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05, February 2010
Cowes, Isle of Wight: The Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) and two partner Clubs, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) and Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM), are staging the Westward Cup regatta in Cowes from 5-11 July 2010 working with Boat International Media as Media Partner of the event. The organisers aim also to establish an event that would eventually lead to a revival of Big Class classic yacht racing as it was known from the 1910s – 1930s.
The Westward Cup has been initiated to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the launch of the racing schooner Westward in 1910. She was designed and built by one of the most successful yacht designers, Nathanael G. Herreshoff, in Bristol, RI, USA. Westward was one of the fastest and most famous of the Big Class racing yachts, regularly competing in Cowes and most successfully against King George V’s yacht Britannia, and other Big Class yachts.
The owners of four great classic yachts have already signed up and the regatta organisers are anticipating up to four more entries from interested parties over the coming weeks.

Already confirmed for what promises to be a truly glamorous and historic line-up are:
  • Eleonora - she was launched in 2000 and has since then become a tangible and exciting reminder of Westward's daunting performance on the racecourses. She is a frequent and successful participant in the classic regattas in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean. She perpetuates the spirit of Westward and of the Big Class racing.
  • Britannia- a recently launched replica of King George V’s yacht Britannia, built in 1893 and the most successful racing yacht of all time, winning 231 races and 129 prizes from 634 starts.
  • Mariquita- this William Fife-designed 19 metre class, Mariquita was launched from the Fairlie yard on the river Clyde in 1911. She achieved a distinguished racing record before being decommissioned in the 1930’s. Following extensive re-commissioning, Mariquita has now rejoined the fleet. She is one of the most successful classic racing yachts.
  • Mariette of 1915 - a famous Herreshoff yacht built in 1915 and restored to her present condition in the mid-1990s. She is a regular and successful participant in the world’s classic regattas.
Above: Eleonora racing in St. Tropez.
Photo by Franco Pace http://www.francopace.it

The concept behind this wonderful opportunity is that a selected number of invited yachts will come to Cowes, the original home of racing in these elegant boats, and compete over similar courses that they or their predecessors will have done in the 1920s and ‘30s. Clearly, conditions have changed since those days and safety will be paramount. In terms of the racing itself, four days of racing and a rest day are envisaged and the sailing instructions will adhere as closely as possible to those recently agreed by “La Belle Classe”, an association of classic yachts initiated by the YCM.

Invitations to this prestigious event are personal and limited to the owners of Big Class classic yachts that wish to race these beautiful large boats in the style that pertained early in the last century, when they were designed or built. Aprogrammeof prestigious social events has been created, which will include dinners hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the two partner clubs and Boat International Media.

The Royal Yacht Squadron’s Rear Commodore Yachting, Simon van der Byl, is keen to hear from owners who may be interested in offering their yacht for charter as some clubs have indicated an interest in chartering for this regatta.

If it suits an owner’s programme, this could be the first of three events for them and their fellow competitors in British waters. The second would also be in Cowes as part of the British Classic Yacht Club Regatta. The third, in mid-August, would be based at Falmouth in Cornwall as part of the Pendennis Cup Week. If desired, a feeder race to Falmouth will be organised,” explains Captain van der Byl.
Anyone wishing to enquire further should contact:

Mrs Patricia Lewington
The Secretary
Royal Yacht Squadron
T: + 44 (0) 1983 292 191
E: trisha@rys.org.uk
For further information on Boat International Media and our international portfolio of events, please contact:

Alice C. I'Anson Widdows
Events Director
Boat International Media
T: + 44 (0) 20 8545 9338
E: alice.widdows@boatinternationalmedia.com