Classic Yacht Regatta Introduces Challenge Day

Competitors at the British Classic Yacht Club Panerai Cowes Regatta 2010 will for the first time be given the opportunity to pair off against each other in head to head match race battles. In a new addition to the regatta schedule for this year, Wednesday 21st July has been designated ‘Challenge Day’, offering competing owners the chance to challenge any other yacht bigger than their own to a boat-on-boat race. Whilst the results from Challenge Day will not count towards the overall series points and the crews will be racing primarily for individual bragging rights, the organisers believe this new initiative will generate plenty of good-natured competition.
With many of the fleet of around fifty classic yachts expected to gather at Cowes Yacht Haven on the eve of the regatta on Sunday 18th July, having undergone many hours of meticulous restoration work, the regatta is as much as anything a celebration of classic yachting. Certain to turn heads will be Richard Matthews’s authentically restored 1898 William Fife designed 14.6m Kismet, which will be making her first appearance at the British Classic Yacht Club Regatta. Matthews dragged her from a fifty-year sojourn in the Essex mud and after four years of painstaking work led by Adrian Wombwell, she was finally re-launched in 2009.
This year’s regatta also boasts two other nineteenth century entries, in the form of David Sherriff’s wonderful 1897 Cork Harbour One-Design gaff-cutter Jap and the oldest entry in the event, Lance Rowell’s 1894 Thames Rater, Dorothy.
Amongst the larger yachts at this year’s regatta will be Olivier Pecoux’s mighty Sparkman and Stephens Amazon, a steel auxiliary yawl, originally built by Camper and Nicholson in 1971 for Greek shipping magnate, John Goulandris.
Whilst the regatta is very much about the rare spectacle of so many marvellous classic yachts gathering in Cowes, a venue itself steeped in the history of traditional British yachting, rest assured the racing will also be highly competitive. Based on previous BCYC regattas, hard fought on the water battles are likely to be waged in all classes throughout the week.
Amongst several others, Gildas Rostain’s 1963 Olin Stephens designed yawl Stiren certainly has an enviable racing pedigree, having won both legs of the 2008 Transat Classique and has strong potential to be a contender for the silverware.
As in previous years, the 2010 regatta will also include a clutch of modern built boats designed and built in the spirit of classic yachting. Four Sean MacMillan designed Spirit yachts, Dr Sandy Fielding & Professor Martin Whittle’s Strega, Tom Hill’s Dido, Stephen O’Flaherty’s Soufriere and McMillan’s own Flight of Ufford will be joined by Stephen Jones’s self-designed Meteor in the Modern Classic Division.
The British Classic Yacht Club Panerai Cowes Regatta 2010 will run from Sunday 18th July to Saturday 24th July. Competing yachts will be berthed at Cowes Yacht Haven.