some boat news .................

Published 23rd May 2017

I must offer my most sincere appologies to Members - and perhaps particularly to visiting yachtsman to our British Classic Yacht Club website News page, where they must think they have inadvertently clicked on the B&Q Spring Garden Furniture Offer when confronted by a teak steamer, which in fairness, we could have got away with had it been adorning the afterdeck of an 86' S&S yawl.

So in an effort to consign this image to internet history, I have some more interesting and appropriate boat news update to push it down the page a bit.

Our Commodore rang me about something on Wednesday while he was driving down to the yard to oversee the launch of Cetewayo. They say timing is everything. On Sunday, Josephine and I made our usual trip to see Mum in her nursing home on a wooded headland just to the West of Fishbourne Creek. Through the woods, from her room she has a clear but narrow glimpse of Spithead between an Oak and a Corsican Pine. Just as we walked into her room, and I looked out of the window, Cetewayo stomped across this narrow view heading West. I had time to pick up the binos to double check, but by the time I had fumbled for my 'phone to take his selfie, she was gone. Well done David. She looked fantastic.

Rob Roy at The Sweathearts Regatta

I had been familiar with Rob Roy, a really lovely 56' yawl from 1956 - one of my dream boats. She has long been the scourge of the Caribbean, winning at Antigua and regularly cleaning up at The Sweatheart Regatta in the Tortolla. In the past she has had a number of successful bouts with Stormy Weather. When Pam and Brian Malcolm first had Rebecca of Vineyard Haven, and before she came to Europe in 2003, they entered The Sweatharts Regatta, and found themselves up against Rob Roy. The local yawl was heavily fancied against the upstart schooner in what became an absolute epic dual in classic windy sparkling Caribbean conditions. Crews worked hard in this nip and tuck contest, Rob Roy edging ahead on short beats with Rebecca reaching hard on the fetches at 10+ knots with fisherman set. It all came down to the beat home for the line with nothing between the boats, and in the last half a mile Rob Roy tacked out and Rebecca hugged the shore - to pip her at the post.

Rob Roy in Sicily

In 2006, the owners of Rob Roy sailed her to Europe, cruised the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden and all through the Baltic followed by the length and breadth of the Mediterranean. She is now in Siciliy, so Josephine and I went to see her last week. She was built in the UK and designed by Arthur Rob for a wealthy American yachtsman, and all the beautiful deck fittings that are familiar aboard Argyll, Stormy Weather, Josephine, Infanta and a host other American yachts call all be seen aboard Rob Roy. She is really really lovely, completely original above and below decks and beautifully built. And whilst the owner has fully maintained her physical structure, she now needs an update.

This is a real opportunity for this great yacht to be brought back to the UK and to continue to be an icon here. If you know someone (or indeed you are someone!) who is looking for a special yacht she could be the one!

Finally, I couldn't help noticing the largest yacht in the world is in the news, and it made me cautiously consider where we draw the line at Spirit of Tradition!

Worlds largest Yacht

Admiral BCYC.

Top of Page

some boat news .................

Published 10th May 2017

I cannot remember a better April for fitting out! It's been fantastic with no rain here on the Island for the whole month, and even now, at the end of the first week of May, still no rain. Whatever happened to April showers? So I hope everyone has been able to build up the varnish and get the topsides done.

I seem to have an inate need to fit out - like a salmon returning to the rivers of Scotland each year. Only trouble is, Infanta is in Largs, and will be based in Oban this Summer to cruise the Western Isles. So I have had to turn my attention to the teak garden furniture, two steamers, six director chairs and various tables!

Tim's Fitting Out

Being around Cowes a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by how there is a classic yacht presence now - unlike before the BCYC. Shantih looking a picture on her swinging mooring, Athena glinting in Medina Yard shed, Osborne smart and elegent on the E Cowes hammerhead, a launch party at Lallows as Easy Glider completes a refit, Polly Agatha ready to go in the Yacht Haven.

Earlier in the week, I came back down from London on the train with a friend of mine. His first EVER sail on a yacht was from Panama, across the Pacific to Hawai, Tahiti and on down to the Galapagos on a Swan. He was blown away by it. The train was busy, and we found seats and we were next to Thomas Board, owner of Frenesi! Between the three of us we swapped endless deep sea, ocean passage, crazy landfall. out of this world experiences - much to the quiet interest of a lot of grey faced commuters.

When I was a youngster in Yarmoth in the '60's, there was a very nice Fred Shepherd double ended ketch, about 50' called Heron II. And she lived in Yarmoth for decades, owned by someone in London, and used from time to time. A real gentlemens yacht, with a kindly doghouse and sweeping sheer, and always in nice condition. A few years ago I found myself wondering how she remained in the same ownership for such a long time. And then, about a year ago, she was no longer on the River Yar.

