A world champion was crowned this afternoon as another Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week came to its conclusion after four days of racing in the Solent. Lively breezes provided perfect action conditions on the Solent Race Course for Frank Weigelt, sailing Holzwurm to claim the title in the International Tempest World Championship which came to Cowes as one of the Cowes Classics Classes for the first time.
This is the fifth time that Frank and his long-standing crew Christian Rusitschka have won the Tempest Worlds. “We prepared in a theoretical sense very much before we came to Cowes,” said Frank who normally sails on tide-free lakes in Bavaria. “We had a lot to think about with the shifting winds and the Solent tides.” He adds, “It has been a great challenge - we would definitely come here again.” The Tempests were designed in 1965 as an Olympic class thus earning their place in the classic yacht fleet. Criteria for the Cowes Classics Week states all yachts shall have been designed before 1975.
Another outstanding champion of the week undoubtedly had to be James Meaning and his crew Bob Brinsdon and Sean Curran on Gleam, who triumphed in the 50 strong XOD class, the largest class at the event. He had a lot of boats to beat and achieved it through consistent performance. He modestly said “We’ve never won a big event in 27 years but we thought if we kept trying for long enough the law of averages would win through.” James completely rebuilt his 1967-built XOD (although the XOD was designed in 1911). James and his team beat Kim Slater’s Madeleine into second place and a very worthy third was young Ben Childerley crewed by his father and two times Olympic Finn contender Stuart, and his sister.
The XOD class was fiercely competitive right to the last race, where a black flag, threatening disqualification to any yacht over the line, was flying at the third attempt at a start for the over-eager one-designs. The antics of the fleet summed up a week of action and excitement.
The overall Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Trophy itself was won in the Solent Sunbeam class. Roger Wickens improved on his second place of last year by gaining an overall win in the closely fought series and his performance also give him the regatta win calculated using the weighted formula based on the number of boats in the class. The Solent Sunbeams, as a fleet, come across from Itchenor Sailing Club each year to compete in the Charles Stanley Cowes Classics, and the class which started in 1922 continues to grow with nine new boats in the water in the past couple of years.
Two first places and again consistency secured BOD 8, sailed by James Row, the top Bembridge One Design slot. The BOD, introduced in 1936, is based on the XOD, but with three inches less draught to cater for the shallow approaches of Bembridge Harbour. Despite the yacht not having a spinnaker racing was very tight in the class which shared a race course and start with the similarly paced Loch Longs.
The Flying Fifteen and National Swallow classes raced the same course on a KLR handicap system, and it was Mike Wigmore who won the series on National Swallow, Gwaihir, while the victory in the Flying class belonged to Bobby Salmond’s Vacquero. The two classes, combining to form the ‘Day Boats Yellow’ class were joined by some distinguished newcomers this year, four vintage Dragons. Amongst them was Rupert Street’s Tschuss, recovered from a farmyard where she had languished for more than 20 years, and was completely restored by the Elephant Boatyard. Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week was her debut event of a new life.
John Corby celebrated a win in the Daring Class, a development of the 5.5 metre which was a former Olympic Class. “This is the biggest Daring win for me to date,” said John who has restored a number of original Darings to mint condition including his own 1971 build boat Doublet. “We made some good decisions and I had a very good crew in Ian Findlay and Paul Miller and also my brother Mark.”
Nine Loch Longs, which have all travelled from Aldeburgh, Suffolk were amongst the 13 classes in total which took part in the event. All the one design classes, Six Metres and Eight Metres were shared between four committee boat courses spread across the Solent to the east of Southampton Water. Whilst the first day of racing was lost to excessive wind conditions, the race committees went on to get all races completed on the largely windward leeward courses.
Five handicap classes, however, were racing from the fixed line of the organising club, the Royal London Yacht Club. Classic Cruising yachts, gaffers - several more than a century old and ‘Spirit of Tradition’ modern classic yachts raced over Solent courses. Six Twisters, a class cruiser racers largely built in the 60s raced closely. Allan Beswick and his wife Gillian came to Cowes with the original Twister Twister of Mersea. “The wind and the courses have been right for us this week,” said Allan, “We’ve enjoyed the shoreside programme of the event as well.”
Charm of Rhu, a converted Eight Metre, built in 1963, competed in the Classic Cruiser handicap class. Owner Martin Thomas had a very special crew on board. “We decided to use the event as a reunion for my university friends of 40 years ago,” he said, “so we had a fun crew!”
A host of historic gaffers and wooden cruisers including Contessa 26s, South Coast One Designs, two sleek modern classic Tofinous and other vintage yachts were joined for the first time by five S&S Swans, with a win going in the Swan Class to Jonathan Wallis’s Sheevra.
Racing was organised by the Royal London Yacht Club with support from Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Cowes, Island Sailing Club and Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club. This year’s event charity, the Miss Isle School of Sip & Puff Sailing, raised over £750. The unique sailing and training experience for physically disabled individuals who want to go sailing but aren’t able to sail a conventional boat. The charity is the brainchild of teenager Natasha Lambert, who has cerebral palsy herself, yet has already sailed around the Isle of Wight, up to the Thames, crossed the Channel, sailed over five hundred miles to Wales, and many other adventures. Visit http://www.missisle.com.
The Organisers are grateful to all the sponsors.
Cowes Classics Week 2017 dates: 17 to 21 July 2017.
- ends –
Photo credits; Jake Sugden.
Media enquiries and image requests:
Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week Press Officer
Clearline Communications Ltd
Telephone: 07774 623 539