Cowes Brief

Cowes Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

Panerai British Classic Week 2014 to feature a host of famous sailing yachts

July 10, 2014

The 2014 edition of the Panerai British Classic Week will be hosted by the Cowes Yacht Haven, running from July 12 to 19.  Classic yachts from across the UK as well as Europe will once again gather to race and celebrate all that is best in classic yachting, with some 50 yachts attending this year’s tenth anniversary edition of the regatta.


The fleet is always a spectacular sight and will once again feature a host of famous sailing yachts.  This year the 1903 Charles Sibbick designed yawl Thalassa will be amongst those attending the event.  Thalassa, owned by Nicholas Walker, is not only one of the oldest boats entered, but also has a fascinating history.  She has been raced since her launch with considerable success including 3rd overall in the 1927 Fastnet.  In the early 1930s her sailing master was John Illingworth, perhaps the most famous racing sailor of his generation and widely regarded as the founder of modern ocean racing.  Having spent the war safely tucked up in a mud berth in Brightlingsea, Thalassa led the post war return to ocean and RORC racing and continued to be one of the most successful boats on the racing circuit.  Her crew’s approach was to give 100% commitment to every aspect of their campaigns and their reputation for hosting outstanding crew dinners and parties more than matched their fearsome reputation on the racecourse!  Thalassa has been beautifully restored and her interior is largely original making her a very special yacht indeed.

The youngest boat attending will be the newly launched 74’ luxury yacht Spirit of Galatea, designed by Sean McMillan.  Built by Spirit Yachts of Ipswich, Spirit of Galatea will join Panerai British Classic Week as a cruising entry, taking part in the Around The Island Race sponsored by EFG International on Monday 14 July. This stunning yacht is a wonderful example of the regatta’s “modern classic” division, which incorporates modern yachts built with the appearance of a classic.  Galatea’s designer Sean McMillan, who also happens to be Panerai British Classic Week Regatta Chairman summed up his feelings about the Modern Classic Division succinctly saying; “It is the most extraordinary privilege to be able to design and build contemporary yachts that are able to participate within the fleet of the British Classic Yacht Club. To race with some of the most beautiful yachts afloat in the challenging waters of the Solent is to experience the very essence of the Classic Yacht movement”.

Another fascinating yacht to look out for will be John Porter’s Overlord, a 58’ Bermudan sloop built in 1936 by Abeking and Rasmussen for the Luftwaffe.  She was part of a fleet of yachts used for training Luftwaffe navigators.  In 1945 Overlord and many other yachts in the Luftwaffe fleet were taken as prizes of war at Kiel and later included in the reparations agreement.  Overlord was handed over to the British Armed Forces in the guise of the Sapper Yacht Club and enjoyed a distinguished racing career between 1945 and 1955.  She was purchased in 1961 by Tony Venables, who formed the Offshore Cruising Club to manage her, and she is still sailed regularly by the club’s 200 members.

Thalassa, Spirit of Galatea and Overlord will join a fleet of some 50 classic and modern classic yachts for the regatta, which runs from Saturday 12 to Saturday 19 July.  There will be daily racing from Sunday 13 to Friday 18 July including the Around The Island Race sponsored by EFG International on Monday 14 July, the Ladies Race on Wednesday 16 July, a long inshore race sponsored by Classic Boat on Thursday 17 July and the Sandeman Yacht Company Race on Friday 18 July.  The quality of the racing is matched by the quality of the social programme which includes Mezze at Moocow on the opening Saturday, a Welcome Reception at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Sunday, the Open Yachts Pontoon Party on Tuesday when the participants get to inspect each other’s yachts, a Crew Party and BBQ on Wednesday and the Prize Giving Dinner on Friday, as well as daily hospitality in the Panerai Lounge where cocktails will be sponsored by Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, which has been released in celebration of Mount Gay’s 311-year history.  The regatta will conclude with the traditional Parade of Sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron and Cowes Green on Saturday 19 July.

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week welcomes CNBC as Official Business Media Partner

July 03, 2014

Cowes Week Limited (CWL), the organisation behind the world-renowned regatta, Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, is excited to announce CNBC, the world’s leading business and financial news network, as the Official Business Media Partner to the event.



This new agreement will assist the already internationally-acclaimed regatta in reaching a wider European audience with a commercial advertising campaign designed to promote Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. CNBC will receive hospitality and branding at the event, enabling it to increase its profile with those both following the event online and in attendance in Cowes.

Commenting on the announcement Finola McDonnell, Vice President of International Marketing and Communications at CNBC said: “Cowes Week is one of Britain’s oldest summer sporting events and it’s clear that our audiences complement each other well.  We look forward to working with CWL and to raising awareness of the event to our international influential and affluent audience.”

