With images of Skandia Life Cowes Week 2001 still fresh in the mind, organisers Cowes Combined Clubs have announced details of this year’s regatta

With images of J Class boats, 12 metres, superyachts and Herreschoff classics still fresh in the mind after Skandia Life Cowes Week 2001, organisers Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) have announced details of this year’s regatta and, although there are some changes to the format, sponsors Skandia Life are back for their eighth year as title sponsor.

The regatta will be held on 3-10 August, slotting in between Glorious Goodwood and the start of the grouse season on 12 August. Since the first Cowes Week in 1826, the regatta has traditionally started on the first Saturday after the last Tuesday in July. Occasionally, as in 1997, this clashes with spring tides, so to avoid a repeat of that year’s driftathon, the 2004 and 2007 regattas will be staged a week later (see below for details).

After racing in last year’s Sportsboat Class, RS K6s will now race in a one design class, hopefully without the rudder problems experienced in last year’s heavy weather. The Bull 7000 class, racing in the Sportsboat Class, will contest its European Championships at this year’s Skandia Life Cowes Week, scoring in its racing class and as a one design class. One design results within racing classes will also be made available to growing fleets such as the Ker 11.3 and Prima 38.

This year, the organisers have taken some steps to embrace the IRM rule. There had been some criticism based on CCC’s refusal to follow Ford Cork Week’s lead in using the new rating system. Organisers have explained, however, that many of the historic and prestigious trophies, so popular with the Skandia Life Cowes Week’s entrants, are based on existing class definitions and any change could leave owners racing for trophies of which they had never heard.

But while maintaining the traditional IRC class divisions, CCC has embraced IRM. This year any boat with an IRM certificate, wishing to be scored under IRM as well as racing for trophies under IRC, can monitor their IRM progress using CCC’s new dual-scoring system.

There had been rumours that the success of the Farr 40 regatta contested during last year’s Skandia Life Cowes Week, as a prelude to the Farr 40 Worlds that followed, would mean more windward/leeward race courses. However, organisers have decided that the Solent simply isn’t appropriate for such races and windward/leeward courses would need to be set either in Christchurch Bay or off Spithead – either a good hour or two’s motoring in fair tide – and this wasn’t considered a realistic option.

Finally, the event website is now live all year and it’s packed with news and information about this year’s event and reminisces about last year’s stunning summer. It’s all at: www.cowesweek.co.uk 

Regatta Dates2002: 3 – 10 August2003: 2 – 9 August2004: 7 – 14 August2005: 30 July – 6 August2006: 29 July – 5 August2007: 4 – 11 August2008: 2 – 9 August