With less than a month to go before the start of the 11th Cowes Classics Week, entries in the classic keelboat fleets and cruiser classes are already looking to equal last year’s total including the magnificent 8 Metres.
The regatta is on course to attract over 150 yachts, all of whom meet the qualification of being built to designs drawn up before 1968 or in the spirit of tradition. The event looks to be another classic of Classics in a week that will once again provide thrilling Solent race courses and entertainment every evening.
The X One Design class is already the largest entry and set to grow towards the mid-forties if previous years are anything to go by. Defending champion Claire de Lune will be back to give last year’s second placed Paul Woodman in Ibex a run for his money. “We won in 2015 and got close again last year. Looking at the entry list there must be at least six boats you would put money on with a good chance of overall victory!” says Paul.
Some of the most eye-catching boats on the water are the 8 Metres with their elegant classic lines. No less than four of these majestic beauties will be lining up on their start line, including Christopher Courage’s Helen and Jonathan Cork and David Parson’s Athena, both regular participants.
In the Daring class past Cowes Classics Week Chairman Sir Richard Ottaway returns as a competitor and with Class Champion and serial Cowes Week winner Giles Peckham racing too there should be a lot of competition for the top places. Meanwhile the regular participants in the Solent Sunbeams, Swallows and Bembridge One Designs are all rallying their fleets, and the Flying Fifteens have already got a good showing with many more expected.
A number of Vintage Dragons, which made their first appearance at Cowes Classics Week two years ago are back again, whilst there is expected to be a good showing of Nordic Folkboats. SCODs, Twisters and Vintage Swans are also preparing for some highly competitive racing while the Seaview Mermaids and National Squibs will be appearing for one day each during the event, and for the third year, a Spirit of Tradition class for yachts more recently introduced but to a classic design.
Such vintage headliners are joined by other elegant classics. Several Old Gaffers including Ossie Stewart’s Thames A Rater Dorothy, built in 1894 will be adding to the historical atmosphere of the event, although she is still regularly winning classic racing events.
David Elliot will be campaigning his cruising 6 Metre Monsoon once again. “Having been involved in launching the event as the original Metre & Classic Keelboat Regatta, we have not missed one, this will be our 11th, and the combination of top quality racing and very friendly socials will keep us coming back. It has everything a great regatta needs,” he reports.
Martin Thomas, who owns 8 Metre cruiser Charm of Rhu, is a regular competitor at Cowes Classics Week. “We always look forward to this excellent and well run event, both the racing and the parties. Last time we lost out to Sunmaid V, so this year she had better watch out, we will hunt her down!” he comments.
Added to these legends is Cynthia, Mike Randall’s 1922 built Seaview Mermaid whose major restoration was completed last year just hours before the first race in last year’s Cowes Classics Week.
Regatta Chairman, David Gower, comments “We are delighted to once again be welcoming so many classic yachts to this wonderful event which is often referred to as the best Classics Regatta for its mix of great racing courses and social events all based in the yacht clubs of Cowes.”
The organising club, the Royal London Yacht Club, will be supported by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club and Island Sailing Club. The famous RLYC tea parties will once again be held every afternoon social events every evening. For the first time competitors will also be able to exclusively visit the Classic Boat Museum at its new West Cowes location for a post-racing reception and supper. While there they can inspect some of the most iconic boats ever produced.
Despite not having a title sponsor, Cowes Classics Week is very well supported by a line-up of associate sponsors including Charles Stanley Direct, Winkworth, Red Funnel, Cowes Harbour Commission, Kendalls Fine Art, Clare Lallows boatyard and Classic Boat magazine. The organisers are also delighted to welcome Zhik clothing and Robert Oatley Fine Wines for the first time.
more info cowesclassicsweek.org.
by Cowes Classic Week