Michelle Warner, Sales and Marketing Director at CWL, added: “This is the first time that our regatta has established a relationship of this nature and we’re delighted to be working with CNBC to increase the international reach of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week with a huge European audience. We’re always looking at ways in which we can engage with more people from home and further afield; this new relationship provides us with a perfect vehicle to do this.”

This year’s regatta takes place from 2 – 9 August and will be supported by an advertising campaign on CNBC in July.

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2014 to feature amazing line-up of aerial displays

June 25, 2014

Cowes Week Limited (CWL) is pleased to announce that local letterbox has extended its support of the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week to comprise even more amazing airborne displays. These will significantly strenghten the shore-side programme at this year’s regatta.


The Blades

local letterbox, an exciting new business that is set to be the only dedicated network of parcel shops and parcelpods™ in the UK, stepped-in with support to safeguard the regatta’s Red Arrows display last year. This year, the company that will soon be offering customers a new and much more convenient way to collect, try on, return and send their parcels, irrespective or where they shop, is stepping-up its support to not only include a display by the iconic aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, but also has secured a Typhoon display and a display from the local letterbox-sponsored display team, The Blades.

The support provided by local letterbox means that many thousands of people in Cowes will enjoy a sensational display by The Blades (Saturday 2 August), the RAF Typhoon Display Team (Friday 8 August) and the Red Arrows (Friday 8 August); the latter two complementing a packed evening of entertainment culminating in the traditional fireworks display.

Commenting on the announcement, Zoë Ombler, Chief Operating Officer at local letterbox said: “We’re delighted to offer our support to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week by ensuring the appearance of the world famous Red Arrows again this year. In addition, we’re extremely excited to announce a fabulous display by The Blades Aerobatic Display Team, who last wowed the crowds at Cowes Week in 2008; as well as an incredible display by an RAF Typhoon, completing the line up of spectacular aerial displays and providing the Cowes audience with some unforgettable shore-side entertainment”.

Michelle Warner, Sales and Marketing Director for Cowes Week Limited added: “We’re delighted that local letterbox, with its fresh and innovative approach to online shopping, is providing such great support to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and that, through our event, we are able to provide a platform for them to promote their new concept while delivering a great experience to all our competitors and visitors”.

The full entertainments schedule for this year’s regatta is available online. This information is continuously updated so anyone planning their trip to Cowes during the regatta should check the latest information on the website.

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week will take place this from 2-9 August and those thinking about entering to take part in the racing are reminded that the standard entry fee ends on Sunday 27 July at midnight. Anyone who can’t take part for the full week can pick whichever day- or days – are convenient to them.

Sir Ben Ainslie to co-helm 100ft sailing yacht LEOPARD at J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race

June 03, 2014

The final countdown to racing at this year’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is well underway. The Island Sailing Club (ISC) in Cowes, organisers of the race, along with around 16,000 sailors, are expected to enjoy another exciting RTI Race day on Saturday, June 21.

Smiling in anticipation! John Dudley, Commodore Island Sailing Club, and current Multihull record holder Sir Ben Ainslie, are both on course for a great day on June 21st. Photo: Julia Slack, Slack Photography

Smiling in anticipation! John Dudley, Commodore Island Sailing Club, and current Multihull record holder Sir Ben Ainslie, are both on course for a great day on June 21st. Photo: Julia Slack, Slack Photography

An army of behind-the-scenes volunteers combines with a first-class and well-practiced Race Management team at the ISC to host and run the largest yacht race of its kind in the world. The news channels, whether broadcast, internet or social media, are awash with incredible images and sound bites from this most famous of races held annually in June.

Stories abound of the phenomenal racing prowess of the professionals – the Olympians and World Champions – but there also fascinating and endearing stories from amateur sailors from all over the UK, and from beyond our shores, brought into our homes via the LIVE Race blog and social media feeds.

Do join in! Standard entries close at midnight on Saturday 7th June.

Could Sir Ben Ainslie be the first yachtsman to hold both the multi & monohull RTI course records?

The ISC is delighted that the four time Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie is returning to participate in this year’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

Sir Ben will join Mike Slade and his crew on board the current monohull Race record holder, charter yacht Leopard (GBR1R). Sir Ben will co-helm Leopard with Mike and this is a fantastic opportunity for Ben to potentially claim both multi and monohull Race records after breaking last year’s multihull record on the J.P. Morgan BAR AC45 catamaran.

