The IRC fleet will present a fantastic spectacle, with both vintage classics and modern cutting-edge grand prix race yachts. Entries include the mighty 120ft Briand designed sloop Bristolian, mini-maxi Jethou and many well known names in the performance IRC fleets, including Ker 46 Tonnere of Breskens, Elan 40 Flair, TP 52 Gladiator, and Grand Soleil 43 Quokka, who will line up alongside historic legends such as the 48ft Tomahawk built in 1938 and 52ft Dorade, built in 1929.
From the schooner Eleonora at 160ft to the two 8 metre yachts Helen and Enchantement born 1936 and 1923 respectively, the event has been a magnet for the most immaculate and competitive classics in Europe and beyond. Several, including Dorade herself, are racing across the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island, to take part in the regatta.
Five days of racing are scheduled for the IRC classes, including a Race Around the Island on the Wednesday of the event, when the fleet will be joined by the Level Rating boats and J Class yachts, together with other boats that are not eligible for the main regatta.
Within the IRC classes, two yachts from the invited clubs, as well as from member clubs of Cowes Combined Clubs, will also race for some prestigious inter-club trophies.
Level Rating class
The one design fleet will be sailed by a corinthian crew, all of whom must be from the same invited yacht club and include at least one under 25 year old and one lady crew.
The boats are well-known international Farr-designed Beneteau F40s which are being locally chartered for the event and fitted with new sails by the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Up to two windward/leeward races per day are anticipated on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and the fleet will also take part in the Race Around the Island scheduled for Wednesday.
J/70 team racing
Twelve teams from invited clubs will compete in a series of racing for J/70s during the regatta. The J/70 is high performance one-design that is exciting to sail, but stable enough for the family to enjoy. The boat has quickly established itself as a popular design and a small fleet has recently been acquired by the Royal Yacht Squadron for its members.
Each team at the regatta will have two crews of three people each, and every member of the crew must be under 30. With a challenging schedule of four days of round-robin races, plus semi-finals and finals on the Friday, the competition is very much aimed at those younger club members!
The J Class has its roots in the oldest sporting race in the world, The America’s Cup. In 1929 Sir Thomas Lipton issued his fifth challenge to the Americans for the America’s Cup and commissioned the build of the first J Class Yacht, the 120’ Shamrock V. In answer to Lipton’s challenge of 1929 the Americans designed four J-Class yachts as possible defenders. Enterprise, Whirlwind, Yankee and Weetamoe were launched within a month of each other, signifying the start of a new era in design evolution and racing.
We expect five of these stunning J Class yachts to take part in the RYS Bicentenary, and if all goes to plan, it will be the first time we will have welcomed that number to the Solent for nearly 80 years.