#historiccraft – Already more than 70 entries have registered for Panerai British Classic Week 2015, which will take place from 18th – 25th July at Cowes Yacht Haven.
Leading the international visitors are French America's Cup legend Bruno Troublé who will skipper 'Jour de Fête', a "Q Boat" designed by Paine/Burgess to Herreschoff's Universal Rule and built by Lawley in Boston in 1930, and the awe inspiring 'Eleonora', which at just shy of 50m long is the largest yacht entered to date and was built to a Nathaniel G Hereschoff schooner design by Van de Graaf in 2000.
The oldest yachts competing include David Sherriff's delightful 1897 Fife Gaff Cutter 'Jap', winner of Panerai British Classic Week in 2012, Richard Oswald's 1902 Fred Shepherd Gaff Schooner 'Coral', and Pelham Olive's 1903 Alfred Mylne Gaff Cutter 'Kelpie'.
The regatta attracts classic yachts of all shapes and sizes and the smallest currently entered is Michael Frith's 1964 Kroes en Zonen designed 7.4m Bermudan Sloop 'Blue Eagle', whilst the largest are 'Eleonora" and the spectacular 29m long 1911 William Fife Gaff Cutter 'Mariquita', owned by John Caulcutt, Jamie Matheson and Stephen Hemsley.
Giovani Belgrano's defending Panerai British Classic Week champion Whooper, comes to the regatta fresh from overall victory in the IRC Classes at the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. Other past winners of the event hoping to add their name to the event's prestigious trophies again include David Murrin's 1955 Laurent Giles Sloop 'Cetewayo', Jamie Matheson's 'Opposition', the 1971 Sparkman & Stephens sloop built by Lallows for British Prime Minister Ted Heath, and Murdoch McKillop's 1931 Fife designed International 8 Metre 'Saskia'.
The Modern Classic Classes, for the Spirit Yachts and modern yachts built with the appearance of a classic, will be hotly contested as always with Stephen Jones's self designed 'Meteor', Regatta Chairman Sean McMillan's Spirit 52 'Flight of Ufford' and Stephen O'Flaherty's 'Soufriere', which famously starred in the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale, heading the list of possible Modern Classics winners.
Whilst the boats remain the stars of the show, there are nonetheless always plenty of human stars in attendance too. Making his first appearance at Panerai British Classic Week is double International Moth World Champion Simon Payne, who will be swopping his foiling speed machine for his extremely elegant but somewhat slower Nicholson Jolina 35 'Damian B'. TV star and well-known classic boat enthusiast Griff Rhys-Jones will make a welcome return to the regatta aboard his 1948 Olin Stephens designed Bermudan Yawl 'Argyll', and as always the crew lists will feature a host of internationally renowned sailors.
Also playing a key role in the regatta's success are the event sponsors led by Title Sponsor Officine Panerai, and supported by Official Partner Sponsor EFG, Official Media Partner Classic Boat, Race Day Sponsor Sandeman Yacht Company, Official Rum Supplier Mount Gay Rum and Official Clothing Supplier Zhik.
Royal Yacht Squadron Racing will run a six race series plus the special Around the Island Race sponsored by EFG International on Monday 20th July. The ever-popular Ladies Race will be held on Wednesday 22nd July and the regatta will conclude with the Parade of Sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron and Cowes Green on Saturday 25th July.
Ashore the Panerai Lounge will be the focal point for pre and post sailing gatherings and the social programme includes a Welcome Reception at the Royal Yacht Squadron, the traditional "Open Yachts" Pontoon Party, and the Prize Giving Dinner at Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre.