Classics race in Solent Tuesday-Friday

The first of four days of Westward Cup racing off Cowes begins tomorrow (Tuesday 6 July) as four of the most beautiful Big Class classic yachts will be racing against each other competing to win the inaugural trophy.

The Regatta has been organised by three of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) and two partner Clubs, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) and Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) and in collaboration with Boat International Media.

Depending on the weather conditions, the schedule may include a race around the Isle of Wight.

With the advent of 21st century tracking technology introducing yacht racing to a far larger, global audience, armchair enthusiasts will be able to follow the yachts’ progress online
at as they sail their courses each day as each boat will carry a Yellowbrick Tracking device.

History in the making
The schooner Westward was launched on March 31, 1910, as hull number 692 at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA.
She was designed by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, the “Wizard of Bristol”, the designer of the America’s Cup defenders that turned back all six challenges from 1893 to 1920.

Westward was arguably one of the most famous and best-known racing schooners in the world. Less than a month after her launch, she sailed to Europe to challenge the world’s fastest schooners racing in the regattas in England and Germany. With Charlie Barr at the helm and him being one of the finest racing skippers in the world, she took first place in all eleven starts during her first season.

In the following years, and especially during the last eleven years of her racing career (1924 – 1935) under the ownership of Mr. T.B. Davis, she raced successfully against the leading yachts of the era, including King George V’s cutter Britannia. According to the will of T.B. Davis, she was scuttled in 1947 in the English Channel, near the spot where Britannia was sunk in 1935 according to the will of King George V.

Eleonora launched
On March 31, 2000, exactly 90 years after Westward was launched, Eleonora was launched in the Netherlands. A true replica of Westward, Eleonora has exactly the same lines and was built using the same materials and on the basis of the original Westward drawings available at the Hart Nautical Collection of MIT Museum in Boston, USA.

Today, Eleonora perpetuates the spirit of Westward, as she cruises with her owners and charter guests and successfully races in classic regattas in Europe, the Caribbean, and the US. 

As long as the weather gods play fair, the following four Big Class yachts will be on the historic Royal Yacht Squadron start line on Tuesday:

ELEONORA Built in Holland at Van der Graaf Shipyard in steel, she was launched 90 years to the day of Westward’s launch, on 31 March 2000. Since then, she has been a regular and successful competitor on the Classic yacht circuit. Superbly fitted out in mahogany, with period details, she has two doubles and one twin stateroom and a full-beam owner’s stateroom aft.

LOA 49.5m (160ft)

LWL 29.3m (96ft 1in)

Beam 8.2m (27ft 1in)

Draught 5.2m (17ft 1in)

Sail area 1,115m2 (12,000ft2)

Displacement 214 tons

MARIQUITA Mariquita (Spanish for ‘ladybird’) is the sole survivor of the 19 Metre Class, whose racing career flourished for two brief seasons before the First World War. Designed and built by William Fife at his Fairlie yard in 1911, Mariquita along with Corona, Norada (Nicholson) and Octavia thrilled the racing public from Kiel to the Clyde, where they arrived having braved a North sea gale. After the collapse of the class, Mariquita went cruising and eventually, minus her keel and rig, became a houseboat at Pin Mill, Suffolk. She was rediscovered in 1991 by William Collier, and restored on the Hamble by Fairlie Restorations in 2004. A winner at Imperia she attended the Fife gathering on the Clyde in 2008.

LOA 38.1m (125ft)

LWL 20.1m (66ft)

Beam 5.3m (17ft 4in)

Draught 3.7m (12ft)

Sail area 585m2 (6,260ft2)

Displacement 79 tons

MARIETTE Built in 1915, Mariette was designed by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff for J Frederick Brown of Boston, a successful wool merchant, who raced and cruised her along the North and Shore Shores of Boston from 1916 to 1927. Renamed Cleopatra’s Barge under Francis K Crowninshield’s ownership, she was requisitioned by the American Navy during the war and declined thereafter. She was brought over to Europe in 1975 and underwent various major refits in 1980 and again in 1995. Thomas Perkins of San Francisco is credited with restoring her to her glorious Gaff rigged specification. Mariette is a regular and successful competitor in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and European classic events.

LOA 42.06m (138ft)

LWL 24.38m (80ft)

Beam 7.19m (23ft 7in)

Draught 4.8m (15ft 9in)

Sail area 750m2 (8,060ft2)

Displacement 165 tons

TUIGA Tuiga was built in 1909 for the Duke of Medinacelli, who was a friend to the King of Spain, and designed identically to the King’s yacht, Hispania. This was so that they could then race on equal terms against each other. However, Tuiga collected a long line of second places allowing rumours to spread that indicated the Duke was ‘holding back’ so as not to beat the King and cause an embarrassing situation.
Tuiga was the first 15-Metre to be restored at Fairlie Restorations and has been owned by Monaco Yacht Club since 1993.

LOA 27.36m (92ft)

LWL 15.68m (48ft 11in)

Beam 4.15m (14ft 1in)

Draught 2.95m (9ft 10in)

Sail area 390m2 (4,014ft2)

Displacement 50 tons (original)