At the regatta last year, I had a brief chat to Aaron Ashton, Panerai Young Sailor of the year, and he told me he had bought a yacht called Heron II and taken her West to refit her. Recently I hear that Martin Ryan, the Commodore of the Classic Yacht Association of Australia, who brought a team to Cowes last year, was planning to bring a team this year from Melbourne, the Royal Sydney YC and two from New Zealand. He was proposing to charter a yacht for the regatta called Heron II.

Well well! So the BCYC and the Panerai Regatta your Membership and enthusiasm provides a vital platform for the future of our yachts, and garden furniture.

Admiral BCYC

Top of Page

Message from Sean McMillan

Published 27th April 2017

Looking out of my office window on a glorious spring day, the view before me is of some twenty or so large Dutch square riggers and trading schooners on their usual early season visit to Ipswich and the East Coast. Rafted up four or five deep and bustling with figures of all shape, sizes and ages, it is very redolent of the joyfully lively atmosphere at the British Classic Yacht Club Regatta held in July every year at Cowes – albeit there is a great deal more baggywrinkle in evidence here than at Cowes!!

Prompted by this sight, I have great pleasure in again inviting you to submit your application to participate in the 2017 Panerai British Classic Week to be held in Cowes from the 8th to the 15th July.

The format will remain much as last year but in line with feedback from previous regattas, the intention is to raise the kudos of some of the more social aspects of the regatta to the same status as the racing. Thus we are proposing to have awards for originality, concours condition, sportsmanship and similar. These are still being finalised for this year, but we hope that there will be a greater reflection of the importance and contribution of all the participants and not just the racing enthusiasts who get among the ‘chocolates’!

The Around the Island race remains as part of the points series with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in each class, with ‘round the cans’ racing for those who prefer not to go around. Such round the cans races that day will not qualify for the overall regatta series.

The cruising class will again be giving us a varied mix of venues and events taking them to all parts of the Solent and fascinating visits to shoreside places of interest – and possibly even a pub or two…

Panerai are once again our principle sponsors and we are grateful to them for their continuing support and high level of enthusiasm and commitment to the world of Classic Yachting, not just at Cowes, but at all the other Panerai regattas in the Mediterranean and the USA. We are also grateful to EFG who will again be sponsoring the Around the Island race.

The regatta office and management will again be in the capable hands of Mary Scott-Jackson and her ever-smiling staff. We are grateful to them for their quiet unflappable organisation, including co-ordinating an enhanced tracking system for this year to allow friends and families to follow the fortunes on the race course both in the marquee and online – in real time!

We look forward to seeing you in July.

With kind regards

Sean McMillan
Rear Commodore (Sailing) and Regatta Chairman. British Classic Yacht Club.

Top of Page

Leslie Burgess 1924-2017

Published 22nd February 2017

Leslie Burgess of Grayshott in Surrey passed away on Sunday 5th February aged 92. He had been with the club for more than 60 years and was an honorary life member. He joined in 1955 when the club was based in Beaver Hall. Subsequently a Vice-President, jointly in charge of running the club prior to the roles being changed to Commodore.

More ...

Top of Page

.... some Boat News

Published 5th December 2016

It cannot be disputed that we are living in a time of great change and potential upheaval. Many things which we thought we believed in and understood thirty years ago seemed to have changed in an inexorable tide of political movement, shifting ideas and beliefs to become weird and strange. Then just as unexpectedly, pressures across the world throw everything in a different direction and we are not where we thought we were, or even going where we thought we were going. For people wholly dependent upon measuring their stability and life through their political and social beliefs it must be like coming home one day to find their house in uproar after some burglars have ransacked it leaving their life in ruins.

As yachtsmen and sailors we have such a different perspective because sailing is never a constant. Although the tides are predictable, they are always different, as is the breeze in strength and direction, the weather systems shifting and changing. Making the passage tonight may be oily calm under power with the main gently slatting, tomorrow night - who knows. We are used to judging and deciding and thus managing all the variables that nature provides for us on the water.

In the past when facing change and upheaval on a destructive scale, whilst lying in the dark in bed, in my mind I would hoist the main, then the jib and let go the mooring and walk back to the cockpit. A slight backing of the headsail would bring her head around to port and I would watch the luff of the main start to fill and lift her forward. Nothing feels quite like a yacht. This incredibly crafted devise, hand built by previous generations with skill we struggle to replicate today. As she silently gathers way, the dinghy starts to chuckle astern. As the wind fills I adjust the sheets to relieve a bit of weather helm. Passing through the entrance, she starts to gently rise and fall in a slight sea sparkling in the sun. Away from the lee of the land she settles into a groove with an occasional passing sea lifting a light shimmering spray across the windward deck into my face and shooting green foam through the scuppers onto the lee deck. I watch each sea as it comes to meet us; each one the same but everyone different, and enjoy her movement and power though my feet and my hands. We should be on a compass course, but with sixty miles to go it doesn't really matter and I relax in the enjoyment of just sailing.

