Swanning Around Cowes

Back in the day, when I used to write columns for Yachts and Yachting and Quokka.com (remember them? Quokka, I mean, Y&Y are still going...) I used to bang on about race committees getting their priorities straight.

If you’re running a big commercial event with lots of sponsorship money behind the event and boats, then you can put the competitors through all the hoops you like, so long as the sponsors get value. Or they won’t come back, and then you won’t have a regatta.

If you’re running a regatta for amateur sailors and owners, then they’re the customers, and you need to give them a good time. Or they won’t come back, and then you won’t have a regatta.

So I'd like the Royal Yacht Squadron to explain why - with a 25-30 knot breeze forecast the previous evening - they thought it necessary to get everyone up for a seven am start to the Swan European's round the Isle of Wight race. Only to then postpone it as we all staggered into the marina in the weak light of dawn, because - guess what? - it was too windy.

They followed this up by setting the final long beat of the last race of the regatta into the teeth of a foul tide, up several miles of the rocky island shore. Never mind the endless short tacking, I saw three boats go hard on the bricks - what a great way to end their week.

The weather makes it tough enough to drag people away from the Med to come and race in the Solent, we don't need to make it any harder.


Mark Chisnell ©