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Cowes Week - Royal Southern YC launches 175th Anniversary programme

by Peta Stuart-Hunt on 10 Aug 2011
Yachtswoman Sam Davies addresses the media at the launch of the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s new offshore Biscay 2012 Race in Cowes last night (Tuesday 9 Aug) Michael Austen Photography
Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week - In 2012, the Royal Southern Yacht Club will celebrate the 175th Anniversary of its formation in January 1837. Born on the rising tide of enthusiastic support for yachting in the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign, the Club has enjoyed royal patronage throughout its life, graced initially by Queen Victoria and, for the last 59 years, by HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, first as Admiral and latterly as Patron.

It is fitting that the Club has launched its 175 Anniversary programme of signature sailing events during the world’s oldest yachting regatta, Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, a programme that highlights how successfully a traditional Club has embraced modern values.

During 2012 there will be key events running in each month, underlining the Club’s position in its local Hamble community as well as in the wider international yachting arena. Thus, the Club will be organising an extraordinary breadth of events ranging from sailing community open days, a luncheon at a Royal palace, a 16-day regatta in The Solent, the 50th edition of the Cowes-Deauville Race, right through to its hosting of the British Open 12 Metre Championships.

Later in the year, the Club is host to the Conference of the International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC), and runs international match-racing in The Solent, a Youth regatta, a photographic exhibition, and the inaugural running of a newly launched offshore yacht race, the Biscay 2012, with English yachtswoman Sam Davies announced as its Ambassador.

Sam spoke about her own future sailing plans for the Vendée Globe 2012, taking into account the imminent birth of her first child, and she also spoke passionately about the birth of BIscay 2012, saying:

'Any sailing initiative that helps encourage a wider audience to participate in some competitive offshore racing has to be a good thing. Being able to encourage the Club’s racing members to sign up to this but also open it up to a wider sailing fraternity to enter Biscay 2012 is very welcomed. The Royal Southern's Race Management is superlative and Biscay 2012 couldn’t be in better hands. Congratulations to you all and thanks again for inviting me to be a part of it.'

In planning 2012, the requirement has always been to leave a legacy for Club members. This is epitomised in the plans for the Biscay 2012 Race. Subsequently, the Biscay Race will run every other year and may provide an interesting counterpoint to the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The Royal Southern's global reach is constantly expanding, both through its membership of the ICOYC and its 36 reciprocal Clubs worldwide.

The Club enjoys a membership whose active interests range from dinghy racing to offshore racing, cruising under sail and power, and a substantial motorboat fleet. There are 1,600 adult members and 200 cadets and the 20-year Youth Sailing Programme has already - and continues - to deliver world class sailors.

In tandem with the announcement of the Club’s 175 Anniversary programme, the Royal Southern Yacht Club Commodore, Mark Inkster, also announced the first tranche of supporting Gaastra is an authentic Dutch fashion brand with a DNA structure based on a passion for sailing and the sea. The international reputation of the company is built on a unique mixture of functionality and fashion, consistently implemented in the Gaastra Pro and Gaastra Sportswear collections. Gaastra Pro is the ultimate professional line run by sailors, which uses cutting-edge technology and materials to provide the best possible comfort and protection regardless of whether a challenging transatlantic regatta or a recreational excursion in inland waters. Gaastra is proud sponsor of many important yacht clubs, sailing events and teams throughout the world, including les Voile de St. Barth, Copa del Rey – Audi Mapfre and Bol D’Or Mirabaud. Piper-Heidsieck Champagne traces its roots back to 1785 and allegedly sipped by Queen Marie-Antoinette at Verseilles, by 1815, Christian Heidsieck and Henry-Guillaume Piper were supplying fourteen Royal and Imperial courts with their champagne. Always associated with art and fashion, Marylin Monroe woke up to it, Jean-Paul Gautier dressed bottles in a limited edition and its red label symbolises a heritage of enthusiasm, passion, panache and excellence. Piper-Heidsieck Champagne is already well known in yachting circles and is distributed in Britain by First Drinks Brands.
Sunsail Racing is the technical partner for the Biscay 2012 Race, with a new fleet of Sunsail F40 performance cruiser/racers, built by Beneteau, constituting the largest part of the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s inaugural Biscay 2012 race fleet. Sunsail offers a wide choice of sailing holidays with over 800 yachts in 30 locations throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Europe, making it the largest sailing and watersports holiday companies in the world. Sunsail was founded in 1974 and is owned by TUI Travel, PLC. Swarovski Optik: Wilhelm Swarovski commenced commercial production of binoculars in 1949, incorporating glass that was ground and polished using the machinery and techniques that his father invented in 1895 to produce polished gemstones in elegant and innovative designs. The Swarovski Corporation is now a world leader in both the high fashion business and as a specialist manufacturer of high precision long range binoculars, telescopes, riflescopes, range finders, image intensifiers and optical components.

During the unveiling of some of the 175th Anniversary highlights to an audience of media and VIPs gathered in Cowes on Tuesday evening, Commodore Mark Inkster said:

'As the youngest Commodore ever to serve the Royal Southern, I feel particularly honoured to be presiding over such a remarkable anniversary that falls within my term. Very few people can have seen the wide variety of activities and enormous support of its members who volunteer to keep the Club on the straight and narrow and the wheels turning.'
Royal Southern Yacht Club Aberdeen Asset Cowes Week website
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