So if like everyone else the media and pundits are making you feel a bit Trumped by Brexit, or anything else for that matter, my advise is go for a sail - even if it is only in your head.

Tim Blackman
British Classic Yacht Club

Top of Page

Autumn Newsletter

Published 1st November 2016

Another summer of cruising and racing has now finished, with typically British weather. We were fortunate to have a perfect week for our annual Regatta which enjoyed enthusiastic support from 60 entries which is an outstanding result after the huge turnout in 2015. There were 7 British 8Metres at the Regatta which is the biggest gathering of these lovely yachts since the 30s. The classic yacht clubs of Australia and New Zealand chartered three identical yachts and had close racing within Class 2. Three S&S One Tonners entered and the cruiser racers are enjoying support. Classic Boat included a special supplement in their August edition which featured a summary of all the yachts entered. Classic yachts are attracting owners who appreciate the beauty and style of our boats and new members continue to join with the total of active yachts at around 80.

Our members continue to update and upgrade their yachts and this year Charm of Rhu had a major refit. Lady of Hamford underwent a lengthy rebuild. Cetewayo had a new taller mast and Bojar sported an entirely new sail wardrobe. The standard of finish on the yachts at the Regatta has never been higher and attracted a steady stream of visitors to admire the spectacle of so many beautiful yachts assembled in the marina. The generous support of Panerai enables us to provide what is widely regarded as the best Regatta in the country. This year the level of hospitality in the marquee was better than ever and the Race management by RYS provided some memorable courses. EFG continues to sponsor the Round the Island Race and Zhik has once again contributed prizes. We are fortunate to have such good sponsors. As the youngest yacht club in Britain and possibly the smallest we have achieved a great deal in the 15 years since out first gathering in 2002. Most members of the BCYC are also members of other clubs and we are conscious of the need to provide additional activities for them. To this end we have encouraged members in local areas to keep in touch and arrange impromptu events together. There is an active group in Chichester Harbour and Giovanni Belgrano, not content with sailing indecently quickly, has also been active encouraging Central Solent based yachts to meet up for convivial times afloat or at anchor. Jonathan Dyke in Suffolk has organized an excellent Regatta in June, at Harwich for many years, so it’s not just be about the racing at Cowes in July.

We hope that you will attend the AGM and contribute your opinions on what direction you feel the Club should be taking. The Committee spend considerable time attempting to provide a good platform for our members to enjoy their yachts and we are always receptive to fresh thinking. The Annual Dinner is an occasion to relax and catch up with crew and sailing friends. It would be good to see you there.

Rufus Gilday

Top of Page

Solent Gathering

Published 14th September 2016
Solent Gathering

The Lymington weekend was undermined by some dreadful weather on Saturday and members wisely stayed ashore or on their moorings.

Sunday however was a beautiful day and four yachts, Bojar, Cetewayo, Whooper and Zoom cruised to the Beaulieu River for an afternoon raft up. A few hours were spent chatting and enjoying a light lunch before having a sparkling sail back to Lymington, Cowes and Hamble.

It was good to see Giovanni afloat after his health scare in August. If any of you wish to meet up on a nice day, contact Giovanni who will pass the word. It’s lovely to be able to take advantage of a nice day to get afloat with friends.

Best wishes


Top of Page


Published 28th July 2016

The 2016 Regatta marked the 15th anniversary of the founding of the British Classic Yacht Club in 2002 when 10 yachts came to the starting line. This year over 60 yachts took place of which 40 were owned by BCYC members, There were visitors from Australia, New Zealand, France and Holland. and the racing was run in sunshine and with a variety of winds ranging from under 5 knts to a stiff breeze. The continued generous sponsorship of Panerai ensured stylish hospitality ashore in the elegant Lounge.

The week started with the entire fleet forming up for a parade of sail to be saluted by the RYS. The EFG Round the Island race was sailed by 36 yachts on the traditional Americas Cup clockwise course and line honours went to Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford, with Estrella taking the handicap prize.

The overall winner of the week was Govanni Belgrano aboard Whooper who last year won from Class 3 and despite being promoted to Class 2 repeated the feat again this year. The clear winners in Class were Flight of Ufford in Class 1, Whooper in Class 2 and Mikado in Class 3 while Cereste just edged out Estrella in Class 4. The 6 M class was won by St Kitts, while Saskia dominated the 8s which had seven British yachts competing which is the largest British fleet since the 30s. Full details of daily and overall results can be found on the Regatta website.

The presence of a Blue Ribbon Protest Committee under Brian Willis so overawed the competitors that not a single protest was lodged all week. An innovation for this year was to have trackers fitted to each yacht to enable live coverage of the racing. This was especially popular down under as it enabled the supporters back home to follow the racing between the Aussies and Kiwis.

Race management by the Royal Yacht Squadron provided well judged starts and well chosen courses , culminating in a glorious shy reach home on the final leg of the last race which saw the entire fleet charging across the Solent in bright sunshine with spinnakers set. It was a spectacular end to a wonderful week.

