The 7th Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week kicked off yesterday with racers enjoying the British heatwave down on the Isle of Wight. Day one saw sufficient breeze, between 8 and 12 knots, to provide some stable conditions, before softening towards the end of the race day.
Yesterday eight one-design classes vied for the week’s first trophy on offer, the Trinity Cup, in a one off race, The main four-day series starts today.
Cowes Classics Week, organized by Royal London Yacht Club is for all Metre boats, Classic Racing Dayboats and One Designs, Classic Cruisers and Old Gaffers. The yachts, representing 30 yacht clubs both in the UK and overseas, will be competing in 14 different classes over a number of race courses, from 21st to 25th July.
The organizers are delighted that interest from newcomers has grown since 2013. For Cowes Classic Week 2014 over 40 entrants are first timers. Crews hail from across the UK and overseas, including a crew from Perth, Western Australia.
Entries for Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week 2014 are significantly up on last year, with over 160 boats believed to be taking part. The numbers represent an increase of 25% on last year.
Day One Action:
The two Classic Cruiser classes, comprising 27 yachts all of whom were built before 1970, were divided into Fast and Slow divisions to compete in the first of their 5-day regatta series. Like all the other classes they started from the shore line of the organising club, the Royal London Yacht Club.
Bob Gatehouse’sErida, Peter Halliday’s Bambella and William Amherst’s Janessa fought a close battle up the first leg in the Fast division, on a course which took them on a beat up to the mainland shore in the north westerly wind direction. Erida held on to her lead to the second windward mark to hoist her spinnaker first, pursued by Bob Fisher’s 1898 Fife Mignon, but ultimately it was Jonty Sherwill’s Cockleshell, built in 1926, which won the class on handicap.
Brian Haugh’s 1957 Buchanan design Cherete triumphed in the Classic Cruiser Slow division, which enjoyed a similar course of mid-Solent marks, followed by James Stock’s Twister Fly of Beaulieu.
8mR: Helen, Christopher Courage; Daring: Dynamite, Doug Harckham; National Swallow: Swift, Martin Jones; Solent Sunbeam: Fleury, Joe and Cathy Burnie; Flying Fifteen: Glass Half Full, John Hassen; Loch Long: Fingal, Jonathan Chadd; XOD: Madelaine, Kim Slater; Old Gaffers: Chough, David Hopkins; Classic Cruiser Fast: Cocklesheel, Jonty Sherwill; Classic Cruiser Slow: Cherete, Brian Haugh.
Top Sailors to watch:
Back to defend their 2013 titles include overall winner of the event, current Harken Trophy holder Jo Burnie who sails a Solent Sunbeam. Mike Martell, winner of last year’s largest class, the XOD, will also be back to try to hold off his 50-odd rivals for the Haines Boatyard Trophy. Saskia is the yacht to watch out for in the 8-metre class while David Gower will be defending his 2013 win in the Daring Class as the current holder of the Loup Garou Model.
Other competitors to watch are Ado Jardine in the XODs, several times winner of the Captains Cup and 2011 overall winner, Alastair Ashford also in the XODs and a former Captains Cup winner over specially from Antigua, who will have his eye on the the New Helm Trophy, among others, Roger Wickens in his Sunbeam the overall winner in 2011, the driving force behind the glass boats and arguably, with Alan Stannah, the saviour of this thriving class, the well known yachting journalist Bob Fisher in his lovely slippery Fife and last but not least Magnus Wheatley very successfully campaigning his new Daring this year who will be racing with Charles Stanley colleagues.
Supporting sponsors of Cowes Classics Week are Hudson White, Harken, Haines Boatyard, Winkworth, Cowes Harbour Commission, Kendall’s Fine Art, and NMS Adaptive.
Top photo: Helmi Cruiser, Fast Division by Tim Jeffreys
Bottom photo: Solent Sunbeams by Jake Sugden