The promise of a spectacle of timeless classic versus cutting edge modern is emerging early in the year as the entries for the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary start to lay down the gauntlet for the summer of sailing in England’s Solent this July.
Three majestic J-Class Yachts, Velsheda, Ranger and Lionheart, will line up alongside other historic legends including the 48ft Tomahawk, built in 1938, and 52ft Dorade built in 1929; both of which are Sparkman and Stephens designs.
From the breath-taking schooner, Eleonora at 160ft, to the two eight metre yachts Helen and Enchantement, born 1936 and 1923 respectively, the event has been a magnet for the most immaculate and competitive classics in Europe and beyond. Several, including Dorade herself, are racing across the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island, to take part in this Royal Yacht Squadron’s 200 years celebration.
The event is set to be a mecca for grand prix yachts too – entries to date include the mighty 120ft Briand designed sloop Bristolian, mini-maxi Jethou and many well-known names in the performance IRC fleets, including Ker 46 Tonnere of Breskens, Elan 40 Flair, TP 52 Gladiator, and Grand Soleil 43 Quokka. The Swan class will be represented too – entries include Swan 57 Noonmark VI, which will also be taking part in the Transatlantic Race, as well as the Swan 44 Rosy Pelican.
Several clubs from around the world including one from each of the East and West coast USA, three from Europe, and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club have already paid their entry fees for the Level Rating Class, whose teams will race in chartered Beneteau First 40s. More are expected to follow.
The historic Royal Yacht Squadron, whose castle sits at the entrance to Cowes, looking across the Solent, will play host to the five-day event, from 25th to 31st July 2015, which includes daily inshore racing and a race around the Isle of Wight. The latter will also be joined by other yachts too big to take part in the Solent races.
For more information, visit the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary Regatta.