The Solent - that sheltered stretch of water on the English South Coast between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight - has long been the epicentre of the English summer yachting season with colourful events all the way through from May to September. But 2015 offers a bumper crop of pageant the like of which has not been seen for some years. In addition to regular events such as the Round the Island Race and Cowes Week, special events this year include an international regatta to celebrate 200 years of the famous Royal Yacht Squadron, a Panerai British Classic Week that will bring together beautifully restored and maintained yachts and craft from a bygone era; and the ultra-modern spectacle of the new America's Cup class foil-borne 45ft catamarans, the absolute cutting edge in the design, technology and handling of wind-powered sailing craft.
Round the Island Race
First up is the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, held on the last Saturday in June (27th). In terms of number of participants it is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK, with upwards of 1,500 yachts taking part (the record is 1,750 in 2008), each with a crew of anywhere from 3 to 15 people: about 10,000 competitors each year, in other words. Run by the Island Sailing Club based in Cowes and started in 1931 the race attracts everything from professional sailors and Olympic medallists to cruising folk for whom this is their only race of the year. Spanning 50 miles, right around the Isle of Wight, it is one of the most engaging spectacles of the yachting summer, especially if the breeze allows the yachts to use their brightly-coloured spinnakers on the run down Solent to the Needles.
Panerai British Classic Week
Panerai British Classic Week (from 18th-25th July) brings the perfect opportunity to get out onto the water for a day of corporate hospitality. As part of the Panerai Classic series held in several European venues and all sponsored by the eponymous Italian watch-maker (their first watches were designed for use by Italian war time frogmen), the week will bring to The Solent some of the loveliest yachts to be seen anywhere, including the great classics of yesteryear. This year the fleet is expected to be augmented by at least four magnificent J Class yachts - those 120ft millionaires' toys that raced for the America's Cup in the heyday of the event, in the ‘Thirties - as well as classic ocean racers heading across the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island to compete in the Royal Yacht Squadron's special Bicentenary International Regatta.
RYS Bicentenary International Regatta
This invitation-only event follows Panerai Classics week and celebrates 200 years since ‘the Squadron' was founded in Cowes as ‘The Yacht Club' in 1815. Although not the oldest yacht club in the world - or even in Britain - the RYS can claim to have been the first organisation in England to have coined the term ‘yacht club'. Many others quickly followed and in 1833 the by-then Royal Yacht Club became, by Royal command, the Royal Yacht Squadron. Minimum size of yacht was 150 tons, many carried canons and a condition of membership was that the Royal Navy could borrow the yacht in time of war.
This stunning offering of sailing crop throughout June and July provides the perfect opportunity to get out onto the water this summer. Be it as a spectator on board a luxury powerboat or as part of the racing crew, contact EMG on 01590 670 999 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a bespoke proposal.