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Displaying items by tag: Cowes

As the Race Management Team at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes commences the countdown to the start of the 80th Anniversary Round the Island Race on Saturday 25th June, boats have already started arriving in Cowes, such is the excitement surrounding this record-breaking yacht race.

This epic event, dubbed 'Britain's favourite yacht race' has attracted a record number of entries this year, now standing at a phenomenal 1,908 since entries closed last Saturday.

Rod Nicholls, Commodore of the Island Sailing Club, reflects the mood of everyone involved in this year's Race, saying, "We're all very excited at the prospect of welcoming a record fleet on the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes early on Saturday morning. We're hoping for good sailing conditions to help get everyone away on time and safely round the Island."

The first start is at 0600 when the gun will be fired by TV personality Denise van Outen to commence a series of class starts lasting one hour 40 minutes that sees eleven different classes of boat set off on their epic one-day racing adventure.

The first finisher, taking line honours, but not necessarily winning the famous Gold Roman Bowl, is expected to cross the finish line back in Cowes at around 0930 after completing the 50 nautical mile westabout course. Lionel Lemonchois, a former winner of the Route du Rhum in 2006 and 2010, could be the first skipper celebrating. He is racing in this year's J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on the 50ft Trimaran Prince de Bretagne. Another of Lionel's claims to racing fame is as part of the Groupama 3 team that won the 2010 Jules Verne Trophy with Franck Cammas at the helm, racing around the globe in 48 days 7 hours 44 minutes 52 seconds.

A Race for all

After the excitement of congratulating the crew taking line honours, the team at the Island Sailing Club will be finishing boats throughout the day right up until 10pm, the time that every boat needs to have completed the Race in order to qualify for a result.

This Race is a great opportunity to watch world-renowned sailors racing against families and first timers. Although the majority of the fleet will take many hours to complete the Race, the course records stand at 3hrs 53mins 05secs for a monohull boat, set by Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard in 2008, and 3hrs 08mins 29secs for a multihull boat, set by Francis Joyon in 2001.

One of the famous names to look out for on Saturday is Ben Ainslie, triple Olympic Gold medallist, who is setting out with a steely determination to win this year and add to his gold and silverware collection. Ben is being joined on board the Ker 40 Keronimo by ace navigator Mike Broughton and Trimmer Mark Campbell-James amongst others. The ex-World Cup Rugby player Will Greenwood has also signed on as crew and will be lending a hand to this high profile team.

JP54 is the straightforward name given to a top-of-the-range fast cruiser-racer designed, and skippered in this year's Race, by Jean-Pierre Dick. He has won the 2010-2011 and the 2007-2008 Barcelona World Race as well as wearing the winner's garland at the end of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2005.

Commenting on his entry into this 80th Anniversary Race, Jean-Pierre Dick said, "I have always really wanted to take part in this very fine event, which is certainly one of the best English yachting races. I will be discovering the Round the Island Race for the first time and I am really looking forward to taking part in this sailing festival. I got a lot of pleasure out of sailing in the Tour de Belle-Ile last May. So I am starting the cruiser racing exercise all over again, since it is particularly suited to the JP54. She is comfortable and fast. It will be simply an enjoyable moment with a crew of friends. Of course, our goal is to sail as fast as possible while enjoying the wonderful landscapes around the Isle of Wight, particularly the huge limestone cliffs. It's a magical island!"

Sir Keith Mills will be joined on board the TP52 Team Origin by double Olympic Gold medallist Iain Percy and Olympic Gold medallist Andrew 'Bart' Simpson whilst one of the world's most famous sailors, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, will be aboard a Clipper 68 for the circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight. Sir Robin was the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in 1969.

The fairer sex is also well represented with some superb sailing talent in action. Two of the three Women's Match Racing Champions, Kate and Lucy Macgregor, are racing in Laser SB3s along with Hannah Mills who sails with Saskia Clark in the 470 class. They have all qualified for the pre-Olympics test event in Weymouth this August.

Helena Lucas, the 2.4m Paralympic sailor, is skippering a J109 as part of Team Volvo. Paul Goodison, Laser Olympic Gold medallist and 470 sailor Saskia Clark are also on a J109 but they're joined by sailing novices Denise van Outen and her friend, actor Chris Parker. Finally, steering another of the Team Volvo boats is Nick Dempsey, also on a J109 and not in his usual comfort zone! Nick is the Olympic RSX windsurf Bronze medallist and former World Champion, selected for Team GBR at the pre-Olympic test event in Weymouth.

Teenage solo sailing stars Jessica Watson and Michael Perham are teaming up to race together for the first time on a Bavaria 37 Cold Play.

Gipsy Moth IV, the historic yacht that was the home of Sir Francis Chichester when he sailed single-handedly around the world in 1966-67, is to be crewed by young sailors from UKSA.

Dame Ellen MacArthur is sailing on one of six Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust boats competing this year with young people in recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other illnesses. The Trust is the official charity of the Race in 2011 and 2012 and we wish them all well.