Ben and his team broke the Multihull course record in last year's RTI.  Photo: Lloyd Images

Ben and his team broke the Multihull course record in last year's RTI. Photo: Lloyd Images

Sir Ben Ainslie
“The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is an event that the whole UK sailing community looks forward to each year. What makes the Race special is the ‘Race for all’ ethos in that no matter how big or small your boat, everyone is racing on level terms.

“Last year’s Race was particularly special for me, we [Ben Ainslie Racing] broke the multihull record in honour of our great friend Andrew Simpson and this year we have been invited to sail with Mike Slade on his Maxi Yacht, Leopard.

“It’s a fantastic boat and one that I have wanted to compete in the race on for many years. I look forward to seeing the thousands of competitors on the start line come June 21st and wish everyone a great 2014 Race.”

Mike Slade
“We have been competing in the Race for over twenty years and each year offers different and intriguing challenges. In that time we have managed to break the Race monohull record on five occasions, including last year’s near-perfect Race conditions that allowed us to shave 10 minutes off our previous record in an elapsed time of 3 hours 43 minutes and 50 seconds.

“What makes the Race so special are the thousands of sailors that compete. It is a wonderful sight to see over 1,600 boats all competing hard to achieve their best time. This year I was delighted to invite Sir Ben to co-helm Leopard.  We have sailed together previously and that proved memorable and I’m hoping for another notable sail.

“Ben is one of the true greats of British sailing and Leopard and her crew are looking forward to welcoming him on-board.”

Competition is rife!

Hoping to break Sir Ben’s Multihull record is the recently announced GC32 Team Richard Mille (GBR1). The talented multihull sailors who hope to break this record are led by the helm Paul Campbell James, member of the AC34 Luna Rossa Challenge and past winner of the Extreme Sailing Series. He will be joined by fellow AC34 Luna Rossa team mate, Nick Hutton; previous winning skipper of the Extreme Sailing Series, Pete Cumming, and GC32 expert Adam Piggott.

Meanwhile the 75 year-old and apparently unstoppable veteran sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, is racing his Open 60 Grey Power (GBR749R). This is the man who will compete solo in the infamous transatlantic Route de Rhum in November this year, 45 years after becoming the first man to sail alone non-stop around the world.

At the other end of the scale, 23 year-old Lizzie Foreman from Surrey, is racing her Mini 6.50 Hudson Wight (633), the boat she is campaigning for next year’s gruelling Mini Transat. Lizzy, who usually sails solo and offshore, will be three up and inshore for the RTI.

The Island Sailing Club is grateful for the continued support of the Race Title Sponsor, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and the Race Partners for 2014: Dream Yacht Charter, Haven Knox-Johnston, Henri Lloyd, Nautica Watches, Old Pulteney, Raymarine, Red Funnel, Volvo Car UK.

Entries for Panerai British Classic Week 2014 now open

April 17, 2014

The British Classic Yacht Club (BCYC), in collaboration with the event sponsor Officine Panerai, are delighted to announce that entries for the 2014 Panerai British Classic Week are now open. The event will take place in Cowes, Isle of Wight, running from Saturday 12th to Saturday 19th July 2014.


Panerai British Classic Week is one of the highlights of the UK’s sailing calendar and this year’s event promises to be another spectacular celebration of classic yachting. With teams travelling from across Europe the Solent and Cowes Yacht Haven will be awash with glistening varnish and sparkling brass work as the crews compete for racing glory and enjoy a fun filled après sailing social programme. The famous and highly challenging “Around the Island Race” will once again be a highlight of the event as will the popular “Je Ne Sais Quoi” competition where the sailors themselves vote for the boat they feel has that certain something.

This is the thirteenth edition of the BCYC’s annual regatta for classic and vintage yachts, and it is the fifth year that the event has formed part of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Series (PCYC), which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The regatta attracts an extraordinarily diverse entry ranging from the iconic classics including designs by Fife, Mylne, Nicholson, Giles, Illingworth, McGruer and Sparkman & Stephens, through to boats whose background stories are as important and fascinating as their design and racing pedigree.

An entry of more than 70 boats is expected this year and alongside the historic yachts, the oldest of which is more than 100 years old, there will once again be a strong field in the modern classics division. The newest boat taking part will be the brand new Spirit 74 yacht, which will be making her debut at the regatta having been commissioned only a few weeks before.

UKSA – official event charity for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for next two years

January 14, 2014

Following an extensive evaluation process, Cowes Week Limited (CWL) and Aberdeen Asset Management are pleased to announce that they have jointly chosen UKSA as the official event charity for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for the upcoming two years.


