Award winning performances at Cowes Week 2023

13 August, 2023

Our students mixed with the best in the world again at Cowes Week 2023, and came away with silverware.

The photo above shows 23 ft Riot racing hard past the ultimate IRC0 champions, Dark’n’Stormy. It sums up what we’re all about.

This year, we entered two of our own crews on Riot (in the IRC7 class) and Palaver (in the Etchells). We were also delighted to have students on board other yachts, from the traditional – but cut-throat competitive – Folkboats to the pacy FarEast 28s.

Riot was raced by our junior crew of Corneille, Felipe and Kyle. They were joined by older students Azat and Seun, to provide some experience round Cowes Week’s busy water. We were thrilled that M7 Real Estate joined us to sponsor Riot this year.

The team learned fast. On the first day, Saturday, they built a good position in strong winds, overtaking many higher rated Sonatas. But as the wind rose above 25 knots, we made the tough call to retire, along with many others. It’s always got to be safety first.

As the week progressed, so did Riot’s performance. On the final day they finished an impressive 4th out of 17, an amazing achievement. It has thoroughly motivated them to prepare for their next race, round the Nab Tower on 9th September.

The performance of our senior boys on Palaver, in the Etchells, was nothing short of extraordinary. They were also bouyed up by Red SP’s generous sponsorship through the week.

In tough conditions, right from the start of the week, they were challenging for the lead against world class competition. Early on, a blown out spinnaker cost them a top place. But North Sails moved mountains to get a new sail out to them. They continued the very tight fleet racing up and down the Solent against world champions and Olympians, in the end coming away with an exceptional 3rd place.

As the minutes ticked by after the finish, news came through that Kai, on the Etchells, was the highest placed Under 25 helm in the entire regatta – winning the Musto Young Skipper Trophy! This is a massive achievement for a 17 year old.

In addition, Christopher-Joel was awarded the inaugural Cowes Week Youth Trophy. This award was created to recognise outstanding commitment and achievement. And Christoper-Joel’s commitment couldn’t be better summed up by his route to Cowes this year: starting with a Day Skipper course, then immediately on to the internationally renowned Rolex Fastnet Race before straight on to compete at Cowes!

We couldn’t be more proud of both Kai and Christopher-Joel. Their awards are amazing recognition of everything we strive for, and show just how much young people from inner city backgrounds can achieve with the right opportunity.

We were also delighted to lend a hand to another charity, Autism on the Water, who sailed our flagship Scaramouche throughout Cowes Week. They didn’t race but 22 people with autism took to the water in among all the action.

Thank you very much again to everyone who has helped make these incredible performances possible. We really appreciate the support of our sponsors, donors and all our friends in the sailing community. It’s a wonderful team effort.

See you on the water soon!

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