IRM orphaned at Cowes
The Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) has elected not to allow the IRM division to stand alone and compete for it's historic trophies at Skandia Life Cowes Week 2002. Instead at this year's event the CCC is offering dual scoring in the appropriate handicap classes. This means that those owners with an IRM certificate, can get results under both IRM and IRC, and can compete under IRM, while still racing for the major trophies under IRC.
Stuart Quarrie, Director of the CCC told madforsailing that the decision was made purely because of numbers. "Until IRM has developed a large enough following with a reasonable percentage of racing owners, we have decided that trophies should go with the bulk of the fleet. To award major trophies to a small minority just didn't seem right."
Quarrie estimates around 950 boats are expected at this year’s event, approximately 60 boats more than in 2000. Although this may be 50 boats down from 2001, when the America's Cup Jubilee Regatta and the Rolex Fastnet Race, both contributed to a significant increase in numbers.
Among the newer classes to compete this year will be the K6. Launched last year at the 2001 Boat Show, six of them competed at the Skandia Life Cowes Week 2001 in the Sports Boat Class. This year Quarrie says there numbers have significantly increased. "Last year the K6s were starting on the Big Boat (black) start line having to take down their course from the radio."
"The K6 is a planing two man keel boat, and trying to take a course down from the radio on the start line proved to be extremely hard. This year we are expecting between 15 and 20 K6s, and we will start them on the white start line along with the small day boat classes." Quarrie added that he felt the increase in numbers was partly due to its design as an exciting modern boat, while the cost to buy one is not much more than a high performance dinghy.
The Bull 7000 Class is using the week as its European Championship. Twenty Bull 7000s are expected and will race within the Sports boat class.
The CCC has also released date changes for the 2004 and 2007 Skandia Life Cowes Weeks. Traditionally held during the week beginning on the first Saturday after the last Tuesday in July, the CCC has assessed the tidal situation over the next five years and re-scheduled the event in years when strong tides occur. "We wanted to release the date changes as soon as possible to allow people to plan events over the next five years," said Quarrie. "Cowes Week has become a pivotal event in peoples diaries which they work around their holidays and other sailing events."
The 2002 event will run on
3 -10 August, 2003
2 -9 August, 2005
30 July-6 August 2006
29 July-5 August, 2008 2 -9 August.
In 2004 and 2007 the dates fall in the middle of bigger than usual spring tides and consequently have been moved forward by one week. The 2004 event will be held from the 7-14 August, while 2007 will be from 4-11 August.
While it comes as a breath of fresh air that finally events are breaking with tradition and being rescheduled because of external conditions, the changes may lead to outrage within the Cowes aristocracy. Cowes Week's bizarre scheduling historically is such that it is planned to come immediately before the season for murdering grouse begins.