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  Regatta Update from Regatta Director
Posted by Laurence Mead on Thu Jul 11, 12:08 [3781-12387]

July 10, 2019

Dear Sailors,

With standard entry to Cowes Week open for another three weeks (closing date Friday August 2nd ) there is still time to enter the U.K.’s biggest keelboat regatta (Saturday 10th to Saturday 17th August 2019).

This is going to be a very special Cowes Week as we integrate the Sail GP foiling 50 foot catamarans on the first weekend. We have updated the sailing instructions so that we can get Cowes week racing completed in all reasonably normal wind scenarios (bearing in mind that well known saying “it’s never normally like this here”!).

Start times are broadly the same as last year but there will be a new start and finish line option, one in the east and one in the western Solent so that in the case of a late sea breeze we can still get races away if that timing overlaps with SailGP. With any luck however Cowes Week races should finish by 15:00 hours so that most boats get a chance to return to Cowes and watch what will be an awesome spectacle.


50-knot foiling catamarans will require an exclusive sanitized zone in the middle of the Solent however and the sailing instructions outline the exclusion zones for the most likely wind directions. The biggest factor is that there will be no southern access to the Medina River from the West while the zone is in place (1400 to 1700 on the 10th and 11th). Boats racing and finishing in the west will need to transit back along a northern access route. This is all laid out in the sailing instructions which are online now.

Prize Giving on Friday August 16th

The other major change this year is that the Cowes Week points prize giving for all classes will be on Friday night starting at 1930 in Shephard's Marina. Previously we finished Black Group on Friday and White Group on Saturday but going forward the points series for all classes ends on the Friday.

Saturday 17th August

Racing continues on Saturday, the 17th of August for trophies presented by Cowes Town Regatta and we will have another prize giving that evening (at Cowes Corinthian YC) for what is in effect a one-day regatta to end Cowes week. Going forward we hope to develop this into a fun, end of regatta extra day when perhaps crew are given a chance to helm and drivers go on the foredeck……??!!!! Your Cowes Week entry fee includes this day as normal.

Skippers Briefing

We will be holding the usual skippers briefing on Friday evening (August 9th) at Shephard's Marina (18:00 hours) which will also be a good opportunity to get any questions answered. There are a number of changes from last year, most notably the addition of the two extra start lines. We are committed to getting you racing on the Sail GP days if at all possible, even if we only get a lunchtime sea breeze.

Regatta Ethos

Over the winter I gave some talks at yacht clubs about the ethos of Cowes week and it’s important to us that we put on a great week for you, which delivers world-class regatta racing. It is a regatta not a world championship however and it should test different skills to those that you might use on a windward leeward course. Our philosophy is that if there is enough wind to get boats moving then they should be out racing, dealing with whatever conditions are thrown at them .

It’s important that it is fun however so the social side of the regatta is important, as is a spirit of camaraderie on the water. The words of the legendary Paul Elvstrom sum it up. “If in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors you have won nothing at all”

Cowes Week App

Don’t forget to download the Cowes Week app which will be available in early August and after which we will send you the access code relevant to your class. This will be our primary form of communication with all sorts of information to keep you fully in touch with everything that is happening during the regatta, onshore as well as on the water.

The new Solent Team Trophy

Finally we are really excited about our new Solent Team Trophy. This is open to three boat teams representing either yacht clubs or National flags where three boats are from the same country. The rules have been updated so that you now must have one boat from both black group and white group, with the third from either. We are hoping to turn this into an interesting inter-club and inter-country team trophy over the next few years so please think about getting your team together now!!!

Any questions please contact me via this "Ask Laurence" Forum or via email ;

See you in August!
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