Henri Llloyd are the Official Technical Partner to the Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week in July and they recently interviewed Sir Richard Ottaway, the Chairman of this iconic classic yacht regatta.
To qualify for Cowes Classics week your boat must have been designed more than 50 years ago. We would expect to get 160 – 180 entries. They will be boats of all sizes which would mean we will have 400 – 500 crew members participating in the regatta. The highest number of boats racing was 186 in 2016.
The regatta has an enormously local entry list. What makes the regatta so special that your owners and crew come back year after year?
The boats come back every year. It really is a fun event. As a competitor said last year, it’s how Cowes Week used to be. We have a party every night and long lasting friendships are formed over a drink or one of the many social events put on by the other Cowes Clubs.
Each year you have a plethora of impressive Classics on your start line… to date which entry has brought the most historic?
Many historic yachts have raced in the regatta. Last year saw the great Fife classic Mariquita taking part. Built in 1911 she is one of the most beautiful yachts racing today. She raced in the 19 Metre class before WW1 and then headed to Norway when war broke out. Much later she was used as a house boat until she was restored in the 90’s. She is now a regular competitor on the Classics circuit. An entry this year is Crusade one of the UK’s great Classic Yachts. She is a past winner of the Sydney Hobart race and 2nd place in the Fastnet.
If you are not competing in race, where are the best viewing platforms on the island or main land?
If you’re not a competitor the best place to watch the racing is the promenade at Cowes. All the action will unfold before you. The one design classes will be racing over at Hillhead, if possible try and get out on the water to watch some of the best racing you’ll find anywhere.