Sailing classic yachts here in Cowes over Panerai Classics Week has a gentlemanly air about it. Yes they are in it to win but the old ladies they sail in are fragile beings and need to be treated with great respect so they are seldom pushed to extremes. We are in Cowes as guests of Panerai and are enjoying the spectacle with relish.
One yacht that has caught our eye is Clarionet. She may have only come out of David Heritage’s refit shed last week, but she and her crew were in perfect harmony on day day four which saw them claim their fourth race victory of the week. Cowes continued to deliver outstanding sailing conditions for the fourth day of the regatta with glorious sunshine, azure waters and a northeasterly breeze of 10-18 knots, which pushed the yachts around the Central Solent course in true style for race four of the series.
Another yacht that we chose to support is Zarikowned and skippered by Mark Whiteley formerly a member of the Redman Whiteley Dixon team. He tells us that he is still enjoying life after design work but will move on at some time when he feels the moment is nigh. Meanwhile he is doing well in the regatta.
Another yacht with super yacht connections is Beeleigh the 46’ Fred Sheppard auxiliary cutter built by Stone’s of Brightlingsea in 1913. On board is former Perini Navi Captain, Ben Duxbury sailing as Navigator and race tactician
One crew that may never hit the front of the fleet, but nonetheless feels like a winner every day they complete the course is Bojar, Andrew Pearson’s 1937 Jonas Anker designed and built 10 Metre. Andrew is sailing with a crew of family and friends including his teenage children Olivia and Alexander. The only boat racing without a spinnaker they are happy to acknowledge they are here for the fun rather than the victor’s laurels. Just getting round the course safely can be a challenge as Andrew laughingly explains, “We have a varnished pine deck which can be like a skating rink when wet so just staying aboard is hard work!” Young Olivia and Alexander are no mere passengers with Olivia taking her turn at helming, trimming and keeping everything shipshape in the cockpit, and Alexander navigating. This is their first Panerai British Classic Week and they hope it will be the first of many.
Racing continues until Friday with a total of six races scheduled and the event concludes on Saturday with a Parade of Sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron at 11.00.