This year's regatta attracted 37 entries including 11 Metre yachts

The 2005 British Classic Yacht Regatta, held at Cowes from 16-23 July will be remembered for many things, but above all it will be the strong winds, the competitive racing, the camaraderie on and off the water and the sheer good fun of it all. Numbers were up to 37 this year, including an 11 strong Metre fleet of 6Ms, 8Ms and a 12M competing for the International Metre Trophy, a new trophy donated by Azure Dragon Marine Sculptures.

In a change of format, a few days of rallying were incorporated into the start of the week which comprised some informal racing and the static concours d’elegance known in BCYC circles as the “?.je ne sais quoi” – an opportunity to look over other classic yachts and vote for your favourites. This year Josephine, Tim Blackman and Jo Burr’s beautiful 1954 Philip Rhodes Bermudan sloop took the honours. Monday’s strong wind didn’t dampen enthusiasm for the informal racing and most yachts charged down to a lunch time anchorage at Hurst Castle in up to 30 knots of breeze, Ilderim, Marc Busschott’s 1936 Tor Holm International 8 Metre taking line honours. Strong winds on Tuesday hampered sailing with only 7 yachts venturing out, most skippers electing to stay in harbour to protect their yachts from damage or mend gear failure from the day before.

With little improvement on the Wednesday as the Round the Island Race dawned the Race Committee sensibly decided to set a long Solent course instead. Skippers tested their yachts to the limit in the kite run down to the Forts, and beat back up the Solent, past Cowes and down to Lymington before a final turn and kite run home. Cetewayo won the race, even keeping the International 8 metres at bay, and took home the Moonbeam Trophy.

For the remainder of the week the sun came out and the winds dropped to a more comfortable speed. The race committee managed to set two races per day on Thursday and Friday, expertly managing the logistics presented by such a varied fleet – the extremes being the 12 Metre Italia as the most modern and fastest yacht compared to Dorothy the 32 ft 1894 Linton Hope Thames rater.

The social programme was as full and varied as usual. Thelma VI, the 72ft Silvers Ormindale classic motor yacht & the BCYC’s occasional floating club house hosted a couple of drinks parties, one of which included an impromptu bluegrass concert on the foredeck. Friday evening saw a one off concert at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club by Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel fame. This joint event was attended by 280 people and approx £6,000 was raised for The Lucie Blackman Trust. The week was rounded off with a Prize Giving Dinner again hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. An ever expanding line up of trophies this year also included trophies for the 6 Metre and 8 Metre fleet, an overall International Metre trophy and a prize for overall Classic winner under IRC.

Caprice, Brian Pope’s 1946 Mcgruer won The Universal 6 Metre trophy, whilst Peter Wilson’s 1930 Bjarne Aas designed If won (for the second year) The Universal 8 Metre Trophy. Both trophies were kindly donated to the club by Avia Wilment of Univeral Marina. Don Wood & Richard Rankin’s Italia took home the International Metre Trophy after some fiercely competitive racing. The winner of Class 1 was Caprice, with Tom Richardson’s 1947 David Boyd 6 Metre a close second.

In Class 2, Jonathan Dyke’s 1938 Robert Clark designed sloop, Cereste, battled it out with David Murrin’s Cetewayo to win first place for the second year. Class 3 also saw fierce competition between Roger Dann & Rowland Smith’s Arthur Robb Lion Class Leonie and Bill Hogg’s 1966 McGruer Zaleda, with Leonie just having the edge to take first place.

This year all classes started on the same line and raced the same courses enabling an overall winner of the Classic fleet. Jonathan Dyke’s Cereste won this adding yet another trophy to her name.