"It's the flag-ship boat in the RS stable. There's a large and very fast growing fleet across the UK and we are hoping to get 40 boats here for the Nationals", says Charlie Egerton-Warburton, who is currently the only sailor racing an RS Elite out of Cowes and also the organiser of the Wight Vodka RS Elite Nationals 2012 in Cowes being held over 30th August to 2nd September.
Watch the interview with Charlie Egerton-Warburton in Cowes here.
When asked about the appeal of the RS Elite he quickly reeled off a series of persuasive features, "My family and I were looking for a boat that had attractive lines and would turns heads, that was fast, with a decent sail area. That would sail in little wind and that is sea-worthy. It has a symmetrical spinnaker which has the ability to turn a race downwind." The self-bailer is also a very useful feature as Charlie entered his RS into the Round the Island Race last year, in which the RS Elite proved its sea-worthiness as the Force-7 conditions tested much larger boats.
Talking about the Nationals, which are due to be organised in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, Charlie continued, "We are going to be here before the Nationals during Cowes Week, so there will be a good fleet showcased. During the Nationals we will be having one start off the Squadron line, that will be for charity to support the Cowes Lifeboat Appeal. The boats will be berthed at the Royal Yacht Squadron haven, so you can see them there and if someone wants to come out on the water and take a closer look then let us know and we'll see if we can organise it."
Bringing the RS Elite Nationals to the Island is clearly important to Charlie, "I was brought up on the Isle of Wight and I was very, very keen to ensure that through this regatta we showcased everything that's great about the Island we live on. So for example all of the prizes that are going to be awarded have been sourced locally. We are also going to be supporting the Cowes Lifeboat Appeal, which is not a statement about the sailing ability of the RS Elite class, but I thought it would be a good idea to get them onside early on!"
"We are extremely honoured that Wight Vodka, which is a small independent distiller of premium grade vodka and born here on the Isle of Wight, have kindly agreed to be our headline sponsor. They have a overtly nautical ethos and a very catchy marketing slogan, which is 'Tack and Gybe Responsibly' which appeared to be entirely appropriate."
On establishing a Cowes RS Elite fleet there was an enthusiastic invitation extended, "Whether you're teenager, you're retired, a novice sailor or an experienced hand, there'll definitely be a kindred spirit in this fleet. I was brought up sailing keelboats and once you've experienced close-quarter, adrenalin-pumping racing in a compact fleet that finishes within minutes of each other, you really don't want to sail anything else. We're all great enthusiasts, and we will be building a fleet out of Cowes.If you're interested in making that step into a really exciting keelboat class, then please do get in touch. We'd love to hear from you."
After we spoke to Charlie he was off up the High Street Cowes to meet with several traders in the town; he's determined to get as many local businesses involved as possible and make the Wight Vodka RS Elite Nationals a truly Island affair.