Whether they complete the Race in the allotted time or not, every single entrant in this year's historic Race will be awarded a commemorative 80th Anniversary tankard.

jp54

Published in Offshore

RORC Easter Sailing Challenge – Day 2 Light winds are keeping Irish entries in the bottom half of the respective IRC fleets at RORC's Easter challenge this weekend. After four races sailed, Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary lies sixth from ten boats in the IRC 1 division. In IRC 2 Dun Laoghaire's Niall Dowling sailing a brand new J111 also lies sixth from ten. James Boyd reports from the Solent: With a forecast indicating no wind on the Solent, the race committee and competitors were blessed in being able to get two races in on the second day of the RORC Easter Challenge, once again held in unseasonably summer-like conditions.

While the first start was scheduled for 1000, a windless Solent saw racing postponed for three hours. Competitors were kept occupied in the Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre with a valuable talk from Jim Saltonstall on race preparation.

Early afternoon the race committee made the brave call to get underway on a course off Hill Head despite the apparent mill pond. In fact there was wind off the water and a meaningful race was held. As women's match racer Josie Gibson, helming the new Mat 1010 in IRC 3, observed: "It was really good of them to try and do it, because the alternative was to wait for the new breeze. It wasn't totally unfair but it was just very very light. There was an awful lot of shear. At the top we were getting 5-6 knots but it was really glassy on the water."

At the end of the first race the wind began to veer into the southwest as the sea breeze prevailed and for race two, the wind picked up to an unexpected 13-14 knots with the tide running left to right across the course on the beat. From the first race, where crews were being sat down to leeward, for race two they were up on the weather rail, fully hiking.

At the end of play, in IRC1 Mike Bartholomew's King 40 Tokoloshe now shares the top spot with Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw's Farr 50, Bob, the biggest boat in the RORC Easter Challenge fleet.

"Sam sailed the first race and we got away quite nicely. She goes like a rocketship in the light stuff," recounted Gray of his Farr 50 which is looking very smart with a new paint job and, for this season, a stiffer mast, new mainsail and an enlarged asymmetric kite. "We were sailing faster than the apparent wind. Tokoloshe is sailing very very well. In the second race today she was way to the right and was first to catch the new breeze." The two boats share the top spot due to Tokoloshe posting a fourth in today's light opener.

In IRC Two, frustrating Andrew McIrvine in his second placed First 40 La Réponse, Andrew Williams' Prima 38 Max 'Ed Out! holds the lead having won both today's races, putting them two points ahead of the RORC Commodore. Williams and his crew have made the trip up from Plymouth to compete. For this season they have changed the name of their boat from Mighty Max III after they enlarged the size of their biggest spinnaker by 35%.

"This is the first time we have raced her with the new rating and it has made a tremendous difference," said Williams. In today's ultra-light first race Williams said it was all about keeping the boat moving. "She is a 14 year old design and we have had three firsts and a fourth, which for a scratch crew with a boat with a new sail configuration we've only been out once with - we feel quite pleased with the way she is performing."

Chris and Hannah Neve's high experienced crew on the Lymington-based First 35 No Chance are slipping away in first place in IRC 3 after posting a 2-1 today. They lead Louise Morton's Mat 1010 by three points. The RORC Easter Challenge is only Mat 1010's second competitive outing. The boat is being sailed by Morton's all-female crew that normally race on the Quarter Tonner Espada, with the exception of Volvo Ocean Race winning navigator Jules Salter, taking time off from his latest campaign with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. "This morning was quite like Abu Dhabi," quipped helm Josie Gibson.

IRC4 is the only class to have a run-away leader in Grant Gordon's J/97 Fever, now nine points clear of Paul Blowers and Nick Daniels Impala Patriot Games, while in the J/80s Kevin Sproul made a good come back after yesterday's rig issues to win both today's races.

Despite the light wind to start with today, the conditions once again proved ideal for the on-the-water coaching provided by Jim Saltonstall, Barry Dunning and their team. The RORC Easter Challenge is a 'coaching regatta' and the competitors have been lapping up the advice during races as well as the post-race video analysis ashore.

"Today was brilliant because you could concentrate on sail shapes and not get too distracted. At least you aren't battling around in survival conditions like you normally are," commented Ben Jones, the main trimmer on Mike Greville's Erivale of today's coaching. "It is always nice to have a view from outside of the boat and there are some good people there telling you gently and sensitivity that you've got it slightly wrong. We have suffered from a bit of pressure. It is very useful."

"It is really good to have it," agreed Louise Morton of the coaching. "We enjoy going to the briefings and seeing on video how far forward we are for the starts or not. You pick up one or two things every time. Just things like trim and whether we should be sitting further forward on the boat. Jim is very incite-full."

A further two races are scheduled to start at 1000 tomorrow, the final day of racing at the RORC Easter Challenge with a forecast similar to today's.

