Although probably one of the most challenging on record in terms of weather, Cowes Week 2019 turned out to be one of most successful in the history of the event with 100s of teams enjoying super-fast, exciting racing all week.

Thankfully for the inaugural charity King’s Cup event on the Thursday before the start of Cowes Week the weather was ideal allowing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to take part in the event while Prince George and Princess Charlotte watched on.

Will and David Heritage   powered up on Freddie Flintoff, Flying 15 – photo Paul Wyeth

Will and David Heritage
powered up on Freddie Flintoff, Flying 15 – photo Paul Wyeth

Winds of up to 50 knots on the opening Saturday – Sustainability Day –forced the cancellation of all racing but this was the only whole day lost due to the weather. Although the race committee also took the sensible decision to cancel the smaller White Group keelboats on the Sunday too (Family Day), with winds gusting up to 30 knots, the rest of the week was glorious, albeit a bit wet at times.

Families celebrating Family Day, and thousands of extra visitors to the Island on Sunday afternoon were treated to an amazing demonstration of ultra-fast racing with 50ft foiling SailGP catamarans contesting their inaugural European event.

Tom Slingsby and his Australian team were the heroes of the event winning all three races, and crossing the finish line at a mind-boggling 50kts in the first race.

Sir Peter Ogden and team on the Judel Vrolijk Mini Maxi Jethou stole the show from Johannes Schwarz on E1 the Volvo Open 70 (ex Green Dragon) in the Triple Crown, three-day series for IRC 0, winning the coveted Duke of Edinburgh Triple Crown Trophy, kindly loaned from the Royal Collection.

One of the highlights of the week was the competition for the Under 25 Trophy, which had one of the best prizes on offer – a chance for the skipper of the winning crew and guest to race in Antigua Sailing Week 2020, with flights and accommodation provided, as part of the ASW Youth to Keel Programme.

Not surprisingly this trophy was extremely closely contested but the overall winner was Ollie Hill and his H2 Sailing Team on an SB20 who walked away with the prestigious prize.

Chatting about his win, a delighted Hill commented: “The Antigua Sailing Week prize has got to be the best prize here and we certainly weren’t expecting to win. It is absolutely amazing and we are really happy. I have no idea who I’m taking yet. That’s a little bit of a difficult question, because it is still under negotiation.”

On his preparations for the event, Hill added: “We got the crew together about four months ago and we did three days training in Lymington and this is our first event so we are just really pleased to have come away with such a good result. Our win was just about focusing on the processes and trying not to look at the results too much to keep myself calm. I think we managed to do that reasonably well and come out with an amazing result, we’re really happy.”

Slingsby Ladies Day at Cowes Week, which celebrates women in sailing, is always popular and this year was no exception. In fact it turned out to be one of the best yet with Slingsby, the sponsor, once again embracing the day, which culminated with an exclusive Slingsby Ladies Day Reception at Northwood House.

The overall winner of the trophy that recognises the outstanding contribution, commitment, or achievement of women in sailing, was Lucy Macgregor, Olympian and four-time World Champion in Women’s Match Racing. She and here crew were also recognised for finishing fourth at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda – a Grade 1 (open) matching event earlier in the year.

Out on the water at Cowes Week, however, it was Dawn Bee racing on Haggis 2 who won the new Slingsby Best Female Helm Trophy for the best overall result female helm that day.

With racing for the overall wins in both Black Group (large yachts) and White Group (small open dayboat classes) going down to the wire on the final day, competition was as intense as it was on the first day.

With a consistent scoreline of first places in IRC Class 6, Giovanni Belgrano and his team aboard the 1939-built Laurent Giles designed classic – Whooper – took the overall Black Group title for the second time. Although he won Black Group two years ago, he was naturally delighted to take the coveted title again: “It was a tough one this time, but there is no doubt that our win was 100 per cent down to rock solid navigation, preparation, and importantly, fantastic crew work.”

Rounding up a truly successful week on the water, it was James Wilson and Ed Peel and team in their 1989-built Redwing – Quail – who not only won the Redwing class, and White Group overall with a clear scoreline of five first places but they took the overall win of Cowes Week.

The jam-packed Cowes Week prize giving at Shepards Marina followed by a spectacular Red Funnel Fireworks extravaganza over the Solent on the Friday night marked the end of Cowes Week points series. However, a good turnout enjoyed the last day of Cowes Week racing for the Cowes Town Regatta on the final Saturday.

Special thanks were expressed to the event sponsors including Slingsby, Musto, aql, Sunsail, Land Rover UK, Westerhall Rum, Chatham, Fever-Tree, and Isle of Wight Council.

One of the most popular family attractions in the Yacht Haven this year was the Land Rover Activation Area that saw constant crowds of visitors joining in the fun. The Land Rover Sailing Experience for youngsters was particularly well subscribed, with young sailors, many who have never sailed before, fortunate enough to experience a coaching session with Sarah Ayton – double Olympic sailing gold medallist.

Plans are already in place for Cowes Week 2020, which takes place between 8-15 August.

The 50ft foiling SailGP catamarans competed at Cowes in the class's inaugural European event

The 50ft foiling SailGP catamarans competed at Cowes in the class’s inaugural European event




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