Old and new classic and classic-style yachts are gathering in Cowes this weekend ahead of the Panerai British Classic Week

If you like boats to have sweeping sheerlines and plenty of brightwork, there’ll be plenty to ogle at in Cowes next week as over 50 yachts gather for the Panerai British Classic Week. Running from 13 to 20 July, a series of six races will put the boats through their paces.

Stand-out entries amongst the fleet include three William Fife III designed yachts, including:

Viola; a gaff cutter built in 1908. Currently based in France, she is well known on the Mediterranean classic yacht scene and recently won her class at Voiles d’Antibes.

Viola, a William Fyfe gaff cutter built in 1908

Nyachilwa, a Fife-designed fractional Bermudan sloop built in 1952, will race in Class 4.

The third Fife, Mikado, is a Clyde Linear 30 Rater built in 1904, and is the oldest yacht in the fleet.

Another gaff cutter, Cynthia, achieved acclaim earlier this year when she was shortlisted in the Classic Boat Awards’ Restoration of the Year (over 40ft) category. Designed by WT Jacket, and built in 1910, Cynthia has recently been restored over five years by respected, retired rigger Peter Lucas. Following the restoration, Cynthia has a new rig very close to the original gaff cutter version, having had a Bermudan rig for most of her life in between.

In Class 1 (modern classic, Spirit of Tradition yachts), nine Spirit yachts (comprising a 63 Deckhouse, three Spirit 52s, three Spirit 46s and two Spirit 37s) will race alongside a Gurney 63 Custom yacht, Crusade.

Spirit Yachts sailing the Panerai British Classic Week

Class 2 will include the famous 12m Bermudan sloop Sceptre, which was built on behalf of the Royal Yacht Squadron to challenge for the 1958 America’s Cup. Today, she is carefully maintained by members of the Sceptre Preservation Society for cruising and racing around the UK.

The 12m Sceptre built for the 1958 America’s Cup

BCYC commodore Jonathan Dyke commented, ‘The variety and notoriety amongst this year’s entries shows the UK classic yacht scene is still thriving. With several international entrants in the fleet, it’s clear the Solent remains one of the most attractive venues for racing in Europe. We are very much looking forward to welcoming these beautiful yachts and their passionate owners to Cowes on Saturday.’

The six-race series is organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron and there will be prizes both for the racing and for how authentic the boats are, judged by a panel of experts.

Spirit Yachts sailing the Panerai British Classic Week