Panerai British Classic Week 2011 was hosted by the British Classic Yacht Club (BCYC), in Cowes, took place from 17th to 23rd of July.
The event saw a wide range of weather conditions which tested the skippers and crews of the 71 vintage and classic yachts to the full. After gales on the opening day of the regatta had sadly put paid to the much anticipated around the island race, competitors then faced challenging 20 knot plus breezes on the second day, as well as contrastingly light and capricious winds and rain on many other days. Despite the vagaries of the weather however, the spirit of friendly competition and warm camaraderie which has always typified this annual event was very much in evidence again this year.
The competitive action on the water was equally matched by the pace of the activities ashore. In their second year of association with the regatta, event sponsor Panerai once again contributed greatly to the overall atmosphere of the event, laying on a brand new, luxurious and expansive hospitality area for the owners and their crews to enjoy pre and post race refreshments. As well as the regular social schedule which featured dinners, crew parties, as well as plenty of unofficial marina bar mingling (to the accompaniment of some great post race musical acts), this year the grace of the regatta's wonderful fleet of classic yachts were juxtaposed with the style and magnificence of 60 classic cars taking part in the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) Summer Trial. Additionally, on the penultimate day, Rob Thompson and Eileen Skinner, who had been competing at the regatta aboard Sir Francis Chichester's legendary Gipsy Moth IV, announced the launch of their new charity, The Gipsy Moth Trust. Rob and Eileen have generously donated their iconic 'Gipsy Moth IV' to charity as a gift to ensure it is safeguarded for the nation.
In Class 1, with a win on the final fifth race of the series, R A Rankin's 1985 12 Metre 'Italia' finally triumphed in the fierce week long match race battle with Richard Matthew's 1985 12 Metre 'Crusader', to take the overall Class 1 prize. In Class 2 the third of the 12 Metres at the regatta, John Lister's 1937 'Wings', won Friday's final race to also close out a class win. Sir Michael Briggs aboard his 1904 'Mikado' continued his dominance of Class 3, winning the final race to finish the regatta with a perfect unbeaten score, which earned him the overall regatta prize. David Myatt's Class 4 performance on his 1948 'Marguerite' had been similarly comprehensive, and he won the final race to secure a comfortable class series victory. Overall Prize Winners: Stiff Drink Award:
(Bottle of Spirit Whisky - Donated by Spirit Yachts)
Awarded to the Race Committee's Philip Gage for the fright he got when Harold Cudmore swung the bow of 'Crusader' past him missing him by 25mm at the start of the Challenge Races. Crunchie Awards:
Awarded to the crew of 'Crusader' for hitting the Cardinal Buoy and to the crew of 'Thelma VI' for running aground in Osborne Bay. Lightening Boat Award:
Awarded to Bob Gatehouse of 'Erida' who couldn't find his oilskins and they appeared when he hoisted his spinnaker and were picked up by the boat behind. Shaken Not Stirred Award:
Awarded to the Cruising Division's David Spensley-Corfield of 'Ceilidh Mhor' and Sally Kellman of 'Croix Des Gardes' for going above and beyond the call of duty by swimming between the boats with a supply of wine in Osborne Bay. 'Je Ne Sais Quoi' Awards
- Awarded to the boats adjudged by the competitors to have 'that special something'.
Class 1: 'Choices' - Beat Kuehni
Class 2: 'Athena' - Earl of Cork and David Glasgow
Class 3: 'Gipsy Moth IV' - UKSA
Class 4: 'St. Patrick' - William Collier
Cruising Class: 'Droleen II' - Tim Bennett Cetawayo Trophy for the Overall Winner:
'Kelpie' - Pelham Olive Wight Vodka Best Dressed Crew Award:
Awarded to 'Mirella' - Yvon Nicholas Lallow Cup for the best presented new entrant:
Awarded to 'Thalia' - David Aisher Overall Regatta Winner:
'Mikado' - Sir Michael Briggs BCYC website