Many thanks to all our members and visitors who worked so diligently to prepare their vessels for the week. The standard of finish gets better each year and this ensures continued support for our lovely yachts.

Enjoy the rest of the summer, and we hope to see you in 2017.


Top of Page

Suffolk Yacht Harbour Autumn Classic Regatta

Published 8th August 2016

Click for more information about the Suffolk Yacht Harbour Autumn Classic Regatta

Top of Page

................ some boat news

Published 13th July 2016

With the countdown to the regatta well under way, and the details being sent out to the competitors, it is getting really exciting. I find myself awake in the small hours working out how to improve the tack-line system for the running mizzen staysail and the sheeting arrangments for the reaching spinnaker staysail. These and many other details do need to be sorted this week, ready for what is going to be an extremely competitive event.

They say a change is as good as a rest, and the prospect of a week off work is always great - especially to be on the boat. But it is true to say that the regatta week is action packed on and off the water; eight races across just six days and extensive jolification in the company of Panerai, the beer tent and other social events. However, there is now a viable alternative, as all the yachts will be fitted with trackers, so it should be possible to stay in the beer tent all day watching the progress of the racing on a screen!! thereby keeping warm and dry.

What is sometimes difficult to appreciate, is just how demanding Solent racing is. In mid June, Josephine and I raced aboard Argyll at the Panerai Challenge Regatta at Argentario. We were there a week, 25 degrees and sparkling blue waters, and with no tide we managed to cram in three races around a triangular course - and then all piled into the Panerai Tent every day. Last weekend, at the Dartmouth Classic Regatta, wet and cold, force 5 - 6, three races were crammed into the two days - and then we piled into the Royal Dart YC. So we are now looking into a rotation plan for our crew list of 26 to so that any one crew member only has to do the optimum 3 races - thereby racing with relatively fresh crew all the time.

Well Infanta is going to need some sort of advantageous edge as I have just looked at the class splits. and through a fluke of increased slightly lower rating yachts, our class 2 contains Cetewayo as well as Whooper - these mighty racing icons, which we can only beat if either or both make a couple of massive errors on the course. So this is where my idea to have a large rotating fresh crew comes into play . What do you think? No..... you're probably right!

Infanta is unlikely to win Class 2 - but here are some definates: The racing will be spectacular and varied; courses both challenging and satisfying. Whether round the cans or Round the Island, all the boats will look beautiful, and for this week, style and class moves back into Cowes reminiscent of the most influential years of yachting history. Add to this socials as varied as Canapes at the Squadron to the (in)Famous BCYC Dock Party makes this a week not to be missed. If you have an opportunity to visit, come and say "Hello"


Top of Page

BCYC Yachts enjoy close racing in RTI Race

Published 13th July 2016

The JPMorgan Round the Island Race was run in breezy conditions this year. In the IRC division the final result saw last years Roman Bowl winner Giovanni Belgrano and his team on Whooper just edge out David Murrin aboard his turbocharged Cetewyo by two minutes after 7 hours hours of close racing.

In the ISC Classics division. Two new members, Jeremy John on Matambu and David Butcher with Lady of Hamford, which was freshly launched after a lengthy refit on the East coast, had an epic battle with Matambu edging out David by a scant twenty seconds after 8 hours Just behind them there was an even closer tussle between Zahir and Simon Payne on Damian B. With Zahir slipping home 18 seconds ahead.

This augers well for good racing in the forthcoming Panerai BCYC Regatta in Cowes.


Top of Page

Some Boat News

Published 11th April 2016

You may remember on the front of Classic Boat in February 2015, the "Three Sisters", being three matched classic Morgan Giles designed sloops being made ready for charter by enterprising David Foster (nee Quiver V). As a guest at a Committee Meeting of the Classic Yacht Association of Australia in Melbourne a couple of weeks later, and having spoken to David first, I presented the idea that the C.Y.A.A. Members might like to charter one or two of these yachts to join us at the Panerai BCYC in Cowes that Summer. Particularly as 2015 would be a busy year with the RYS Bicentennial Regatta too.

After due consideration, they came back to say that they could not logistially get sorted for 2015, but would look seriously at 2016!

As a guest at a Committee Meeting of the Classic Yacht Association of Australia in Melbourne in February 2016, the Committee presented to me their proposal that they would have two Australian teams and one New Zealand team to charter the fleet of Morgan Giles' for the Panerai BCYC Regatta this Summer. About twenty five of the leading classic yachtsmen and crews from both the Classic Yacht Associations of Australia and New Zealand will be joining us to race in The Solent.

For the Australians, Commodore of the CYAA, Martin Ryan, has headed up this initiative. He owns Mercedes III, which in 1967 was one of the yachts in the Australian fleet which won the Admirals Cup that year. Doug Shields is on the syndicate which brough Kookaburra(12M) to the Americas Cup Jubilee in 2001 and is also a leader in the syndicate which restored and races the William Fife III Syonara.

