by Ben Cummings
Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, organised by Cowes Week Limited, is taking place from 11th to 18th August 2012. Competitors from across the globe will enjoy the fun and festivities of this year’s Cowes Week in what is a very special year for Great Britain. Of the entries received so far, there is representation from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA; all helping to give the regatta its international flavour.
Young sailors competing at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
The first international entry to be received this year was Pierre Viard’s Adrénaline from Le Havre in France. Pierre sailed at the regatta for the first time in 2011. Last year was a difficult year for Pierre’s boat and crew who, like many others, had a hard time sailing upwind against the tide and experienced a dismasting on the Thursday of last year’s regatta. Rather than letting this put them off, they have changed the mast, upgraded the boat and hope to take their revenge at this year’s regatta! Commenting on last year’s experience, Pierre said: 'I enjoyed this regatta because the fleet of IRC boats is amazing, the standard on the water is great, and to race with a big IRC fleet relatively close to home is just wonderful'.
US skipper Ted Sawyer will be in Cowes for the first time since breaking his neck during the Dragon Edinburgh Cup, in Cowes six years ago! The event will be the swan song of his wonderful cold-moulded Petticrow Dragon Clairvoyant which will be sold after the event. As Ted will be 80 years old in 2013, Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week will probably be his last major UK regatta in the Dragon class. Between them, Ted’s two professional crew, Stavros (Martin Payne) and Pedro Andrade have won over 15 International & National Dragon titles and are threatening to give local favourite, Graham Bailey, a run for his money!
Closer to home, Brian Cooper of East Cowes was the fastest out of the blocks with his entry for Little Spirit being the first received by Cowes Week Limited. Home-grown Island talent will feature strongly among those battling for pole position at this year’s regatta, and the Island contingent will be hoping their local knowledge will provide an advantage in August.
The new Aberdeen Asset Management youth scheme has proved very popular with the offer of funding support to the first ten entries with a full crew complement of under 25 year-olds being snapped up.* Among those contesting for the Aberdeen Asset Management Under 25’s Trophy are the Davies brothers at 16, 17 and 18 years-old who will be racing their XOD Westwind. There are three entries from the British Keelboat Academy; a partnership between the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA) and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) designed to support young people aged 18-24 in developing the skills needed to take their keelboat racing to a professional level. From further afield, the Welsh crew racing in the Etchell’s class on Darling S, kindly loaned to them for the season by Ted Fort, will be making the journey to Cowes in August. Additionally, a team comprised entirely of Newcastle University students from the School of Marine Science and Technology will be racing in the ISCRS class in their aptly named boat, Newcastle University.
This year’s regatta promises to be better than ever with celebrations of Olympic proportions as the country celebrates a summer of royal heritage and sporting prowess. So, for those that are deliberating entry for this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, try not to leave it too long as the early bird discount on entry fees, berthing (where applicable), and ferry travel is set to revert to standard prices after 17:00 on Monday 4 June. In addition, it should be noted that requirements for the deep water swinging moorings must be booked with Cowes Harbour Commission and paid for by Friday 8 June in order to guarantee a mooring.
*Two of the ten entries that are eligible for funding support have become available. Any crew comprised entirely of an under 25 crew should contact the Regatta Centre ASAP for details.
Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week website