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Home / News / National Swallow 75th Anniversary Celebrations in Cowes.
Home / News / National Swallow 75th Anniversary Celebrations in Cowes.

National Swallow 75th Anniversary Celebrations in Cowes.

Published 16:47 on 20 Jul 2023

Cowes Classics Week 2023

Another glorious few days of racing! 26 boats joined the fun and this time Gwaihir did not have it all her own way. The breeze was generally up, there were a couple of halyard failures, but our Swallows held together well for some wet and bouncy beats and thrilling spinnaker legs. The Swallow Class was awarded the Queen Victoria Cup (1886) to mark our 75th anniversary also the Ratsey & Lapthorn trophy for the Spirit of Cowes Classics Week the pragmatic solution to Tuesdays disputed race results.

Gwaihir (Mike Wigmore. Charles Hyatt & Keith Bliss) repeated their win of last year but were pushed very hard to the final and eighth race by Osprey (Jeremy Sibthorp) and Swift (Andy Fitzgerald). 

We began with a pleasant Vernon Trophy passage race over to Cowes, won by Buccaneer with Ghost also finding the right lane to finish second. The tides did not seem to hold us back, the wind direction was kind, and we were in Cowes in good time.

Monday saw a SW wind in the mid-teens. Gwaihir swept away to win both with the usual suspects of Osprey, Swift. Skua and Spectre all pressing. 

The following day was interesting. The fleet finally got away at the third attempt under a U Flag, and after a couple of laps passed a RIB flying an S flag at a windward mark. Some then broke out the sandwiches and ran gently back only to find the CV apparently finishing the fleet at the bottom - but with no finishing records having been taken at the top. In effect protested itself and a sensible arrangement was eventually reached by compiling our own records of finishing order at the top mark, with Osprey first But Gwaihir had not excelled in the race which put pressure on for the rest of the series. Congratulations to Goosander for taking the round the cans race in the windy afternoon.

Windy Wednesday gave Gwaihir two more wins. Race 1 was short, the lunch break minimal, and the second race spinnaker reaches spectacular. Some boats did not come out to play as it remained manageable at 20-25 knots.

The leading bunch had all to play for on the final day. Gwaihir and Swift were both counting poor results and hoping to discard but could not afford any more poor races. Gwaihir won the first race with ease and sailed conservatively in the final race to win with 15 points, two ahead of Osprey, herself two ahead of Swift. It had been an exciting and close-fought series at all levels through the big fleet.

With the exception of the difficulty in Race 3 we were pleased with the race management. The start lines were tight and fair set courses were true and a good length and the second races took us round Solent cans, giving us opportunities for dramatic reaches, tidal tactics, and a quick return to Cowes.

The social scene was also excellent. Special mention must go the Swallow 75th celebration drinks at the Commodores House (thanks to Lucy and her team), and the daily tea and cakes at the RLYC were welcome after a hard day on the water.


Lets see if we can all get there again next year (8-12 July 2024).


Full results at: https://www.cowesclassicsweek....

Photos by Tim Jefferies


The National Swallow 75th Championships (or not!)

After a very spirited Cowes Classics Week (won by Mike Wigmore in "Gwaihir", who also collected the Queen Victoria Trophy in recognition of the Swallows' seventy-fifth anniversary) 28 entrants remained in Cowes to take part in their 75th anniversary Championships hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron. Alas by the intervening lay-day the storm clouds were brewing but did not halt the wonderful pre-championship dinner in the Castle, attended by 130 sailors and supporters PRO Tony Singer had flagged up the probability that Saturday's racing was at risk with forecasts of 50+ knots - which would have been fairly exciting even for a born-again 1948 Olympic Class! Saturday morning's confirmatory decision had a sad inevitability about it but hopes remained high that some high intensity racing on Sunday might still be possible. Saturday evening was yet another RYS entertainment hit - but with a slightly uncertain fleet sleeping somewhat nervously before a further decision about the Sunday racing. 

Sunday dawned bright but with a still storm-tossed Solent with gusts over 30+ knots which meant the second day's racing was also cancelled and the much travelled and much feted Swallow fleet headed back to Chichester Harbour with just their jibs up - and still virtually matched the full sail record for the passage!

The Swallow Class is greatly indebted to the RYS for their hospitality in these unfortunate circumstances and we look forward to a return visit in more clement weather. Meanwhile we are contemplating a substitute mini championship in 'home' waters outside Chichester Harbour. So, a great anniversary event ashore - but with zero racing - is consigned to the illustrious history of the Swallow Class.

Photos by Kirsty Bang

Last updated 13:27 on 26 January 2024

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