For more information, visit the RORC web site: www.rorc.org

Published in RORC
In an effort to absorb the large waiting list for the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club have decided to increase the number of places available to IRC yachts by removing the 'professionally' sailed classes from the 300 entry limit. The Volvo Ocean 70s, IMOCA 60s, Class 40s and Multihulls, who will race under their own class rules, will be counted over and above the previous 300 entry limit.

The Rolex Fastnet Race reached its entry limit 10 days after opening and over 130 boats are on the waiting list. "We were staggered at the speed with which people signed up," said RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine. "We had to do something to satisfy the huge interest, and taking the non IRC yachts out of the total is a fair solution allowing more loyal RORC racers to get their boats into the race."

Removing the non-IRC classes will add about 50 more places to the total. "We are delighted that the Volvo's and IMOCA's want to compete in the race and that the Class 40's are coming en-masse," said RORC Chief Executive, Eddie Warden Owen. "It shows the popularity of the Rolex Fastnet that these professionally sailed boats want to join the race. However without this initiative, they would be taking valuable places away from less experienced offshore racers who view this race as a great personal challenge - their 'Everest' of sailing."

Sutton Harbour increase berthing capacity
To cater for the number of boats arriving in Plymouth, Sutton Harbour Marina has increased the amount of space by making the whole of the berthing area adjacent to West Pier and the Barbican available to the Rolex Fastnet fleet. Sutton Harbour has also become the official berth provider for the race and Chief Executive Nigel Godfroy is pleased to be associated with the race. "Sutton Harbour Marina welcomes the return of this world famous race," said Nigel. "We are very proud of the quality of facilities we have here in Sutton Harbour and being selected as the official berthing provider for the Rolex Fastnet Race. We look forward to welcoming the extra large fleet in August this year."

To accommodate the increased number of entries, space has been booked in Queen Anne's Battery, adjacent to Sutton Harbour and in Plymouth Yacht Haven in the Cattewater, where a water taxi service will be set up to connect competitors with the race office based at Sutton Harbour.

The 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race starts in Cowes, Isle of Wight on Sunday 14 August.

Published in RORC
An exciting sailing opportunity for Irish amateur sailors to learn the ropes onboard the Belem, a 115-year French barque, is to take place when the vessel set sails from Lorient in Brittany on 27 June, writes Jehan Ashmore. 
The vessel is scheduled to arrive in Cork on 1 July where the ship will remain in port until departing on 4 July. The barque will then head for Roscoff with an en-route call to the Scilly Isles, before docking in France with an afternoon arrival on 8 July.

If you are interested in this adventure, registration is open until 1 March for those registering through the Alliance Française. A special Alliance Française price (excluding insurance) costs €780 and for €660 for those under 20 years of age. To book your place email: [email protected]

In July last year, the Belem, was chartered to make a special voyage to Dublin to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Alliance Française in the capital. Taking part in the passage from Roscoff were 17 Irish people who joined in the crew. The four-day visit also celebrated the French national day, Bastille Day (14 July) which formed part of the inaugural French Market, held on the quayside close to the Convention Centre.

The ship was launched on June 10th 1896 and built in Nantes. She was named the Belem, after the north Brazilian port where the Crouan family had founded a trading post a few generations earlier. For nearly two decades the Belem sailed the Atlantic, carrying a diverse range of cargo but mostly spices, sugar and cocoa beans. The Belem would sail upriver on the River Seine to supply the cocoa beans for a Paris-based chocolate-maker.

During her long and varied career, the barque was sold to Arthur Ernest Guinness in 1921. Under the control of the Irish brewing dynasty, the vessel was renamed Fantôme II. The Guinness family established a strong attachment to the vessel which was completely refurbished from a working cargo vessel into that of a luxurious appointed yacht capable of accommodating 40 guests. Part of the work included an extension to the deckhouse for the purposes of a floating office, so business could be conducted, wherever the vessel happened to be.

In the period between March 1923 to March 1924 the Fantome went on a round the world tour going through the Panama Canal on the way out and returning via the Suez Canal.

Since 1987 the Belem has provided sail-training opportunities and is owned and operated by the Belem Fondation, a Paris based organisation set up by the Caisses d'Epargne, BPCE Group, after they bought back the ship in 1979. The principle role of the foundation is to keep the three masted barque as part of France's National Heritage. The vessel's historical and cultural significance was recognised in 1984 when the French government listed the barque as an historic monument.

Aside the role of sail training the Belem is unique in that she continues to carry occasional commercial cargo. In recent years the vessel has carried cargoes of wine from Bordeaux to Montreal in the Canadian French speaking province of Quebec. For information about Alliance Française in Ireland logon HERE in addition to the history and work of the Belem Foundation by clicking here.

Looking for further reading on Tall Ships in Ireland? Click the links below:

Click this link to read all our Tall Ships Stories on one handy page


Previewing Ireland's Tall Ships 2011 Season


Can Ireland Get a New Tall Ship?