Mercedes IIIMercedes III


For New Zealand, Iain Valentine and Tony Blake are heading the team. They are Trustees and skippers for two of New Zealands iconic Logan yachts, Thelma (1898), and Waitangi (1894) and bring with them a strong team full of classic yacht expertise.

Waitangi and ThelmaWaitangi and Thelma

There is one advantage to Australia being a long way away, and that is that they have a glorious Summer while we are struggling through a miserable Winter. I hope this initiative may open doors to a close association for BCYC with the CYAA and CYANZ, because if you thought you might like to do some classic yacht sailing and racing next November at the combined Regatta in Melboure, NOW would be a good time to start thinking about it, as I hope to be able to bring forward a proposal on that.

As you might imagine, the teams are on a high level of antisipation for their arrival in Cowes, and it adds a further fantastic International edge to the Panerai BCYC Regatta.

I said to Martin Ryan, “Well, I'm sure you will all have a very nice time”, “Have a nice time???” he glared, “I like your sentiment Tim, but we're coming to WIN”

Tim Blackman

Top of Page

Spring News

Published 18th March 2016

Tim Blackman spent some time in Oz, this winter and has assisted the Classic Yacht Associations of Australia and New Zealand to enter our Regatta with the three identical Morgan Giles Cruiser Racers from David Foster’s Classic Charters. This is an exciting international development and we will give them a warm welcome. This also opens up the possibility for BCYC members to do some cruising or racing in Australian waters. Please check the website for details.

News From the Yards: At Suffolk Yacht Harbour, Charm of Rhu is having a quick makeover and plans to be back afloat in the Spring. Cayenne is undergoing a major refit with a planned launch later this summer. Further up the East coast at Southwold, new member, Lady of Hamford, a Buchanan Sloop ,will be launched in the spring after an extensive refurbishment. On the South Coast, Mirelle will be out of the water this season for the installation of a new interior.

Cruising Update: Brian Gascoigne intends to enter the Plymouth to La Rochelle event and spend the summer in Brittany. Martin and Louise Cooper are planning an early cruise to the Baltic, on but hope to be back in Cowes for the Regatta. Please forward any news of plans that you have for cruising this summer.

Cruising Captains: This year Giovanni Belgrano ( Whooper )will act as co coordinator for The Solent and Martin Thomas (Charm of Rhu ) will liaise within Chichester Harbour. James Kelman is looking after the East Coast. We hope that this will result in more fun afloat, outside the Regatta events. There will be an East Coast Dinner in Ipswich on April 9th.

Regatta Update. In addition the fleet from Down Under, Mary Scott-Jackson at the Regatta Office has early indications of interest from Belgium and Holland – are we still permitted to refer to them as the “ Low Countries” ? – including a modern edition of Lutine -

We await warmer weather to get cracking on Spring fitting out, and wish you all well

In that most enjoyable of tasks, anti fouling.


Top of Page

Suffolk Yacht Harbour Classic Regatta

Published 25th January 2016
Suffold Harbour Classic Regatta 2016

Top of Page

Annual General Meeting and Dinner

Published 9th December 2015

Almost 60 members and guests representing 25 Yachts attended the AGM at the Royal Thames Yacht Club. The highlights of the Meeting were a heartfelt tribute by Ray Plant to Tim Bennett and the announcement of a new Regatta award in Tim’s Name. Ray also announced that he will be standing down as Rear Commodore to spend more time with his boat. The meeting expressed their appreciation for Ray’s many years on the Committee. Giovanni Belgrano has agreed to join as Cruising supremo. The decision to invite suitable Classic Motor Yachts to attend our Regatta was reviewed and met with general approval. Full details of the meeting will be posted on the website.

Before the dinner members enjoyed a champagne reception courtesy of sponsors EFG. The dinner was a very convivial evening which afterwards carried on into the small hours as some members enjoyed the opportunity for al fresco cigars on the terrace and important discussions about yachting at the bar.

BCYC wishes all our members and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Top of Page

.......some Fastnet Boat News

Published 16th August 2015

At 12.20pm today, 71 yachts in Class 4 start the Fastnet Race, including the yawls Infanta (Philip Rhodes) , Argyll, Stormy Weather and Dorade (all Sparkman and Stephens) in what are predicted to be light conditions. Infanta, Argyll, and Stormy Weather are team BCYC - racing for the Martin Illingworth Trophy Infanta is the smallest of the yawls and during Panerai BCYC week and the following RYS Bicetennial Week, we have already been testing each other out! In the first week, Stormy edged ahead and Argyll pipped Infanta by just one point. Dorade sat the week out having just raced across the pond. In RYS Week, again Stormy finished ahead but Infanta managed to keep both Argyll and Dorade behind her.

