It will soon be time for the start of the 10th Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week which, once again, is a magnet for some beautiful newcomers amongst the larger classic yachts including Dietrich Kruegel’s schooner Mistral which is sailing from Germany to take part. A Herreshoff design built in Massachusetts in 1938, Mistral has a distinguished history, patrolling the US coast for U-Boats during World War II and, as a US Navy training ship, crossing the Atlantic under the command of the Navy’s first female captain.
Another boat with some history is Crusade, Nicolas Roach’s 64ft racing yacht built in 1969 and which, under the ownership of one- time Cowes resident, Sir Max Aitken, won the Sydney-Hobart Race in 1971, to name just one of her achievements.
These two vintage headliners are joined by other elegant classics, which, like all the competing yachts in the event, were designed or built before 1970. Several Old Gaffers, SCODs, Twisters and Vintage Swans are preparing for some highly competitive racing. Amongst them a handful, incredibly, were built in the nineteenth century.
Entries have rolled in and numbers in the classic keelboat fleets and cruiser classes are already looking to equal last year’s total.
X One Design class has already the largest entry and set to grow further. In the Daring class defending champion John Corby will have his work cut out against last year’s second placed Doug Harckham. Both have entered again to try to claim victory, while Roger Wickens with Solent Sunbeam Danny will also be looking for a repeat win against an expected dozen or more in that fleet. Regular participants in the Swallows and Bembridge One Designs are all rallying their fleets, and the Flying Fifteens have already got a good showing with more expected.
In the Vintage Dragon class, which made its first appearance last year, there are record numbers as there are in the 8 metres class including David Myatt’s Erica and Christopher Courage’s Helen. Numbers are up in the Folkboat class too.
Seaview Mermaids and National Squibs will be appearing for one day each during the event, and for the second year, a Spirit of Tradition class for yachts more recently introduced but to a classic design, such as the Rustler and Tofinou, will also compete in their own class.
Regatta Chairman, Sir Richard Ottaway, comments “We are hugely looking forward to welcoming so many beautiful and timeless yachts to Cowes on the 10th anniversary of our event which has shaped up over the years to become one of the most talked about regattas in Cowes.”
There is an array of committee boat windward-leewards and round the cans courses to satisfy the competitive spirit of every size of yacht. Most finish lines at the end of the day will be off Cowes so it will be quick and easy to get ashore to the RLYC. This year there is also a new RIB pontoon adjoining the Trinity landing so owners and crews can go straight into the club on their own RIBs during the event.
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.
For those arriving a couple of days early, there will be an evening with Alex Thomson including dinner at the RLYC on Friday 14th July. Alex faced huge challenges during the 2016/2017 Vendee Globe race coming second by a whisker after 74 solitary days at sea.
Owners making a donation to the Cowes Sea Cadets, the event charity for 2017, when they enter will have a chance of winning a magnum of champagne.
Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week is grateful to supporting sponsors Haines Boatyard, Winkworth, Harken, Red Funnel, Cowes Harbour Commission, Kendalls Fine Art and Classic Boat magazine. The organisers are delighted to welcome Henri Lloyd for the first time, who will be bringing along a ‘pop up shop’ of clothing for sale to competitors.