Published in Tall Ships

Ireland has lodged an appeal this morning against a jury decision last night that reduced Ireland's overall lead in the Commodores' Cup by ten points. The decision concerns the result of a Hong Kong boat, Christopher Opielok's Corby 36 Rockall III that was granted redress after a protest over the location of a mark. The redress affects the points of Ireland's small boat Roxy 6 who won yesterday's race. It's just one small example how the Commodores' Cup can turn says Ireland's Barry Rose in the podcast below.

 

 

The jury decision is downloadable below.

Forum debate on the Commodores' Cup HERE

Published in Commodores Cup

A British yacht in the Rolex Commodores' Cup and one of Ireland's main rivals for the title has been penalised for breaking a Cup rule that limits the number of professional crew (Group 3) that may sail on each boat.

Quokka 8,  a class two entry, is part of Team GBR Red, the first of three Royal Yachting Association (RYA) teams in the competition on the Solent this week.

The team lies second overall to Ireland who have established a runaway lead in the five nation event.

The International jury found Quokka had exceeded the number of Group 3 sailors allowed.

The Cowes based Commodores' Cup is strongly Corinthian: only two Group 3 sailors  are allowed on the Class 1 boats and just one aboard Class 2 and 3 entries.

After a hearing on Monday evening, a 10% penalty was imposed on the top British yacht for the first four races of the series.

Quokka 8 is skippered by Peter Rutter, a former Commodore of the Race Organisers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).

Rutter is the team captain of GBR Red.

Quokka is currently at sea competing in the event's offshore race and is expected back in Cowes with the rest of the 30–boat fleet this afternoon.

After a recalculation of the overall points, to include the penalty on Quokka, Team GBR Red stay second behind Ireland but all that may change after the finish of the 180 mile race this afternoon.

The official Jury Decision is available to download below

Published in Commodores Cup

The pre-event press release says 'no clear cut favourite but Irish eyes are smiling'. It's the kind of pressure Ireland's three boat team can do without after so many near misses in this event. But as they go afloat this morning for the first race there is no dismissing the fact that Ireland's single boat is seen as a major threat, especially if as forecasted, the winds on the Solent are moderate to strong.  (You can send team Ireland good wishes HERE.)

International entries from as far afield as Hong Kong and South Africa have descended on Cowes ready for the start of the biennial Rolex Commodores' Cup.

As usual the event is for teams comprising three boats in different IRC rating bands, the boats ranging from 35-45ft in size. Teams are national with at least 50% of the crew coming from the country they are representing. The Rolex Commodores' Cup is also strongly Corinthian: only two professional sailors are allowed on the Class 1 boats and just one aboard Class 2 and 3 entries.

This year, the tenth edition of the competition, 10 teams are competing, the largest contingent coming from France, who are fielding four teams; GBR has three teams and Hong Kong, Ireland and, for the first time, South Africa each with one. Whilst the team numbers are down from two years ago, "the top four or five teams are as good as they were last time," says Eddie Warden Owen, CEO of the event's organisers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

In terms of the form, Warden Owen thinks the Irish will be ones to watch, as they have certainly been in the past, although they have never won; "they are very competitive, they seem highly focused and they have some very good amateur sailors on board as well as professionals." The Irish team is led by experienced Rolex Commodores' Cup skipper Anthony O'Leary and his Ker 39 Antix.

docksidecowes

Dockside in Cowes for the Rolex Commodores' Cup. Photo: Kurt Arrigo

South Africa and Hong Kong also have strong entries, the latter having learned from competing here two years ago, again with the driving force of Jamie McWilliam behind them.

Warden Owen reckons that the dark horses at this event are the British and French teams. "The unknowns for me are the French teams because there are some good individual boats, but how they play out overall, I don't know."

Defending champions from 2008 are GBR Red, where the only return entry is former RORC Commodore Peter Rutter, this year skippering Quokka 8, the mid-sized yacht. Rutter's new vessel is a Grand Soleil 43, a sistership to the most successful yacht at the 2008 event.

Rutter was instrumental in picking his GBR Red team mates in Michael Williamson's Summit 40 White Heat, as the Class 1 boat and Jim Macgregor's Elan 410 Premier Flair in Class 3. "We are very much a tight team – we learned that from GBR Red last time. It is going to be an interesting regatta because it looks like there are going to be some very light days and some very heavy days."
The equivalent to GBR Red among the large French entry is France Yellow, which includes repeat entrants to this event, Philippe Delaporte and his J/122 Pen Azen and Marc Alperovitch and Jerome Huillard's A-35 Prime Time. They are joined by Bernard Gouy's Inis Mor - a British designed Ker 39 with an Irish name, points out skipper and owner's son, Laurent Gouy. While this is Inis Mor's first Rolex Commodores' Cup, the Gouys have for the last years been alternating Cowes Week and the Rolex Fastnet Race with Cork Week and the Round Ireland – this year moving on to this event.

Like GBR Red, France Yellow also organised themselves as a team and presented themselves to the RORC's French equivalent, the Union Course Au Large (UNCL), before Christmas. Inis Mor is one of the most successful IRC boats on the French circuit and usually podiums at the event in which she competes. As to how he thinks they will get on this week Laurent Gouy will not be drawn: "I would not dare to say! It is very complex."

