Up bright and early for the 9 AM scheduled start time of their long inshore race, competitors at the 2011 Panerai British Classic Week in Cowes were greeted by the best breezes of the regatta so far when they arrived at the dock this morning. Whilst the crews busied in the marina themselves preparing their classic yachts for the day’s racing, immediately adjacent to them on the shore, the owners of 60 classic cars taking part in the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) Summer Trial were readying their machines for a time trial around the Isle of Wight. As the fleet of classic yachts glided serenely out of the marina, simultaneously and in stark contrast, with much revving of engines and squealing of tyres, the spectacular collection of vintage motor cars made a much noisier and more exuberant exit for their day of competition. Joining the vintage cars for the day was a Royal Marine Land Rover representing the Royal Navy & Royal Marine’s Charity, to which the HERO members had earlier generously donated a cheque for £1000.
Having been competing at the regatta all week, Gipsy Moth IV owners Rob Thompson and Eileen Skinner chose today to announce the launch of their new charity, The Gipsy Moth Trust. Regarded as a part of British maritime heritage after Sir Francis Chichester sailed Gipsy Moth IV around the world in 1966-67, Rob and Eileen have donated the boat to charity as a gift to ensure it is safeguarded for the nation and can continue to provide opportunities for the public to learn about her historic significance.
Since purchasing Gipsy Moth in October 2010, Rob and Eileen have worked in partnership with maritime charity UKSA to begin to ensure that the boat is both available to the public to view and is used as a tool to give disadvantaged or disabled young people the chance to broaden their horizons and change their lives through sailing.
The Trust aims to continue this work, with Gipsy Moth regularly attending events such as Panerai British Classic Week, Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and the ASTO Small Ships Race. At each event there will be opportunities for schools, youth groups and members of the public to view Gipsy Moth, including getting onboard and below decks.
The Trust will also continue to work with UKSA to engage with young people through schools and youth groups to provide opportunities to learn to sail or to link a visit to Gipsy Moth IV to the schools’ curriculum.
Meanwhile, out on the Solent racing got underway in a solid 10 knots of breeze, giving the whole fleet, and the larger yachts in particular, a chance to stretch their legs. In Class 1 it was Stephen Jone’s self designed modern classic ‘Meteor’ which reveled in the conditions and secured a comfortable race win. Racing in Class 2 saw John Lister’s 1937 12 Metre ‘Wings’ cruise to victory, whilst Sir Michael Briggs’s 1904 ‘Mikado’ continued her dominance of Class 3, notching up her third consecutive win of the regatta so far. In turn, Class 4 was won comfortably by David Myatt’s 1948 ‘Maguerite’, her second victory of the week.
Tomorrow’s final day of racing has just one race officially scheduled, but if conditions allow, the Race Committee will no doubt be keen to catch up with the race lost due to light winds on Tuesday. Accordingly the final day start time has been brought forward to 10.30 AM. With the points situation close in several of the classes, Friday will offer the final chance of glory for those with aspirations of lifting their overall class trophies.
View a selection of luxury classic sailing yachts available for yacht charters here.