Dorade won the Fastnet Race in 1931 and 1933 and Stormy Weather won in 1935 so it is with great excitment that we enter the race in such illustrious company. We didn't feel quite so illustrious during this preparation week when we had to haul out to re-caulk seams at the forward end at the stem after the heavy conditions during the regattas - until we were chocked up in the yard next to Stormy who was having the same treatment!

Of course, the yawls are great down wind rigs which is not much cop in a race which traditionally is up wind for 75% of the course. However - this year looks like we might get lucky with (albeit light) NE breeze to start out with - but who knows. Infanta takes a rating hit for preferring a symetric spinnaker whilst the others run asymetrics. But I quite like to sail direct from A to B rather than via X, Y and Z. We all have a sail wardrobe full of mizzen staysails - viewed by many (especially helsmen) as tiresome little devises, but when you get good at them, they can add a knot. This year, we added a spinnaker staysail (or cheater) which if you haven't seen one, is a short stuby genoa shaped headsail which sets at the inner forestay under the spinnaker. Infanta loves it and seems to surge along when it is set.

You can track our progress is the race, search Rolex Fastnet Tracking. Dorade and Stormy rate 1.003, Argyll .994 and Infanta .948, so cut us a bit of slack if we are getting left behind!!

Top of Page

Farewell to Tim Bennett

Published 10th August 2015

Members will be sad to learn that Tim Bennett has passed away after a brave battle against cancer. Tim and Ronnie were early and enthusiastic members of the BCYC. Aboard their beloved yacht Droleen they were a familiar and cheery couple at Club events over the years.

Their many friends wish Ronnie well.

Top of Page

A Regatta to Remember

Published 10th August 2015

Our 2015 summer Regatta at Cowes was a festival of lovely Classic yachts with close, and often , unforgettable racing. Almost 80 yachts attended the week of fresh winds and blue skies, with only one day of monsoon weather. The fleet included Sumurun and Mariquita who duelled for honours in the Big class, to closely fought battles in the traditional classes between our members and visitors. Under the race management of RYS The courses were mostly run in the western Solent with starts from the Squadron line providing spectacular racing that featured all fleets short tacking up the green. Inevitably some found the bottom and acted as a reminder to the oncoming yachts that it does get shallow. Despite the melee of large and small yachts racing in very close quarters, no significant contact took place. This was due to impressive boat handling skills as the smallest yachts, hugged the shallows to avoid the large pointed bows of the 8 Metre fleet charging through the yachts of Class 3 and 4. “ water please” was a frequent cry and after 20 or more brutal tacks in the 30 minutes it took to get past Gurnard it was a relief to finally settle down on a tack of more than three minutes duration.

Over 50 BCYC members attended the Regatta and these included several of our new members including Damian B owned by Simon Payne who is a director of our new supporting sponsor Zhik and James Youngman with his recently acquired Lutine. There were a number of yachts crewed by young families and it was refreshing to see the youngsters on the dock. The Panerai Lounge was as elegant and welcoming as ever and the social events were well attended. The Tuesday night dock party and open boat evening was a huge success fuelled by liberal helpings of Mount Gay Rum. The opportunity to visit the yachts is one that makes our regatta special, and many took advantage of the chance to have a look inside their favourite yachts and to meet the owners and crew. Racing was close across all the classes and breezy conditions made for excellent racing in the tricky tidal waters of the Solent. The results and daily write ups are available on the Regatta page of the website.

The prizegiving hosted as ever by our Admiral Tim Blackman was a relaxed and stylish end to a marvellous week. Visiting BCYC member Griff delivered an impromptu address on the delights and pitfalls of owning and racing a Classic. Many thanks to all the members who attended the Regatta and helped to make it such as success. We wish you happy cruising for the rest of the summer, and hope to see some of you in Lymington in Mid September for the 2nd BCYC Classics Weekend.


Top of Page

...... some Boat News

Published 29th June 2015

Not so long ago, fifteen years, even in Cowes ones heart would leap at the incredibly rare sight of a well maintained varnished mast in the harbour, causing one to nip down to the marina to see who was passing through fleetingly on passage to distant parts.

What an impact our club and our annual regatta has had on this scene. Last Thursday evening I shifted INFANTA off the public pontoon berth to make way for the Round the Island hoards to moor up six deep to await their annual cavalcade. Moored across the harbour from INFANTA, the immaculate 8M ATHENA and across the pontoon from her, the powerful steel hull of ATLANTIS awaits patiently for July. And there, in East Cowes marina another 8M OSBORNE, a William Fife from the 1930's, built for the British royal family and just bought in Spain to be returned to the UK - and to join BCYC.

Behind me now the elegant mast of FOGLIO, and to port the un-mistakable stick of WHOOPER in Sheperds Wharf, joined by the powerful and equally un-mistakable rig of STORMY WEATHER looking stunning. If all this was not enough, I casually motored past the two amazing schooners, CORAL of COWES and ELENORA.

So even three weeks before the BCYC Regatta, the charisma of the harbour is elevating and the expectation is growing for what is to be a truly remarkable regatta.