Encouraging youth participation in sailing will play a vital part in the continued success and popularity of the sport and more specifically of events like Cowes Week. CWL and Aberdeen Asset Management therefore felt the time was right to appoint a national charity based in Cowes whose primary aim is to provide young people with opportunities in sailing.

Commenting on the decision, Michelle Warner, Sales and Marketing Director at Cowes Week Limited, said:
“Supporting youth sailing is important for the future development of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and therefore it’s fitting to focus the charitable objectives of our event on this inclusive approach. Any funds raised during the regatta will support specific youth development initiatives to benefit children on the Island as well as further afield. UKSA has great resources in place on the Island and a local presence in Cowes; we’re delighted to be working with them”.

Lynda Affleck, Head of Charitable Giving at Aberdeen Asset Management, added: “As part of our sponsorship investment in Cowes Week we’re fully committed to providing opportunities for the next generation. This is demonstrated by the support we already provide to crews of under 25 year-olds at the regatta through the highly successful youth initiative we introduced in 2012. This new relationship with UKSA further cements our commitment to promoting youth participation in sailing and we’re looking forward to working with them in their capacity as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week’s official charity.”

As part of UKSA’s involvement with the regatta, they will be providing opportunities for all-comers to get afloat and experience the excitement of sailing at this iconic event. In addition, they will be engaging with the public shore-side with a presence at one of the main exhibition sites and working closely with the local business community and event sponsors.

Richard Thornton, CEO of UKSA commented: “We are extremely proud and excited to be chosen as the new Cowes Week official charity. The core values of our organisation fit seamlessly with Cowes Week: challenge on the water while also having fun. Being the chosen charity is a big step forward for UKSA, and falls nicely in line with our strategy to massively increase the number of young people on our youth development programmes from 200 a year to 2,000 – the boost from being Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week’s chosen charity will be a huge help towards this. We have a range of exciting activities planned for the regatta, designed to promote inclusivity for all. We want to show that sailing is more than just a hobby; it is a catalyst that transforms people’s lives. One of our key aims as official charity will be to raise enough funds to offer every Year 6 primary school child on the Island the opportunity to get on the water with UKSA, and we are delighted that this takes us a step closer to making this dream a reality.”

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week takes place 2 – 9 August 2014 and promises a lively social scene and great racing. Entries are open and a discounted early bird entry fee applies until the end of May.

Full calendar of events for 2014 through to 2020 presented by ClubSwan

December 10, 2013

The amazing programme of events for Swan yacht owners for 2014 through to 2020 has been presented by ClubSwan, comprising a number of high profile regattas as well as unique ClubSwan gatherings. Next year, ClubSwan members will once again have the opportunity to join fellow Swan owners in fabulous destinations around the world for a unique combination of racing, cruising, as well as social events.

Rolex Swan Cup Crew Party 2012 - Image credit to Nautor's Swan Alberto Cocchi

Rolex Swan Cup Crew Party 2012 - Image credit to Nautor's Swan/Alberto Cocchi

2014 also marks the 30th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup, the jewel in the ClubSwan calendar which will include the Rolex Swan 45 World Championship and a full social programme.

The Swan Challenge Series also continues in 2014 and includes Caribbean, Mediterranean, Baltic and Transatlantic events where the top placed Swans are recognised for their performance in the world’s most demanding offshore races. The next of which is the Swan Caribbean Challenge, during the RORC Caribbean 600 in February.

Swan fleet at Rolex Swan Cup 2012

Swan fleet at Rolex Swan Cup 2012 - Image credit to Nautor's Swan/Alberto Cocchi

ClubSwan also awards prizes to the best placed Swans at a number of high profile regattas; from the Round the Island Race in Cowes, to Les Voiles de St Tropez.

Cowes Harbour Commission announces completion of salvage operation of motor yacht KAHU

November 15, 2013

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has announced that the intricate operation to salvage the burnt and sunken 70-foot, 114-ton motor yacht Kahu from the riverbed in East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight, has been completed successfully, following an amazing team effort.

Salvage operation of Nordhavn 76 Yacht Kahu - Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Salvage operation of Nordhavn 76 Yacht Kahu - Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

The technical and logistical challenges of safely salvaging the Kahu yacht were considerable, necessitating a 24/7 operation from the time of the fire being first reported. With highly sensitive environmental areas of mudflats and saltmarch upstream from the scene on the River Medina, and 8,000 litres of diesel onboard the Kahu, the concern was to prevent significant pollution to the area and this has been achieved.

Andrew Healy, Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said:
“This was a model multi-agency response to a complex pollution incident. There was very minimal impact on the local environment as a result of this incident.”

