As every year in July, the old port of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, and the legendary waters of the Solent – the strait separating the island from England, famous for its unique combination of winds and tides – play host to Panerai British Classic Week, taking place between the eighth and 15th July 2017.
Dozens of yachts will gather in Cowes Yacht Haven to take part in the various races and activities, including the spectacular Concours D’Elegance, which will see all competing classic yachts and classic motor boats parade past the Royal Yacht Squadron on the first day; the EFG sponsored Around the Island Race; Ladies Race, and the popular Open Yachts Pontoon Party on Tuesday night.
Close to 50 classic yachts have currently signed up so for this year’s regatta, some of which have a remarkable history. Mikado, the stunning 30 Linear Rater built by Fife in 1904, is the oldest yacht racing and will be hoping to repeat her 2011 regatta winning performance. Other Fife designs joining the fray include the fractional Bermudan sloop Nyachilwa, built by Fairlie in 1952, and the classic six and eight Metres Melita (1934) and Saskia (1931).
Making her first appearance at Panerai British Classic Week will be the Lage Eklund designed Malar 30 (a 30 Square Metre derivative one design class created for use on Lake Malar in Sweden in the 1930s) which was built by Eriksson in Sweden in 1936. Other Holman designs competing this year include Estrella.
The smallest yachts competing this year will be the Kim Holman designed Stella one designs Scorpio and Estrella which were both built by Tucker Brown in Burnham on Crouch in 1963. Estrella came within a whisker of winning class 4 at last year’s regatta and was only beaten on countback by Jonathan and Cilla Dyke’s 1938 Robert Clark Bermudan sloop Cereste, so goes into this event with victory in her sights. Returning to defend the 2016 overall title will be Giovanni Belgrano and his crew aboard the Laurent Giles designed sloop Whooper, which was built by Woodnutts in 1939.
A very exciting addition to this year’s fleet will be the brand new Spirit 52D, Oui Fling, built by the traditional British boat builder Spirit Yachts and only launched in June 2017. Oui Fling is entirely built for racing so does not carry the weight of an interior.
On-shore entertainment and refreshments will be provided at the Panerai Lounge located at Cowes Yacht Haven, offering beautiful views of the classic yachts moored in the Yacht Haven. Once the Panerai British Classic Week finishes, the next Mediterranean regatta will be Mahon XIV Copa de Rey de Barcos de Epoca from August 29th to 2nd September, which is held every second year and draws dozens of historic yachts. The season then finishes with the renowned Les Régates Royales at Cannes, taking place from 26th to 30th September.
by Panerai British Classic Week