Mr Hall has caused INFANTA to look particularly good this year and she has already participated in the Royal Yacht Squadron club Regatta. At one of the drinks parties, I was able to speak the Squadron Flag Officer liaising with Sean McMillan over the two regattas, and took the opportunity to thank him for the Squadron invitation extended to any yacht participating at BCYC to then enter the Squadron Bicentennial Regatta the following week. This is an incredible accolade for our Member Yachts and our Club. He replied that there are three great things about the BCYC:

Firstly, seeing the fleet of yachts reminds him of yacht racing when he was a young man.

Secondly, by and large, the owners are very nice people.

Thirdly, they know how to sail their yachts.

Driving on to the quay to catch a ferry at Yarmouth the other day, my heart leapt at the incredibly rare sight of a well maintained varnished mast in the harbour!! With a few minutes to spare, I went down to the pontoon and met the new owner of LUTINE, seconded his BCYC Membership application, and gave a few tips on getting her IRC up to date. So this British Yachting Icon will once again line up with our fleet in July! Where are SCEPTRE, BLOODHOUND and DRUMBEAT I wonder?

Top of Page

Record Entry for Panerai British Classic Week 2015

Published 29th June 2015

With just under a month to go the entry list has topped 70 with famous visitors from the US and the Med, as well as some familiar names from France. Over 50 members of BCYC have entered which is a remarkable turnout and the week will be the biggest festival of Classics since the America’s Cup Jubilee in 2001. A number of our members will be racing in the Channel Regatta the week before our Regatta and will sail directly back from France to join us. Several of our members have taken advantage of the invitation from RYS to join in their 200th Anniversary Regatta which immediately follows on from ours. Together with the popular Taittinger Weekend in Yarmouth the opportunity for non stop Classic Yacht racing afloat and fun ashore has never been better.

Four BIG BOATS have entered our regatta: Mighty Eleonora, historic Sumurun, the beautiful Mariquita, and the elegant Coral. Mariquita and Coral have joined the Club and are a welcome addition to our growing list of beautiful, and much loved yachts. In addition there will be a wonderful fleet of S & S Yawls including the first appearance in UK waters of Griff with Argyll, Stormy Weather, Tomahawk, and Laughing Gull. There will also be several 8 Metres and a very competitive Q class Jour de Fete from the Med.

This will be a wonderful opportunity to see all these lovely yachts together in the Yacht Haven and racing on the Solent.

On the East Coast Jonathan Dyke organized another very successful Classics weekend with 48 yachts enjoying two day of excellent racing off Harwich. Entries are now open for the second Lymington Classics September 12th / 13th which promises to build on the excellent platform established last year.

The long overdue British summer has finally arrived and we wish you all good sailing and are eagerly looking forward to seeing many of you in Cowes.


Top of Page

Whooper and Giovanni Win the RTI Gold Roman Bowl

Published 29th June 2015

Photo courtesy of Patrick Eden

Giovanni Belgrano stamped his authority on the Island Sailing Club’s JP Morgan Round The Island Race on Saturday. Not only did he win the newly created trophy for the top BCYC yacht in the IRC class but he went on to take the overall prize on handicap. Whooper had previously won the Bowl in 2004. Last year Whooper won the overall prize at our Panerai British Classic Week This shows just how competitive his well prepared 1939 Laurent Giles yacht is in his expert hands. A total of 12 BCYC yachts took part in the Round the Island Race this year.

Top of Page

...... some Boat News

Published 13th March 2015

They said “We would not see the like again”

In 2001, the Americas Cup Jubilee Regatta (ACJ) caught many by surprise by its‘ sheer size and the coming together of so many classics and big yachts in the Solent, and was thought to be a unique one off.

It was this event which inspired David Murrin and me to found the BCYC, to bring together and to establish a permanent classic fleet to protect the history and the future of our yachts. And it was in its first year, 2002, when I managed to pull together the first BCYC Regatta in Cowes with just 10 yachts. Yet our dream was that this Club and the Regatta would build and build as a centre piece to the Cowes Season and Classic Yachting in Northern Europe and be one of the great classic yacht regattas on the world stage.

So for 2015, between 18th July and 31st July the BCYC Regatta running back to back with the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentennial Regatta (BIC) give two un paralleled weeks of classic yachting which is going to produce a fantastic spectacle. You may not remember, but the ACJ Regatta comprised just 200 yachts; 100 classics and 100 moderns. This could be surpassed this year.

The BIC is being run in conjunction with the New York Yacht Club (as was the ACJ) There is a Trans-Atlantic feeder race bringing yachts from the US, arriving during the week before BCYC. Our Regatta team is liaising with the RYS to ensure that all visiting eligible yachts are invited to participate in BCYC ahead of the BIC.

The wonderful Westward Cup runs June 14th – 16th inc for which a number of Big Class classics will compete, bringing these big yachts to the Solent ahead of the Regattas in July. Up to five J Class will be racing during the BIC and limbering up the previous week during BCYC.

