Organisers of Cowes Week are inviting sailors who may have never raced before to join in the final Saturday of Cowes Week on 13 August 2016

The last Saturday of Cowes Week has always been a popular sailing day for boat owners who haven’t raced before, or who worry about entering the cut and thrust of the full Cowes Week series for the first time.

The idea of encouraging entries on this single day is to allow owners to experience sailing at the event in a less pressured environment. To encourage first timers there’s also a reduced entry fee of only £40 for the day’s racing, irrespective of boat size.

Saturday 13 August is therefore an excellent day on which to try out racing your yacht for the first time. This is particularly true for the Cruiser Division A and B classes that race under the simplified ISCRS rating system that’s also used by the 800 entries in the cruiser classes of the Island Sailing Club’s Round the Island Race every year. Anyone with a well maintained modern cruising yacht could take part, while many older designs are also suitable.

‘If you take part in the Round the Island Race, then you will certainly enjoy Cowes Week racing in the Cruiser classes,’ says Regatta Director Phil Hagen. ‘While we deliberately give the top sailors in the IRC boats courses that involve some complex manoeuvres, with the cruiser classes we set courses that are sympathetic to those with less experience. But competitors in the Cruiser classes still get all the classic elements of Cowes Week racing that make it an iconic event, including starting and finishing on the Royal Yacht Squadron line.’

Similarly, as some of the IRC classes finish their series on the Friday, the last Saturday sees a reduced number of entries which makes it an ideal day for boat owners and crew to experience Cowes Week for the first time. With smaller fleet sizes and a more relaxed feel, new names are able to rise to the front of their respective fleets. Although the racing may be simplified, the last day still has an impressive array of trophies on offer, some of which are won by first time entries to the regatta.

‘It was fantastic winning a Cowes Week race, considering this was my first year of owning Party,’ says Claire Turner, whose Beneteau First 35 Party won IRC Class 4 on the final Saturday of the regatta last year. ‘I and the majority of my crew were previously Squib racers, so for us to win a Cowes Week race in our first year with Party was completely fabulous.’

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