The other French team that stands out is France Blue featuring Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau's familiar Codiam, a Grand Soleil 43, but also Marc de Saint Denis and Géry Trentesaux's First 40 Coup de Coeur, although we understand the wily Trentesaux, a Rolex Commodores' Cup veteran and winner in 2006 will not be in Cowes until Friday. The weak link in France Blue could be Samuel Prietz' X-40 Goa, but only because the boat is still new, having been launched in May.

Making one of the greatest efforts to compete in this year's event is Philipp Gutsche and his Mark Mills-designed Landmark 43, Windpower, which was shipped up from the southern hemisphere to be the South African team big boat.

"It's on my bucket list! Why not at my age?!" says Gutsche of why he is here. "We have done very well this year in South Africa in IRC and we won the South African Championship, in May. We have a good crew and a good boat - why not test our mettle against everyone else for the fun of it?"

"As a team I hope we will do very well. We'll be starting off as the weakest of the three boats. Cowes and the Solent are not easy, especially for foreigners." Gutsche had never sailed here before he competed at this year's Cowes Week. "It has been great fun. We are looking forward to it."

The racing format over the next week remains the same as it was in 2008, with a mixture of inshore races in the Solent plus a 24-36 hour long offshore race starting on Tuesday and a race around the Isle of Wight on Friday. The event culminates in a double points scoring inshore race on Saturday.

Conditions this week are expected to be particularly difficult, with light winds on some days, combined with some of the most powerful tides of the year. For example, today (Saturday) the famous Brambles Bank cricket match took place; the one-day each year the tide is so low as to expose the sand bank in the middle of the Solent. As Simon Shaw, skipper of the GBR Red big boat White Heat points out "I have never seen so much tide – we've seen 4 knots!" Conditions for the first few days of the regatta look set to have the wind from north, typically an awkward wind direction in the Solent, and around 7-14 knots. "There is discrepancy about how windy. Some people think on Tuesday there is going to be a load more breeze. I'm not so sure. Expect it to be from the north, fickle and swingy," predicts Shaw.

Whatever the conditions, the spirit and camaraderie exhibited on shore over the past couple of days of measurement and registration bodes well for a hard, but fair fought week of competition.

e months to go to the 10th edition of the biennial Rolex Commodores' Cup, the international fleet has every prospect of being one of the more exotic in recent events. A noteworthy success in these straightened times. The headline foreign contingent is perhaps South Africa, participating at the regatta for the first time. Hong Kong has confirmed it will be back following its happy venture in 2008. Thereafter, the northern European teams – Ireland, France and the United Kingdom - that are the traditional backbone of the event - will be present in numbers. Organisers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, anticipate a total of 12 teams. Racing is from 15 to 21 August, with close of entry on 12 July.

The Rolex Commodores' Cup is a weeklong series mixing inshore racing on the waters in and around The Solent, the body of water separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland United Kingdom, with an offshore course that takes the fleet out into The English Channel and a course round the Isle of Wight. All of the racing is typified by one thing. Comprehensive knowledge of the tides and currents affecting these areas is essential. Furthermore, it has been proved time and again that is not just the team with the best boats or the best sailors that wins. It the team that is the best prepared in all aspects.

Take the Hong Kong team, led by Jamie McWilliam. Having finished fifth overall in 2008, surprising many of the more seasoned campaigners in the process, McWilliam and his teammates were resolute in their determination to return. Not just to participate, mind you, but to have a crack at winning. "In 2008 we arrived with a crew that had trained hard but which had never seen the boats before the regatta, as they were either charters or brand new. This meant that we spent quite a bit of important time just before the event working on the boats instead of working on our speed, and as a result we were still learning about the boats during the series. Our team this time was determined to avoid that mistake," comments McWilliam, explaining that this time, "all the boats are owned by Hong Kong owners and we therefore have much more time [to prepare]. Our full team will be at the UK IRC Nationals in late June and we are scheduling other weekends over the summer for the boats to have new sail trials."

It is a tall order to travel almost halfway around the world to participate in a three-boat team event. The three yachts needed to compete range in size, roughly, between 35 and 45 feet. There are crews to be identified, accommodation and travel to be arranged. McWilliam is clear that it is worth the effort, "it's always exciting going to an event where you think you have a chance to win but where you know you're going to have to really perform to achieve that. It provides a great combination of expectation, anticipation, and nerves. Combined with the knowledge that we are representing the small sailing community in Hong Kong, it's a really exciting deal."

