Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week moving with the times

SB20 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Rick Timlinson
Cowes Week Limited (CWL) from Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week are always keen to listen carefully to what competitors want. Together with input from the classes involved, CWL has come up with a tweaked format this year that is already starting to prove popular with an influx of additional entries writes Sue Pelling.

The most significant change for 2013 is the introduction of two races a day for the SB20 and J/70 sportsboats. The SB20s are using the regatta as the third event in their European Grand Slam tour, which means turnout should be good.

Jerry Hill Director of Sportsboatworld who is racing at the event says the format change is really important: 'In general the SB20 fleet felt they were not getting enough races or sailing in exchange for a weeks holiday – some only wanted to do the first weekend too.

'This format allows our sailors to get eight races in for four days, and they either have the option of getting back to work for Wednesday or carrying on with the more traditional race format for the rest of the week, which is more attractive if they’ve travelled from further afield. We have visitors from France, Holland, Russia all coming on the back of the Grand Slam format, and potentially more UK sailors coming who wouldn't otherwise attend.'

Ian Atkins from boats.com who is racing a new J/70 endorsed Hill’s view, commenting: 'The new, condensed four-day format offering two shorter races each day, but including the unique experience of both starting and finishing on the Squadron line is a tremendous step forward that is bound to increase the popularity of Cowes Week in years to come. Well done to all concerned for the effort involved in making this option available.'

Sportsboat sailors may also be interested in the news, announced last week, that Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week is a qualifying event the 2014 EFG Pan American Sport Boat Championship to be held in March in Miami.

Other format changes to the Week include the repositioning of the Black Group start line. The line, which will be known as the Bramble Line, will be positioned approximately 400 metres to the east of where it was previously, at the mouth of Southampton Water. This has been done primarily to move the line further from the Thorn Channel and also so that it can be used as a finish line.

CWL are also introducing a new race format on the final Saturday (10 August), aimed predominantly at cruisers who want a taste of the racing action at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for just one day. Cowes Week Limited CEO, Stuart Quarrie, said the aim is to give newcomers a soft introduction. 'The plan is to keep it relaxed with a late start, a simple course and a condensed set of sailing instructions.'

Quarrie added: 'Before launching the idea we canvassed opinion on the concept and had an overwhelmingly positive response. We hope that those who give one day a go this year may come back and spend a bit more time with us in future years'.