August 2017 and August 2018 will see 2 of the World’s great sailing races start off Cowes. Both will bring large crews and teams of supporters to the Island which can only be good for business here.
Around 400 boats will be on the Cowes start line on Sunday 6th August 2017 for the Rolex Fastnet Race – the largest ever entry in the 92 year history of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial ‘classic 600 miler’.
Among them will be the Swan 57 Equinoccio of Martin Westcott, the first Chilean to sail around the world via Cape Horn. Equinoccio’s participation marks the 10 year anniversary of the last Chilean entry in the Rolex Fastnet Race – the Class40 Desafío Cabo de Hornos.
Russian Alexander Vodovatov has chartered Quokka 8, the Grand Soleil 43 of former RORC Commodore Peter Rutter. In addition to competing in his second Rolex Fastnet Race, Vodovatov has strong secondary ambitions saying:
“I am doing the race to popularise and develop offshore yachting in Russia. Last year I organised a Russian team to compete in the Rolex China Sea Race.”
Several youth teams are competing. Run by James Oxenham and co-skippered by Owen Kinsella and Harry Bradley, Code Zero Racing is a Cowes-based campaign, focusing on both inshore and offshore racing. Crew range in age from 17-22, making them the youngest crew in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Code Zero Racing will be racing Geoff West’s Reflex 38, Lightning Reflex. On board will be James Tomlinson (son of well- known Cowes based photographer Rick) so expect some top images to be beamed back from on board.
Meanwhile Isle of Wight-based Derek Saunders will be celebrating a significant birthday and race anniversary in his Farr 60, Venomous. Derek said:
“It’s my 13th race, 30 years since my first as skipper in 1987, but it also falls on a landmark birthday!”
As ever The Rolex Fastnet Race will set off from the Solent on Sunday 6th August bound for Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock.
Whilst crews prepare for their races supporters rent properties, stay in hotels, purchase goods and explore the Island all good for visitor numbers.
1 year on in August 2018 Cowes will see the start of The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2018.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club has just announced the continued support of leading Dutch yacht transport and logistics company, Sevenstar Yacht Transport which remains title sponsor of their most tactically challenging offshore race, run every 4 years.
Sevenstar’s Managing Director, Richard Klabbers who has himself competed in the punishing race, twice exclaims:
“We are back again! After the astonishing record-breaking last edition in 2014 when we had exceptional weather conditions, we are proud to once again support the 2018 race as title sponsor of this epic bucket list event. We will also be offering an incentive for competitors in the 2018 race as the first boat under IRC rating will receive a US$20,000 voucher for Sevenstar Yacht Transport to their selected destination in the world.”
The Pre-Notice of Race is now available for the RORC’s non-stop 1,805 nautical mile race, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, Cowes on Sunday 12th August 2018 and marking Sevenstar’s fourth backing of the race since 2006.
Sevenstar will also be involved in Lendy Cowes Week 2017 as the sponsor for the Triple Crown Series for which HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has loaned a trophy, named the Duke of Edinburgh Triple Crown Trophy, for the winner.
Report by Alan and Suzanne Whitewood