It’s no coincidence that in “odd” years, when the Rolex Fastnet Race starts immediately after this historic regatta, international participation increases. However, this year boats have been much earlier submitting their entries and regatta organisers are pleased to be welcoming back familiar faces, as well as some exciting newcomers to the world’s best-known regatta.
The boat with the longest journey to Cowes is the Australian Secret Mens Business 3.5, which was winner of the 2010 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race. Owner and skipper, Geoff Boettcher has competed in a total of 23 Sydney to Hobart Races but has never raced in either Cowes Week or the Fastnet Race.
Commenting on their entry into the regatta, Geoff said: “The crew are ecstatic about taking part as both events have a reputation not only for great sailing but great onshore events too. The only time I have raced in Cowes was as crew on an Australian entry in the 1996 Etchells Worlds. I loved the place then and my ambition was to come back with my own yacht. I’m now fulfilling that ambition!”.
Geoff’s Australian crew consists of the team that have raced with him in the Sydney to Hobart and they’ll be joined by UK sailors Will Best & Andy Meiklejohn who Geoff believes will be great assets. For the last 17 years Geoff and his team have sailed most of the Australian regattas including Hamilton Island Race Week and Geelong Week and they’re now ready to venture out!
The Mini Maxi sailing yacht Bella Mente is travelling from the USA to take part in the special three-day Big Boat Series (Tuesday 6 – Thursday 8 August), and will face the Slovenian entry, superyacht Esimit Europa 2 (both of whom are racing in UK waters for the first time), the Spanish X612 Hansa, as well as regular Cowes Week competitor Niklas Zennström with his British Mini Maxi yacht Rán.
The country to have best representation so far, outside the UK, is the Netherlands, and a contingent of familiar faces from the country have confirmed their attendance at this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week with regulars Harry Heijst (with Winsome), Peter Vroon (with Tonnerre De Breskens 3), and Wouter Hermsen (with Luctor et Emergo II) once again taking their places on the start line on Saturday 3 August.
Commenting on how entries are shaping up for this year’s event, CEO Stuart Quarrie said: “We’re delighted to report a strong entry for this year’s regatta so far, and are really looking forward to an exciting regatta. We’re particularly pleased to be welcoming such an international fleet and so many new faces, many of whom will be taking part in Cowes Week prior to the start of the Fastnet”.
This year’s event takes place over the traditional dates of 3 – 10 August. Those yet to enter are reminded to do so before midnight on Monday 27 May in order to benefit from the discounted Early Bird entry fee. Discounts also apply to bookings made with the main accommodation agencies in Cowes and for vehicle ferry bookings made with Red Funnel prior to the end of April.