A number of changes have been introduced for this year's regatta

Entires for Cowes Week are now open, and the organisers are reporting a number of changes – introduced in response to feedback received by competitors. These include:

? Daily entry into the regatta is now available for those not able to race all week. To be eligible for the overall points series for a class, however, it will be necessary to enter for at least 4 days of the regatta

? Racing for cruisers who hold a rating under the Island Sailing Club’s Rating System has been introduced on the final Saturday of the regatta

? Following a major revamp of the entries system, ALL entries will need to be completed online. This will speed up the entry process and give entrants the option to modify their entry at a later date

New Classes:
? Following a renaissance in the Sonata, Sigma 33 and Sigma 38 one-design classes, individual starts will be provided for these classes in 2009. Cowes Week Limited looks forward to welcoming even more entries from these classes at this year’s regatta

? The biggest and fastest entrants of the Rolex Fastnet Race are invited to race in a special class for three days during Cowes Week from Tuesday 4 August to Thursday 6 August. The class is open to boats with ratings above 1.400 and with an LOA of between 18.5 and 30 metres, irrespective of keel configuration; canting keels, water ballast and similar features are all welcome

Final Saturday:
? While a full programme of racing will be provided on all eight days of Cowes Week 2009, the points series for black group will run from Saturday 1 August to Friday 7 August. The results from the final Saturday will not count towards the points series, allowing boats racing in the Rolex Fastnet Race time to prepare without compromising their series. Instead, black group boats will race on Saturday 8 August for trophies presented by the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club. Since most classes see a reduction in numbers on this day, it’s a great way to pick up some Cowes Week silverware!

? Boats in the Sigma 33, Sigma 38 and Quarter ton classes who opt to race on the final Saturday will be amalgamated into the appropriate IRC class, while J/109s racing on this day will sail with the J/Sprit class

? White group classes will decide their own points series this year. Most will continue to incorporate all eight days as part of the series, but one or two classes have decided not to include the final Saturday. (For example, the Laser SB3 series will run from Saturday 1 August to Friday 7 August, and boats will race on Saturday 8 August within the Sportsboat fleet.) Those that are unsure should check with their Class Association

Social Scene:
? The RNLI Cowes Week Ball 2009, featuring ‘Talisker Tales’, is the perfect way to round off the Official Charity Day at Cowes Week on Monday 3 August. This exclusive event, supported by Talisker single malt Scotch whisky, will include a champagne reception, fine dining, dancing, whisky tasting and an evening of tales from the sea with guest speaker and RNLI crew members. There will also be an auction with some exciting and exclusive lots! Tickets are now on sale at £1,250 for a table of 10. Contact Helen Patrick on (01202) 663441 for more information

? Cowes Yacht Haven has announced that specially-discounted passes will be available to all competitors during Cowes Week. The £15 passes will provide access to the Haven throughout the week, giving competitors the opportunity to enjoy some top class entertainment at very low cost. To benefit from the discount, passes need to be purchased in advance through Cowes Yacht Haven on: 44 (0) 1983299975 or info@cowesyachthaven.com .

For more information about Cowes Week please visit www.cowesweek.co.uk .