The Hong Kong team is made up of Rockall III, a Corby 36 owned by Chris Opielok, in the small boat slot. 'Opie', as he is known, is a Hong Kong sailing legend, having won two Admiral's Cups for his native Germany. Rockall III is the former Rosie, which has a dominant history in UK & Irish IRC racing. The middle boat is Blondie IV, a Mills (King) 40 chartered by Anthony Day from Helmuth Hennig, both very well known Hong Kong racers. Blondie was 2nd in class in Rolex Commodores' Cup 2008 and has an exceptional track record under her former owner. The big boat is Mandrake, Nick Burns' Mills 40.5, formerly Ngoni and Tiamat. As Tiamat, she had an outstanding Rolex Commodores' Cup in 2006.

McWilliam acknowledges the difficulties involved for foreign teams, particularly getting the right boats in the right condition to the venue when they are located more than a delivery trip away. He clearly believes more countries should look more seriously at the possibilities, "I would definitely encourage other teams to participate. The Solent puts unique and intense pressure on crews and seemingly trivial moments turn out to be really critical, like a down tide bottom mark rounding where you've got to be perfect in order to hold your lane to get out of the current. I also believe that the best team here has always won the event, and that's the best recommendation I know for a regatta."

The Hong Kong team is looking forward to renewing rivalries with some of the teams it competed against in 2008. They are not here to make up the numbers, "we really enjoyed the event in 2008 and feel that the event is a good match for the type of sailing we do in Hong Kong, and therefore represents a great opportunity for Hong Kong to compete against peers and find out where we rank. We were happy with our 5th position in 2008 but saw it very much as an initial effort and unfinished business."

The Rolex Commodores' Cup will be held off Cowes, Isle of Wight, from 15 to 21 August. Entries, which must be made by Member National Authorities, close on Monday 12 July.

Irish crew list HERE

Entry List HERE

You can send team Ireland good wishes HERE

Published in Commodores Cup
With memorable material stretching back over the years, Cowes Radio is already streaming on the Internet. "With over a million minutes downloaded last Cowes Week, and the explosion of audio visual media content on the Internet this decade, I'm confident we'll see that record truly smashed!" commented Steve Ancsell, the "Godfather' of Cowes Radio.

Cowes Radio celebrates 25 years at the worlds' greatest regatta, Cowes Week, and goes on air this Friday on 87.7FM as the longest running RSL station in the UK. New on the website this year is Flash streaming on the eDigital Research sponsored webpages www.cowesradio.co.uk/listen <http://www.cowesradio.co.uk/listen>, as well as feeds for every kind of web player. There's even some new links to listen to Cowes Radio on your iPhone or Blackberry, which means you really can listen to Cowes Radio everywhere!

On air competitions include: a week's holiday yacht charter in the BVI with a day's tuition by top match racer Peter Holmberg; Mount Gay Rum 'Crew of the Day' and 'Hunt the Barrel' daily competitions, some nice shades from sunglassesforsport.com and trendy, adaptable, multi-use headwear Buffs.
For more information, check out www.cowesradio.co.uk

Published in Cowes Week

Three intrepid young British yachtsmen, Luke Yeates, Jack Gifford and Will Shepherd, have taken up the challenge by the Scandinavian Classic Yacht Trust, SCYT, for British classic yacht owners to retrace Uffa Fox's famous 1000 mile, 1930 voyage from Cowes to Stockholm. Sailing the Vixen, a 1937 classic yacht, the team hope to be in Trosa, Sweden, between 3rd and 6th August 2010 for the start of the Trosa Tullgarn Royal Palace Regatta, part of a new classic series, the Baltic Classic Master Cup.

"This race is unique in the challenge it offers, particularly the interesting route and heritage of the trip," says Luke Yeates, "the freedom it allows for people to select their own yacht, route, stopovers etc. Is unprecedented and makes it quite an appealing adventure, especially for a young crew."

Vixen is closely related in design to the Vigilant, in which Uffa Fox made his historical journey says its skipper, Luke Yeates. "The attraction was obvious, 'it felt like the right thing to do', was my immediate reaction." All three of the crew have grown up sailing Uffa's designs and reading his books. As Luke says, "It would be an honour to follow in his footsteps and to have a grand adventure to boot!"

Environmental Twist
In addition to the facing the vagaries of the weather, the crew have agreed to help in a scientific study related to environmental issues during their journey from the North Sea to the Baltic. The crew will record and report on visibility and the presence of seaweed, plankton and debris in the water and take water samples. The study programme has been developed by the Asko Laboratory, a marine field station which is part of the Stockholm Marine Research Centre within Stockholm University. The aim is to better understand the conditions that give rise to the annual algae blooms that adversely affect the beaches in the Baltic region.

"We are delighted to have our first challenger signed up. The added environmental element means that as well as retracing Uffa's historic journey, the Vixen crew will help scientists gather data to help them better understand the nature of the algae blooms that wreak havoc each year," says Olle Appelberg, Executive Director of the SCYT.

Luke Yeates hopes that more boats will join the challenge, particularly as he is quite competitive. Olle Appelberg adds that whichever boat makes it to the finishing line first, the current owner of Vigilant, Andrew Thornhill, will be presenting the first of, what it's hoped to be an annual presentation cup for winners to keep for one year. It is clear that the Vixen crew have their hearts set on that cup.

