A major highlight in the Cowes events calendar this year is the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta from 26th to 31st July, part of the Squadron’s celebrations to mark its bicentenary, 1815 to 2015. The Bicentenary Regatta is shaping up to be an amazing spectacle and has attracted a dramatic line up of modern, ultramodern and vintage yachts from across the globe. Entrants also include boats that have completed the Transatlantic Race 2015, the 30th such competitive north transatlantic crossing.
The Royal Yacht Squadron’s 200 years have many distinguished stories to tell, but the classic yachts that are coming, some more than 100 years old, add plenty of their own, like the William Fife designed Mariquita built in 1911. The largest yacht in the fleet Eleonora, at 162ft long, is an exact replica of the famous schooner Westward, designed and built in 1910 by N.G. Herreshoff, designer of America’s Cup defenders, which turned back all six challenges from 1893 to 1920. She was the fastest schooner in the world in 1910 and in the following years.
Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard 3, one of the world’s most recognised yachts, will be on the Solent start line and sailing amongst the other top guns including George David’s new Juan K designed all-carbon 88ft Rambler, which will be making her UK debut this summer.
Racing will take place daily on Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th, Thursday 30th and Friday 31st July from 0900 until 1600, with IRC classes starting from the RYS Line at 1030. The level rating event for the 10 Beneteau Farr 40s will take place between laid marks in the eastern Solent. Events will also include a ‘Race Around the Island’, eastabout, on Wednesday, 29th July from 0800 to 2100.
Notwithstanding, when racing, to take into account the potential difficulties of maneuvering J Class and similar sized classic yachts in the congested waters of the Solent, a ‘Moving Safety Zone’ (MSZ)’ will be established around each yacht. This MSZ will be centered on each yacht and will extend for 200 metres in all directions. It will apply to the yachts throughout the Central Solent (south of Calshot), eastern and western Solent and all craft are to avoid entering the MSZs at all times. The only craft exempt this prohibition are the yachts’ own safety RIBs, allocated RYS safety RIBs, other yachts competing in the same class, an Umpire boat and authorized J Class press boats flying J Class flags. Additionally, RYS RIBs may be stationed at the race turning marks.
Mariners should always consider the manoeuvrability of these large yachts when determining if a risk of collision exists. Mariners should consult the RYS websites (www.rys.org.uk or www.bic2015.org.uk) for specific details on the Regatta and should contact Southampton VTS on VHF Channel 12 or on 02380 608208 to confirm timings for commercial movements in the normal manner.
See Local Notice to Mariners No 20(T) of 2015 – RYS Bicentenary International Regatta.