Chair of the Solent Environment Group, Mike O’Neill said: “Thanks to the efforts of Cowes Harbour Commission team and the other responders the impact on the environment was kept to an absolute minimum. The Solent Environ ment Group was able to provide advice on how sensitive the River Medina is to help plan the salvage of the vessel.”

Harbour Master, Capt. Stuart McIntosh said: “It’s reassuring to know that within the Cowes and Solent region the expertise exists to handle an incident of this magnitude. The professionalism shown by the salvage team was exemplary together with the efforts from my own team here at the Harbour Commission. All the players went the extra mile to achieve an excellent result.”

A large floating crane barge has completed the slow and controlled lift of the Kahu yacht onto a bunded flat top barge at East Cowes Marina. Contractors are today finalising the securing of the yacht on the flat top barge by constructing and welding a cradle and supports. The bund will be removed prior to transportation to Camber Dock, Portsmouth. Due to the current and predicted weather conditions it is proposed to depart Cowes on Saturday morning, when the conditions are looking favourable.

Timeline for salvage operation of KAHU Yacht announced by Cowes Harbour Commission

November 12, 2013

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has announced the proposed salvage operation timeline for the recovery as well as disposal of the Nordhavn 76 yacht Kahu from the seabed at East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight.

Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Activity at the scene continues around the clock with response teams from Adler and Allan, leaders in oil and environmental services, deploying additional oil booms, whilst teams from MMC Diving Services and RS Divers have started to rig air lift bags around the sunken Kahu’s hull. The salvage barge is also now on station on the western side of the Kahu and within an oil containment boom.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master said: “I’m pleased to report that salvage of the Kahu and pollution control are proceeding well, according to our detailed plans and revised timeline. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the CHC staff and contractors who are working tirelessly to complete this operation in a safe and timely manner.

“This has necessitated teams working around the clock and CHC has received much valuable support from locals. We are making every effort to minimise disruption to river and harbour users and local residents, and I would like to apologise for any temporary disturbances that there may be over the next few days.”

Following a salvage co-ordination meeting in Cowes yesterday, it has been confirmed that the air bag lift to raise the Kahu yacht to just below the water surface is due to take place between approximately 2200 on Monday, 11 November and 0700 on Tuesday, 12 November.

A floating crane barge is expected to arrive in Cowes at 0645 on Tuesday morning and once on station will raise the luxury yacht Kahu’s hull top clear of the water level at around 0800. This will enable the pumping ahore of the vessel’s fuel and water tanks into a waste road tanker. The hull will then be drained of sea water before being craned onto the bunded flat top barge. Once this stage has been reached, the crane barge will depart Cowes whilst the flat top barge and motor yacht will remain overnight in the controlled, oil boom protected salvage zone.

Wednesday should see the divers undertake a clearance of the seabed where the Kahu yacht’s hull had rested, and a decontamination programme by Adler and Allan of the salvage containment area and barge. The flat top barge, with Kahu onboard, will then be towed to Camber Docks in Portsmouth, subject to agreement by Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth and Portsmouth International Port Harbour Master.

Please note that precise timings are subject to changes in conditions or for operational reasons.

CHC has issued a second Emergency Temporary General Direction 10.2, and Local Notice to Mariners No. 31(T) of 2013, concerning the salvage and counter pollution operations, fairway restrictions and complete closure of the fairway on 12 November. Both documents are available to view on the Harbour Commission’s website.

A further update and report on the environmental clean-up operation will follow later this week.

Cowes Harbour Commision Update on Nordhavn 76 motor yacht KAHU

November 11, 2013

Nordhavn 76 motor yacht “Kahu” was lost in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight earlier last week. Lead by Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC), the salvage group has begun to recover the 76-foot Kahu yacht.

Salvage group working on recovery of Kahu Yacht - Credit to Marine Services Manager Barney Sollars. Photo courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Salvage group working on recovery of Kahu Yacht - Credit to Marine Services Manager Barney Sollars. Photo courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Ensuring safety and pollution control are the primary objectives, a coordination meeting was held in Cowes on 8th November to establish clear roles and responsibility for the operation. Preparation work to lift luxury yacht Kahu commenced on 9th November and after detailed consideration a ‘slow and careful policy’ has been adopted.

Divers will be used to attach lifting bags to the “Kahu” yacht which can then be inflated to raise the vessel to the surface. It will then be lifted by crane on to a flat-topped barge, which is also designed to contain any fluids or contaminants, before being towed to the Royal Clarence Yard in Portsmouth, subject to agreement by Portsmouth Harbour Authority.

It is expected that the lift will commence at 06.45hrs on Tuesday 12 November.