The Vixen and its crew
Vixen was designed by Knud Reimers and built at the Kungsors boatyard in central Sweden by Oscar Schelin. Imported to the UK before the Second World War, she was one of only a handful of the elegant Square Meter Rule yachts. At the time building to the rule was prolific in the Baltic but scarcely known in the UK. As co-skipper Jack Gifford explains, "Much finer in form and lighter in displacement than her British counterparts, Vixen and her kind were viewed with suspicion by the (British) yachting establishment and with her light and efficient construction deemed as 'un-seaworthy." One famous British sailor had fallen in love with the Swedish Square Meter yachts and collaborated with Reimers to build his own yacht. That, of course, was Uffa Fox, and the boat he built at Cowes was the Vigilant. So confident was Uffa in its sea keeping that he set out to sail it to its spiritual homeland of Sweden to take part in the Swedish championships.

Now Vixen is owned by twenty five year old Luke Yeates who has been passionate about sailing since his schooldays and already has a wealth of experience behind him, particularly in multihull racing. His ambitions are to become an all-round sailor capable of competing at the top level of the sport. Both skipper and co-skipper have extensive experience of the North Sea with Luke having raced F18 catamarans through the Swedish archipelago. Co-skipper Jack Gifford, is now a full-time naval architect, with the third crew member, Chemistry student Will Shepherd having notched up many miles in the Irish sea.

About Uffa Fox
Uffa Fox is not simply known as a sailor and boat designer, he was also a philosopher and eccentric as well as a media celebrity. Uffa was the father of the planing dinghy and his International Fourteen Footer Avenger won many races including the coveted Prince of Wales Cup. For many years his designs were the most sought after. It was in Vigilant, a new 22 Sq.m design with extremely light displacement that he made his famous voyage to Sweden to participate in the Centenary Regatta of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club in July 1930. Vigilant's design and construction was substantial enough to be sailed to Sweden and back in a summer of strong winds. He made the journey in 17 days and after the racing was over, Uffa received special recognition for his sailing feat and his promotion of a Scandinavian yacht rule in Britain.

About the Scandinavian Classic Yacht Trust
The trust's mission is to preserve classic yachts as part of Scandinavia's cultural heritage by making sure that they are sailed and seen. As a non-profit organisation the trust helps to develop a strong community for classic yachting by promoting, organising events and regattas.

About the Regatta
The Trosa Tullgarn Royal Palace Regatta offers four days of championships, parades and races, running Swedish Championships for 22 square metre skerry cruisers (A22) and four classes of mälarboats, the 15,22,25 and 30 sq.m Swedish Mälarboats, one-design yachts. On 6th August there will be a sail past in front of the 18th century Tullgarn Royal Palace to select the most beautiful yacht and the best crew. On the last day of the regatta, 7th August, a spectacular international archipelago race is planned to include the larger classic yachts such as 95 and 150 sq.m as well as 8, 10 and 12 mR and is open to all classic yacht owners.

More information about Uffa Fox and the Raid is available at www.news-lab.com/press/scyt

Published in News Update
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It is already being heralded as one of those rare ‘must see’ occasions when four of the most beautiful Big Class classic yachts in the world will be racing together off Cowes, Isle of Wight, between 5th – 10th July, as they compete to win the inaugural Westward Cup Regatta. 

The Regatta is being organised by three of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, namely the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) and two partner Clubs, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) and Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM). It is very much hoped that this event will mark the revival of and interest in Big Class yacht racing in the Solent and around the world over the coming years.

Initiated by the owner of one of these Big Class yachts, Eleonora, a replica of Westward, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Westward’s launch, the organisers have set out to replicate a style, class and regatta atmosphere matching the period when Westward and the Big Class yachts all raced in Cowes, the birthplace of such elegant racing during the 1920s and 30s.

A number of Big Class yacht owners have been personally invited to race against each other over 40-50 mile courses similar to those that these yachts or their predecessors will have sailed in those golden days of Big Class racing. It is still very much hoped that the 15 metre William Fife-designed Tuiga, built in 1909, will also make it to the start line.

Depending on the weather conditions, the schedule may include a race around the Isle of Wight.  With the advent of 21st century tracking technology starting to introduce yacht racing to a far larger and global audience, armchair enthusiasts will be able to follow the yachts’ progress online as they sail their courses with each being fitted with a Yellowbrick Tracking device.

Safety is paramount

With the ‘traffic’ conditions in the Solent having changed quite considerably since those early days of racing in somewhat quieter waters, safety is paramount. There will be a large exclusion zone around the Royal Yacht Squadron start line, a safety officer on board each of the competing yachts as well as a support RIB for each of the yachts. Those safety measures put in place will greatly benefit from the wealth of race organisation experience available at the Royal Yacht Squadron, including its highly successful running of the 2001 America’s Cup Jubilee.

In terms of the racing programme, four days of racing and a rest day have been scheduled and the sailing instructions will adhere as closely as possible to those recently agreed by “La Belle Classe”, an association of classic yachts initiated by the YCM. There is also a superb social programme lined up for the owners, their guests, captains and crew. 

