Organised by the British Classic Yacht Club, the UK’s premier classic yacht regatta took place in Cowes from 17 – 24 July 2021.

This year’s British Classic Week, hosted by British Classic Yacht Club, attracted 50 classic sail and motor yachts to Cowes for a week of sunshine, sailing and socialising.  Despite challenging light conditions at the start of the week, the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) race committee led by Race Officer Dai Prichard successfully went ahead with all six races in the series, as well as the annual Ladies’ Race.

The BCYC Trophy for the regatta overall winner was won by Baron Irvine Laidlaw and his Spirit 52, Oui Fling.  On behalf of Oui Fling, Gareth Griffiths commented, “Firstly, thanks from the Oui Fling crew have to go to all those that organised such a fantastic event. Considering the challenging conditions, to be able to get all races completed was a remarkable achievement.” 

As a team we were very happy to face a tough challenge posed by some superb competition. Talented crews and well-prepared yachts throughout the fleet were clearly demonstrated in the results by having a number of alternate winners in all sizes of yachts on different days.”

Gareth continued, “Considering what we have all faced in the last twelve months, it was so wonderful to be back on the race course in the throws of quality competition. The crew of Oui Fling really look forward to the next regatta and hope very much that everyone will continue to attend.”

Cowes basked in sunshine for the duration of this year’s British Classic Week as yacht owners and crews were tested in light winds and the notoriously challenging Solent tides.  The two longer passage races (sponsored by Classic Boat magazine and Spirit Yachts respectively) took place at the end of the week, when competitors enjoyed winds of up to 17knots and some classic champagne sailing.

Despite the lack of a lead sponsor, the regatta delivered on the social programme as well as on the water.  Guests enjoyed hospitality in the regatta marquee at Cowes Yacht Haven, as well as a variety of social events, including the traditional drinks at the Royal Yacht Squadron, which took place free of Covid restrictions on 19th July.  Guests partied late into the evening at the popular Pontoon Party sponsored by Classic Boat magazine, which this year included dockside Dark and Stormies from Hattiers Rum and gin and tonics by Dartmouth Gin.

Regatta entertainment also included a complimentary party with BBQ and live music hosted by the owner of Kim Holman designed yacht Stiletto, which celebrates her 60th anniversary this year.  Suffolk-based brewery Adnams provided champagne for the daily prize winners and delivered cold Kobold lagers direct to the yachts on the dock after Sunday’s racing.  On Thursday, the regatta BRIG RIB was out on the water delivering Hattiers Rum Dark and Stormies, and gin and tonics by Dartmouth Gin direct to yachts crossing the finish line.

British Classic Week 2019 regatta overall winner and owner of Whooper, Giovanni Belgrano, commented, “It’s been fantastic to be back at British Classic Week, we are so grateful to be back here, with our friends and crew, and to see the other beautiful boats.  Even without a title sponsor, the regatta is still a class act.  To have cold beers brought to you on the boat after some good racing; it really doesn’t get better than that!”

Further event support came from OneSails GBR, which sponsored a day’s racing, as well as Suffolk Yacht Harbour and traditional chandlery Classic Marine.  Also new for 2021 was the regatta’s charity partner, Tall Ships Youth Trust.  The charity was at the event onboard one of its Challenger yachts, raising awareness of the valuable work carried out to support disadvantaged and disabled young people across the UK.

Katie Craven (18), who has benefitted from the charity’s support and who spoke at the regatta prize-giving dinner ahead of a fundraiser commented, “The week was an amazing opportunity to meet loads of amazing people that I never thought I would meet. I had a smashing time on the water racing in the Ladies’ Race and I got to show off my skills that Tall Ships Youth Trust taught me, and we smashed it! I’m so happy I had this opportunity and would love to do it again.”

On Friday evening, guests and prize winners celebrated a vibrant week on the water and ashore at the final prize giving dinner.  Regatta overall winner Oui Fling also won Class 1, whilst 8mR Helen sailed a near-perfect week to win Class 2 and take home both the Best Placed Metre Boat and the Ladies’ Race trophies.

Class 3 was won by BCYC Regatta Chairman Michael Briggs in his Clyde Linear 30 Mikado, and a highly competitive Class 4 was won by Chris and Victoria Preston in their West Solent One Design Suvretta.

Best placed gaffer was awarded to the beautiful gaff cutter Kelpie, and best presented new entrant was won by the recently restored sloop Clarionet.  Voted for by regatta competitors, the overall Je Ne Sais Quoi trophy was won by Spirit 52 Happy Forever.

BCYC Commodore Jonathan Dyke commented, “With the challenges presented by Covid and the lack of a title sponsor, the planning phase of the regatta was tough at times.  Thanks must go to all our sponsors and regatta organisation team for successfully delivering a truly fantastic event.  The dock was buzzing all week with people delighted to be back out on the water, sailing their beautiful boats and catching up with friends old and new.  We look forward to seeing everyone back in Cowes for next year’s regatta from 16th – 23rd July.”

For a full list of prize winners, racing results and photos visit: www.britishclassicweek.co.uk

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