Since 1826, Skandia Cowes Week has become one of the biggest international yachting events 22/3/06

When seven yachts signed up for the first organised yacht race at Cowes on 10 August 1826, it is unlikely that anyone envisaged that this would become an annual world class yachting event.

After 180 years, Skandia Cowes Week as it has been known for the past eleven years, anticipates over 1,000 yachts and 8,500 sailors turning up to enjoy eight days of racing between Saturday 29 July and Saturday 5 August 2006.

This extra special 180th edition of Skandia Cowes Week will be celebrated in style, full of shoreside entertainment and some exciting racing. Regatta Director Stuart Quarrie says: “The racing promises to be as good as ever and there are some minor tweaks to make the race management even better.”

Parade Landing – a real boon for the Week
The Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) Haven is due for completion in May and is looking impressive. Just to the south of the RYS Haven, the new Parade Landing is due for completion in early July. This will be a very heavy wave-breaking 100-metre long pontoon. There are 20 metres of the Northern end allocated for Royal London Yacht Club members and Cowes Harbour Commission is running the remaining 80 metres as a public facility.

During Skandia Cowes Week, CCC will moor its committee vessels on the inside of the pontoon, leaving the outside as a free drop-off and pick-up point. This will allow ready access to the Parade and Regatta Centre. The free (to competitors) river bus service will include the new Parade Landing as a stopping point in its round trip from the Town Quay, up river beyond the Chain Ferry and back.

Competitors Card
As part of its 180th anniversary plans, CCC is recognising the immense contribution by the competitors in making the Regatta the fantastic event that it is by introducing a Competitors Card. This card will entitle each competitor to a number of fantastic privileges throughout Cowes town for the duration of the event and will be issued, exclusively to each competitor from the Regatta Information Office.

Spectator Boats
CCC, in partnership with Solent Cruises, is laying on one of the Jenny boats to enable three spectator boat trips each day. Around 150 visitors a day will be able to get safely in amongst the action and enjoy closer views of the racing. There will be live commentary on board during the hour-long round trip. The spectator boat will run from the new Parade Landing and advance bookings will be possible via the event website until 22:00 the day before the booking is required. Visitors may also book onsite at the entrance to the Parade Landing. Charges are £10 per adult and £8 for children aged 16 and under.

Spectator Boat Schedule
10.30 – 11.30
12.00 – 13.00
13.30 – 14.30

J/109 Class Start
CCC has agreed that there will be a Class start for the 20-25 boats making up the J/109 fleet expected to race at Skandia Cowes Week this year. There are 57 boats sold in the UK and the Class start at Cowes bears witness to the astonishing assent of the Class since this 35ft model was launched four years ago. The J/109 has already proven itself a winner under IRC and the continued development of the one-design race circuit has been driven in part by the team at J-UK but primarily by the J/109 owners and the J/109 UK Class Association.

RYS start line reverts to transits
In 2005, CCC changed the definition of the Black Group start line from the traditional RYS transit to an imaginary line between the flagstaff and a flag on the outer distance committee boat.

Some competitors liked the new system, however considerably more have requested reverting to using the transit and CCC has gone with the majority. There will still be a Committee Boat at the outer end of the line and it will make every endeavour to be on the line – but the line is once again defined as the transit of the diamonds on the flagstaff and Castle.

Extra fees for boats carrying advertising
ISAF has deleted its rule preventing event organisers from charging differential fees for boats that carry advertising. After some consideration, CCC has decided to revert to the policy of charging these boats double the normal entry fee, with the exception of those boats carrying advertising from an event sponsor.

Whilst some people see it as unfair for an event to charge differential fees in this way, it is important to recognise that CCC puts a lot of resource into securing sponsors whose financial support directly benefits the event. If a company wishes to advertise in order to benefit from the opportunities that the event presents then some contribution should be made towards the running of the Regatta. It also ensures that non-sponsored boats have a smaller entry fee than would otherwise be necessary.