The Event is also being supported by Boat International Media as a media partner.

Spectating

This exquisite fleet of Big Class classic yachts will, generally speaking, be racing within the confines of the Solent and everyone can watch the starts and finishes in Cowes for the duration of the Westward Cup Regatta. The key vantage points are along Cowes Parade and below the Castle parapet, and along Princes Green to the West.

It is incredible that these huge yachts carry a racing crew of up to 40 and can take up to half an hour to put up and another half an hour to take down their sails.

Owing to the amount of room these boats need to manoeuvre, there will strict on-water guidelines in place for all spectator and pleasure craft and safety boats patrolling.

The Westward Cup and regatta trophies

An English Silversmith, Mr Richard Parsons, has been commissioned to design and build the Westward Cup, a perpetual trophy being crafted on behalf of the owner of Eleonora, in celebration of the centenary of Westward’s launch in July 1910. The Cup will be similar in design to the Cup that Westward won when she was racing in the Solent and will be presented to the overall winner of the inaugural Westward Cup Regatta in July 2010. There are keepsake trophies for the overall winner, and second and third overall. 

 

As each of the four race days is being sponsored by one of each of the participating yacht clubs and one by Boat International Media, there are also Club trophies and keepsake trophies to be presented.

 

MARIETTE_Under_sail_1

 

Eleonora_Franco_Pace_EDI2164_low_res

The competitors

The organisers confirm that the following four Big Class yachts will be on this historic of start lines:

 

Eleonora – Using original drawings from the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company which built Westward, and from close study of contemporary photographs, Eleonora is an exact replica of her famous antecedent. Built in Holland at Van der Graaf Shipyard in steel, she was launched 90 years to the day of Westward’s launch, on 31 March 2000. Since then she has been a regular and successful competitor on the Classic yacht circuit. Superbly fitted out in mahogany, with period details, she has two doubles and one twin stateroom and a full-beam owner’s stateroom aft.

 

 

LOA 49.5m (160ft)

LWL 29.3m (96ft 1in)

Beam 8.2m (27ft 1in)

Draught 5.2m (17ft 1in)

Sail area 1,115m2 (12,000sqft)

Displacement 214 tons

 

 

Britannia - The Kings’ (she was owned by three British sovereigns: Edward VII, George V and briefly Edward VIII) Britannia is undoubtedly the most famous of the Big Class yachts winning, in a career that began on the Clyde in 1893 until her scuttling off St Catherine’s in 1936, 360 prizes (I, II, III) in 635 races – a record that can never be equalled. Her wooden – as opposed to the original that was composite, wood/steel framed – replica was built in Russia near Archangelsk over a period of 12 years, her launch mired in legal battles with the yard.  Her owner, Norwegian Sigurd Coates, is to base her in Cowes and the Westward Cup Regatta will be her first outing.

 

LOA 37m (121ft 6in)

LWL 26.7m (87ft 9in)

Beam 7.1m (23ft 3in)

Draught 4.6m (15ft 1in)

Sail area (original rig) 930m2 (10,000 sqft)

Displacement 154 tons

 

 

Mariquita - Mariquita (Spanish for ‘ladybird’) is the sole survivor of the 19 Metre Class, whose racing career flourished for two brief seasons before the First World War. Designed and built by William Fife at his Fairlie yard in 1911, Mariquita along with Corona, Norada (Nicholson) and Octavia thrilled the racing public from Kiel to the Clyde, where they arrived having braved a North Sea gale. After the collapse of the class, Mariquita went cruising and eventually, minus her keel and rig, became a houseboat at Pin Mill, Suffolk. She was rediscovered in 1991 by William Collier, and restored on the Hamble by Fairlie Restorations in 2004. A winner at Imperia she attended the Fife gathering on the Clyde in 2008.

 

LOA 38.1m (125ft)

LWL 20.1m  (66ft)

Beam 5.3m (17ft 4in)

Draught 3.7m (12ft)

Sail area 585m2 (6,260sqft)

Displacement 79 tons

 

 

Mariette - Built in 1915, Mariette was designed by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff for J Frederick Brown of Boston, a successful wool merchant, who raced and cruised her along the North and South Shores of Boston from 1916 to 1927. Renamed Cleopatra’s Barge under Francis K Crowninshield’s ownership, she was requisitioned by the American Navy during the war and declined thereafter. Restored at Cantiere Navale Beconcini in1995, she is owned by Thomas Perkins, of San Francisco, who re-rigged her as original. She returned to New England waters and competed in the New York Yacht Club's Atlantic Challenge. She is a regular and successful competitor in Mediterranean classic events.

 

LOA 42.06m (138ft)

LWL 24.38m (80ft)

Beam 7.19m (23ft 7in)

Draught 4.8m (15ft 9in)

Sail area 750m2 (8,060sqft)

Displacement 165 tons


Published in Boating Fixtures
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