The Fastnet race scheduled at the end of Cowes week on Sunday 16th August has a classic class this year in recognition of this great Classics Year bringing the unique fleet of S&S yawls to Cowes and BCYC; Argyl, Dorade, Stormy Weather, Tomahawk, Cometa.

If all this was not enough, for four days during the BCYC Regatta, there will be the first international Americas Cup trials in the Solent on July 23rd — 26th.

So while you‘re wondering whether to re-varnish the hatches or not, or if the sail covers need washing my advice is DO IT — your yacht will be in the centre of the World’s biggest most photographed and best regatta of 2015, and not just classics but big modern superyachts and impressive support ships.

They said “We would not see the like again”, but it is coming this year, so get ready to come to Cowes and join the BCYC fleet. If you would prefer not to race, come in the cruising class and just enjoy and be part of this incredible fortnight. Let’s top an historical 100 entries for BCYC this year!

Top of Page

SYH Classic Regatta

Published 13th March 2015

Click for more details.

Top of Page

Winter Newsletter

Published 2nd February 2015


The planning for our Panerai Regatta in July is well advanced. Sean and Mary have been working with RYS who will once again run the racing. The format is broadly similar to last year with an inshore race on Sunday followed by the opening reception at The Squadron. The Round the Island race will be run on Monday and will revert to a stand alone event, sponsored by EFG, who generously continue to support us. In recognition of the effort put in by those who make the commitment to race around the Island, we will be awarding prizes galore for overall and class results.

We have already had interest in the Regatta from overseas and we are hoping to welcome some famous yachts to Cowes, including Mariquita and Argyl

New this year, on June 6/7 will be an event run jointly with the Royal London, which will have both shore based and racing elements. It should be an ideal opportunity for our many Solent based members to refresh their appetite for racing in a safe and friendly fashion ( and that's official ) There will be a dinner at the London on Saturday, so look out for details on the web.

The East Coast Classic weekend to be held on June 20/21 will be generously organized by Jonathan Dyke at Suffolk Yacht Harbour now in it's 14th season it will provide spirited racing and fun ashore.

Our Commodore has finally persuaded the powers that be, to have a Classics division for the RTI on June 27th and we will have special awards for BCYC yachts which race with distinction, so please tell us if you are competing.

The Channel Regatta will be held this year and a number of our members intend to participate. Andrew Pearson is co-ordinating the passage races and has a cunning plan to get our Yachts back from France in time to enjoy the Panerai Regatta. If you intend to enter please contact Andrew.

The Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary Regatta follows on immediately after our BCYC Panerai week. For those of you who have not been invited, the Taittinger weekend at Yarmouth is a fun Regatta, and extends both the racing and liver damage for two more days.

There is a rumour that Cowes Week will have a Classic division

In September the 2nd Lymington Classics weekend will be run on the 12th /13th and thanks to the enthusiasm of the RyLym and the support of the Yacht Haven it promises to be bigger and even better. Do make plans to be there.

Our AGM and annual Dinner will wrap up the season on Friday November 20th

Please remember to send in your subscriptions, if you have not already done so.

The entry for the Panerai Regatta will open in early March, but do let Mary know before then if you are intending to enter so she can keep you advised.

You will shortly be receiving an email from me with the new front page of your Yachts entry on the website. Please review this as we intend to use it for the Regatta Program which will contain details of the Yachts which have entered. It could also form the basis for a more formal printed register of our Yachts.

While the cold winter winds still blow, some of you are sailing on warm Blue water, others are up an alp. Our yachts are tucked up ashore or snug in a marina awaiting the arrival of Spring and the joys of Fitting Out, not to confused with that most worrying aspect of wooden yachts, Taking Up. Please look at the website for details of the all events taking place this season

Roll on Spring

Rufus Gilday
Secretary BCYC

Top of Page

East Coast Supper

Published 6th February 2015

On the last day of January, the hardly souls of the BCYC East Coast group battled through sleet and snow storms to Ipswich Haven Marina, for an off-season informal supper. We achieved a quorum of six of the eight BCYC east coast residents in attendance - Caressa, Cereste, Chamois, Croix des Gardes, Flight of Ufford and Gulvain. James Kelman had arranged a superb supper at The Last Anchor and it proved a particularly friendly and sociable gathering, a chance to share tales of winter lay-ups and plans for the next season. As the wine flowed, sailing techniques and racing tactics were divulged, and we also discovered that many of us share a passion for classic cars as well as yachts. We had the chance to discuss plans for a spring cruise, with requests for it to be somewhere "not too shallow" from Flight of Ufford, but as Gulvain's draft trumps the rest of us by far (2,9m!), Sean needn't worry with his mere 2.2m draft.

We next plan to meet some weekend before the first East Coast Classic Regatta for such a cruise or an informal race in company, followed by an evening supper, preferably with plenty of water under our keels!

Sarah Kelman

Top of Page