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26 February 2008, 09:59 am
End Of An Era For Cowes Week
The Laser SB3 fleet racing at Cowes Week in 2007
The Laser SB3 fleet racing at Cowes Week in 2007

Skandia Cowes Week 2008
Cowes, Isle of Wight, Great Britain

After a very successful 14-year tenure, 2008 is Skandia's last year as title sponsor of Cowes Week, the world's oldest and largest annual sailing regatta which this year is held between 2-9 August.
The regatta organizers are looking positively to the future as they continue their search for a new headline sponsor to join them in taking this great British sporting event to its next phase.

An important part of the structure now in place to ensure a smooth transition to a new title sponsor is the recent formation of Cowes Week Limited (CWL). Wholly owned by Cowes Combined Clubs, this new management company has overall responsibility for policy decisions and the strategic direction of the regatta. This will ensure that the business operation of both the shore-side and the racing are managed in a more streamlined way. CWL is serviced on a day-to-day basis by a sailing, shore-side and finance committee, and the sales and marketing department.

Stuart QUARRIE, CEO of Cowes Week Limited, comments, "The newly formed CWL has already streamlined the management of Cowes Week. Looking ahead, it will introduce a strategic level of thinking to the event as a whole and will help to ensure that Cowes Week continues to go from strength to strength."

The organizers, Skandia and the family of supporting sponsors as well as the event charity, the Ellen Macarthur Trust, are all looking forward to announcing their plans for Skandia Cowes Week over the coming weeks and everyone is gearing up to celebrate the end of an era and the breaking of a new dawn over Cowes.

In the meantime, here is an early heads-up on some of the plans in place for 2008:

Whole regatta entries only - no daily entries

After a number of comments from competitors over recent years regarding the way that boats that were only entered for a day or two could affect their overall position, it was decided last year to insist that all entries were for the whole regatta and that daily entries would not be allowed. Although we realize that this adversely affected a few crews, the consensus from competitor feedback was that this was a good change. Entries for 2008 will once again only be for the whole regatta. Class Zero will be racing all week.

Canting Keels

With only a small number of large boats with canting keels expected in 2008, it has been decided that to give them their own class is not justified but at the same time, racing canting keel boats against those with fixed keels is never satisfactory. It has therefore been decided that any boat over 14 metres overall with a canting keel will have to fix their keel amidships for entry to Skandia Cowes Week. They will then be eligible to apply for a new, lower IRC rating.

New Classes for 2008

The organizers are delighted to be able to offer racing for four additional classes this year. These are the J/80s, Beneteau 40.7s, ¼ tonners and the combined onDeck fleet of Farr 65s and Clipper 68s.

With the large number of variants within the Beneteau 40.7 fleet, it was decided to restrict this fleet to boats that comply with the requirements of the newly formed 40.7 class association. Other non-compliant 40.7s will be welcome to race within the normal IRC fleet.

The Artemis Challenge is back

Plans for the 2008 regatta are progressing well and, at this early stage, the organizers can already confirm that the Artemis Challenge at Skandia Cowes Week, will be held on Tuesday 5 August. The Artemis Challenge is a 50-mile sprint around the Isle of Wight held specifically and exclusively for Open 60 yachts. The race is hosted by Artemis Investment Management, one of the Britain's leading investment companies who are title sponsors of Artemis Ocean Racing, an IMOCA Open 60 campaign, and Business Club Partners with IMOCA, the International 60 feet Monohull Open Class Association.

Notice of Regatta

Entries for this year's Skandia Cowes Week will be open from 16 April. Please enter online by visiting www.skandiacowesweek.co.uk.

Skandia Cowes Week - www.skandiacowesweek.co.uk

Peta Stuart-Hunt
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