Cowes Week update

New race centre not ready and new classes announced

Friday February 21st 2003, Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt, Location: United Kingdom
Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) are anticipating upwards of 950 entries for this year’s Regatta. The race organisers are expecting more big boats and foreign entries as a result of 2003 being a Fastnet Race year. Also the Admiral’s Cup returns to Cowes shortly before the start of Skandia Cowes Week (SCW) and CCC hopes that the timing will attract some of the teams to stay and compete.

Meanwhile CCC is forced to increase the 2003 entry fees by an average of 5% as a direct result of being stung with a massive increase in its third party liability insurance premiums – from £7.5k up to £24k – in the aftermath of September 11th and the recent stockmarket falls.

Opening of new Regatta Centre is delayed

The planned July opening of the re-developed Cowes Combined Clubs Regatta Centre in Cowes by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in time for Skandia Cowes Week has had to be postponed owing to unforseen delays caused by piling the foundations at the Bath Road site. However, the first two of eight luxury flats will be completed by August.

For the duration of Skandia Cowes Week, the Regatta Centre will have a temporary home on Cowes Parade, forming part of the Wight Leisure Tented Village. The 25m x 5m marquee will be sited on the Royal Yacht Squadron side of the Village together with four 3mx3m portacabins for use as Protest rooms.

The Next Generation Results team will be based in the Rigger’s Loft situated within the Skandia Cowes Week Media Centre in Cowes Yacht Haven.

The new Regatta Centre will now celebrate its official opening in early Summer 2004 to coincide with CCC’s 40th Anniversary.

New Classes for 2003

Cork 1720/Laser SB3 both benefit from fleet expansion

Formerly racing within the Sportsboat Class, this year sees the Cork 1720 and Laser SB3 classes both racing in their own classes.

The Cork 1720 Class is hoping to have up to 20 boats racing in its fleet and the Lasers will race with around 10 more boats than last year, bringing its fleet up to approx. 15 for this year’s Regatta.

IRC Bowsprit – re-named J-Sprit Class and open exclusively to all J-boats with bowsprits. Also, the J92 is using Skandia Cowes Week for its National Championship during the first four days of the Regatta but is still sailing in the Handicap Class.

IRM – For the first three days of racing, IRM will have its own Class and starts. IRM will then join IRC but there will be no IRM dual-scoring as per 2002.

This year, the overall IRM winner will also be awarded the Delta Trophy in addition to the usual Overall IRM prize.

IRC – IRC will again be split into eight classes however the actual split will not be decided upon until a week or so prior to racing commencing. Cowes Combined Clubs Regatta Director, Stuart Quarrie cites the reason for this:
“CCC wants to ensure sensible splits according to actual entries. This ensures that the class sizes are evened out as fairly as possible. We hope that the splits will be very similar to last year but we’re anticipating a mixed reaction to the news!”

XOD Class at SCW

The largest fleet at SCW comprising 70-80 boats is the XOD Class. At the specific request of the Class Association, CCC has agreed that on a day-by-day basis the Class may ask for a Committee Boat start so that the first leg can be to windward. This is especially important when the wind is in the North as witnessed on most days during the 2002 Regatta.

Stuart Quarrie comments: “Because this is such a huge fleet and slower than most other boats racing, we have to try and avoid 75 or so boats all reaching the first mark at the same time. If any other dayboat class reaches the same level of entries, then CCC might consider introducing this option to them!”

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