Big Class Classic Yacht Racing Returns to Cowes in July

Eleonora is a true replica of Westward with exactly the same lines as the original

Eleonora is a true replica of Westward with exactly the same lines as the original

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. 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 1910’s – 1930’s.

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 – Eleonora is a true replica of Westward with exactly the same lines as the original, and constructed using the same materials.

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.

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. — Peta Stuart-Hunt