Entries for this month's Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week look set to be up on last year, standing at 170 today including the Squibs and Mermaids expected on the Tuesday and Thursday. Entries are open until 17 July.
Once again the Classics, including the 6 metres, Darings (glass 5.5s), Solent Sunbeams, Swallows, XODs, Flying Fifteens, Bembridge One Designs and the return of the Classic Dayboat Class, will be attending the five day event which starts at Cowes on 20 July.
Cowes Classics Week, which first took place in 2008 as a modest event for metre and classic dayboats, has since welcomed classic yachts such as the Nicholsons, SCODs, Twisters, and Folkboats and many beautiful one offs, and for the first time the Contessa 26 class whose winner will receive the Queen Victoria Jubilee Cup to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
The Old Gaffers are still going strong with two classes, one racing from a committee boat and the larger boats racing from the RLYC shoreline with the classic yachts, plus there are some spirit of tradition French designed Tofinous entered.
The yachts, representing 30 yacht clubs both in the UK and overseas, will be competing in 12 different classes over a number of race courses. Interest from newcomers continues to grow - over 50 entrants didn't compete last year. Crews are coming from the UK and overseas.
Back to defend their 2014 titles include overall winner of the event and current Charles Stanley 1792 Cup holder Richard Hargreaves in his Twister Sea Urchin, who also won the Harken Trophy; Kim Slater from Parkstone winner of last year's largest class, the XODs, will also be back to try to hold off his 60-odd rivals for the Haines Boatyard Trophy on a dedicated championship course which has been specially arranged for them.
Malcolm Lofts will be defending his 2014 win in the Daring Class as the current holder of the Loup Garou Model; Jo Burnie who won the Cowes Classics Week Cup in his Solent Sunbeam in 2013 and 2014; David Shaw winner of the Bembridge One Design Red Funnel Plate in 2014 and David Hopkins who has won the Old Gaffer Class for the last three years in his lovely little yacht Chough.
Other competitors to watch are Stuart and Ado Jardine in the XODs, both many times winners of the Captains Cup, Alastair Ashford also in the XODs and a former Captains Cup winner over specially from Antigua, and Mike Martell winner of the XODs in 2013. Roger Wickens and Alan Stannah will be in their Solent Sunbeams - the pair are the driving force behind the glass boats and arguably the saviours of this now thriving class with 32 boats at Itchenor. The well known yachting journalist Bob Fisher will be racing the Old Gaffer Rosenn this year and Jonty Sherwill, a very successful Hamble based sailor, is racing his lovely one-off dayboat Cockleshell defending the Maurice Wilmot Cup which he won in the Classic Dayboat Class in 2013.
We welcome the 6mRs back after a gap of a few years with International President Lt Col Tim Street and UK Chairman Sir Robert Owen competing.
Last but not least, Magnus Wheatley who has been cleaning up in the Darings this season, will be competing with Charles Stanley colleagues, and other Charles Stanley sailors include Chris Evans who will be racing his Flying Fifteen ffickle and Mark Dobson in his XOD Jinx.
Finally we welcome Ted Fort, a well known former Soling, Dragon and Etchells sailor, and a great benefactor to the sailing world, who will be racing his Tofinou Pippa which he has brought up from St Tropez.
"As always we are expecting a very competitive turn out keen to win the 28 trophies on offer," comments Peter Taylor, Regatta Chairman and Principal Race Officer. "The trophies are mainly from the magnificent Royal London collection some dating back to the 19th century and for the Charles Stanley 1792 Cup for the Week's Overall winner, named after the year they were formed." He adds "Some of these yachts are over 100 years old but all are at the top of their game, and most are lovingly restored to immaculate condition by their owners".
Racing will be organised by the Royal London Yacht Club with support from RORC/Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Island Sailing Club and Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club.
Thanks go to supporting sponsors Harken, Haines Boatyard, Hudson Wight, Winkworth, Cowes Harbour Commission, nms Marketing, Kendalls, The Yachting Studio, and Classic Boat Magazine.
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Photo credit; Twister by Tim Jeffreys.
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