Changes for Skandia Cowes Week

Many welcome changes afoot for the 2004 event

Friday November 21st 2003, Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt, Location: United Kingdom
The 2004 Regatta marks the 10th Anniversary of Skandia’s title sponsorship of the most famous sailing regatta in the World, Cowes Week. This year also celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the event’s organising body, Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC).

Skandia Cowes Week is growing its international status as a ‘must do’ event as organisers actively encourage greater participation from other countries. Skandia Cowes Week now has its twinned 'sister' event - Skandia Geelong Week - in Australia from 22-26 January 2004 and marketing initiatives are under way to further promote Skandia Cowes Week to northern Europe and at the major Caribbean Regattas next Spring.

Skandia Cowes Week forms part of the 'Cowes, IOW, Home of World Yachting' stand at this year’s Boat Show. We’re on Stand N1781 in the North Hall (near Opal Marine) from January 8-18. The Anchor Pub, one of the favourite watering holes in Cowes, has a bar on the stand. So, come and have a beer and discuss your plans for racing during Skandia Cowes Week.

High performance class to use the IRM rating system

Those racing boats that either have or can get an IRM certificate are being given their own class for the Week. It is likely that most of the traditional 'big boat' Cowes Week trophies will be re-allocated to this fleet of high performance racing boats, away from the cruiser/racers in IRC.

In 2003 we saw over 20 boats racing under IRM but they were only given three days as a class and then had to reconfigure into IRC mode for the remainder of the Week. Stuart Quarrie, Director of CCC, explains that: “It is natural for full-on racing boats to sail for trophies such as the Britannia Cup bearing in mind the history of such trophies and their previous links with the Admiral's Cup.”

Quarrie continues, “Whilst there are a few smaller boats that race in IRM, the rating band for this year's event will see a bottom limit that allows Farr 40s and Ker 11.3s with no top limit. This should make for some really good, high profile racing under IRM as well as giving the bigger cruiser racers better racing in their own IRC class.”

Multihulls to join Skandia Cowes Week

CCC has agreed to a request from MOCRA to have a multihull class in 2004. This will be for catamarans and trimarans from about 25-40 ft LOA within a rating band that will encourage fast cruiser racer types of multihull. Final details are still being worked on but at this stage it is anticipated that Skandia Cowes Week will see a fleet of around 15-20 multihulls joining the nearly 1,000 monohulls for a great week of racing.

Birthday treat for West Solent One Designs

The beautiful WSOD fleet that in modern times has been based on England’s East Coast, is coming home to the Solent for its 80th birthday. Built by the Berthon Boat Company in 1924, these 34ft' 6in classic dayboats will make a stunning addition to the Skandia Cowes Week fleet in 2004. Racing in the White group with the other dayboats, the fleet of WSODs will start first each day.

Official Opening of new Regatta Centre - Friday 6th August 2004

Building work on the new Regatta Centre is nearing completion. The first of eight luxury flats above the Regatta Centre is about to be released to its owners and CCC will occupy the Regatta Centre in March.

The new facility is fitted out to a very high standard, partly with the help of some infrastructure funding by long-term Cowes Week title sponsor, Skandia. While the Centre will be operational for the Round the Island Race, it has been decided to conduct the formal opening ceremony on Friday 6 August, immediately before the start of this year's Skandia Cowes Week.

Text messaging or WAP website?

After using the technology of SMS text messaging as a secondary means of relaying course information for the last two years, CCC is now considering moving on to a dedicated WAP website instead. Whilst texts are very simple for the user, there are no guarantees about the time that a message will be received by a particular mobile phone and some competitors have reported not getting their course until much too late for it to be useful.

Next Generation Results, that runs the results and Event TV services for Skandia Cowes Week, is currently trialling a WAP style of website that could be used to access courses and possibly also allow end of race declarations by mobile phone. The use of this system would mean that anyone could get hold of the course at a time convenient to them, rather than waiting for the mobile service providers to send them the text message. If the trial proves successful, the Official Programme will contain full instructions on how to use the new service.

To find out more about Skandia Cowes Week readers can visit their stand at the Schroders London International Boat Show - stand 1781

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