cruiser racer TJP7018First invited to compete in 2013 as Classic Cruisers the class has a growing significance in the regatta and has been renamed as Classic Yachts. There is an obvious latent demand from wooden IOR boats and classic boats that otherwise have no natural home at an international event.

There is no real definition of a classic yacht and the convention has been for a long time at classic regattas to use a cut-off date of around 1970 for boats built in wood or steel. Cowes Classics Week has now moved to use a cut-off date of 1975 for boats built in wood or steel.

Clearly GRP production yachts were built before this date and as time moves on may be considered to be modern classics – they have long been admitted in American classic events, into a ‘Glassics’ class. Cowes Classics Week has therefore taken the initiative to establish a rolling 50-year rule for GRP boats. Once a class reaches that milestone we will invite them to celebrate their half-century with us and thereafter join in the fun.

Classic Sparkman & Stephens Swans, regardless of their design date, are invited to race at Cowes Classics Week. After the closing date for entries we will review the number of Swans entered and if there are sufficient entries, a separate class start may be offered.

The Class will be split, based on handicap, into two or more fleets. Boats of the same type will race against each other in the same fleet. Given sufficient entries of boats of the same type, class prizes will be awarded, eg for Nicholson 32 and 36, Folkboat, SCOD, Contessa 26 and Twister.

A note on Eligibility

Classic Yachts designed pre 1975 and constructed in wood or steel are eligible. GRP yachts that were designed over 50 years ago are also eligible. Spirit of Tradition yachts provided they are to a classic design are eligible. The Committee has the discretion to accept an entry from a yacht that is not within the 1975 rule for wood and steel, and not within the 50 year rule for GRP, by a few years, provided she has sufficient provenance.

To establish whether your boat is eligible, please complete this Classic Yacht Eligibility Form, attach a photo of your boat - preferably under sail, and email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and someone from the committee will get back to you.

KLR System Handicapping for the Classic Yacht class

Handicapping will use the KLR system commonly used in the Baltic for classics events and each entrant will need to supply the necessary measurements (owner-supplied details will suffice).  There will be no charge for handicapping. In the interests of inclusivity, restrictions will not be placed on sail material or deck equipment.

Learn more about KLR Handicapping.


The larger boats in the Classic Yacht Class at Cowes Classics Week compete for the Danegeld ½ model which was presented to the Royal London Yacht Club by designer David Cheverton, and has hung for many years on the wall of the Arundel Room. With Danegeld herself a competitor in 2013, the Model is a fitting trophy.

The smaller boats compete for the Caprice ½ model, an 1886 designed yacht.

Competing Classic Classes

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