes Week has won Class 4 in his brand-new J/111e Leon and, up until yesterday, was leading Black Group overall.

Winning the class in his new boat was even more special for Franks this year as he explained after the last race.

“I had ordered this boat about six weeks ago and it was due to be delivered just before Cowes Week. Very sadly my six month old grandson died suddenly four weeks ago and, with my daughter and son-in-law’s permission I called my new boat Leon and the sail number is his birthday – 22118 – which marked his birthday in January.

“It is hugely sad and devastating but the strange thing is that calling the boat Leon has helped in its little way. My grandchildren have come down, my daughters, my wife, my son-in-law’s parents and family have come down and we’ve all looked at the boat, been on the boat and we’ve got it branded beautifully.

“My daughter wrote the word Leon on a particular photograph and we have used that as the image to memorialize him so no one should forget him.”

Commenting on the success of the regatta in a brand-new boat that he’d not raced before, or sailed with the crew as a whole, Franks said: “We weren’t used to the boat but we do have some cracking sailors on board, in particular Graham Sunderland who is a legend in his own right. The crew did a great job on a boat that we are only just getting used to. So, I am very pleased. I have won my class before but I have never come so close to winning Black Group. We were just an inch away from getting it, so that would have been lovely, but the family are delighted I have won class 4.”

Summing up Lendy Cowes Week 2018, Franks concluded: “I have raced at least 25 Cowes Weeks before, but this one has undoubtedly been the most special.”


Earlier News Stories

For earlier news stories, as well as results, videos and photographs from previous years, visit our comprehensive Regatta Archive.