Regatta round-up
Whether you sail the seven seas with the best, or simply like to sit back
and watch the action, regattas are a time-honoured tradition, many of which have
been around more than a hundred years. Set course for one of these illustrious events
and be a part of maritime merriment.
© Jacques Vapillon/DIMC
Maktoum Sailing Trophy, Dubai
Maktoum Sailing Trophy
21-29 February 2009,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The prestigious Maktoum Sailing Trophy
Regatta is the biggest in the region and
consists of ten inshore races and one
offshore passage race for individual yachts.
The five-day event attracts some of the
world’s leading yachtsmen – perfect for
those who love the sun, sea and sport, the
Maktoum Sailing Trophy is one to watch.
Henley Royal Regatta
1-5 July 2009,
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire,
United Kingdom
The Henley Royal Regatta is an annual
rowing race held by the town of Henley-onThames, England. It was first held in 1839
and has been held every year since, except
during the two World Wars. In 1851, Prince
Albert became the regatta’s first royal
patron – since then, the reigning monarch
has always been patron, thus preserving
the event’s royal title. The regatta includes
exciting, head-to-head competitions, raced
along a one mile (2,112 metre) course on the
River Thames. The most prestigious event
at the regatta is the Grand Challenge Cup
for Men’s Eights, which has been awarded
since the regatta was first staged.
Skandia Cowes Week
1-8 August 2009,
Cowes, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Cowes Week is one of the world’s premier
sailing regattas, with almost 1,000
yachts and 8,000 competitors taking
part. The event’s rich heritage attracts
a wide range of competitors. More than
100,000 spectators watch the sailing each
year, to enjoy the parties and unique
atmosphere. The festival originates from
the Prince Regent’s interest in yachting,
which continued after he became
George IV in 1820. One of the most
endearing traditions of Cowes Week is the
spectacular fireworks display on the final
Friday, which has taken place every year
since the inaugural event.
Port of Dartmouth
Royal Regatta
27-29 August 2009,
Dartmouth, Devon, United Kingdom
The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta takes
place annually over three days at the end
of August. The first-recorded Regatta in
Dartmouth took place in 1822, with three
sailing races and one six-oared gig race
followed by a ball at Dartmouth Castle. In
1856, it became a Royal Regatta when bad
weather forced an unscheduled visit by Queen
Victoria, Prince Albert and the Prince of
Wales the day before the scheduled start. The
Queen donated £25 and Prince Albert gave
£20 to be competed for by the sailors. Before
leaving, the Queen bestowed ‘Royal’ on the
Regatta. Each year, the organizers write to the
Monarch for Royal Patronage. The patron is
now Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The Port
of Dartmouth Regatta ranks as one of the best
in Britain.
Regates Royales de Cannes
20-27 September 2009,
Cannes, France
Every year, the Regates Royales de Cannes,
often referred to as the ‘Cowes of the
Mediterranean’, attracts more than 150
yachts to the glamorous coast of southern
France. Although the first edition of the
International Regattas of Cannes unfurled
in 1906, it was only at their 20th event that
they became royal, in honour of Danish
King Christian X’s participation in the event
from 1912 to 1947. Abandoned in 1964, the
regatta was revived by the Yacht Club of
Cannes in 1978.
Phuket King’s Cup Regatta
29 November – 6 December 2009,
Phuket, Thailand
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is Asia's
biggest and most popular regatta.
Inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th
birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol of
Thailand, the event has been held every
year since, always during the first week of
December, to celebrate the King's birthday
on the 5th. A yachting enthusiast himself,
he is also the event’s patron.
Rolex Sydney Hobart
Yacht Race
Begins 26 December 2009,
Sydney, Australia
Over the past 63 years, the Rolex
Sydney Hobart has become an icon of
Australian sport, and the 628 nauticalmile course is often described as the
most gruelling ocean race in the world, a
challenge for all who take part. A dazzling
start in Sydney Harbour draws media and
spectators to the water as the fleet sails out
into the Tasman Sea, down the south-east
coast of mainland Australia, across Bass
Strait (which divides the mainland from
the island State of Tasmania), then down
the east coast of Tasmania. At Tasman
Island the fleet turns right into Storm Bay
for the final sail up the Derwent River to
the historic port city of Hobart.
America’s Cup
Dates and locations vary
(next race in 2010)
By far the most famous and prestigious
regatta and match race in the sport of sailing,
and the oldest active trophy in international
sport. Historically held every four years,
though this has changed in recent times, the
event attracts top sailors and yacht designers.
The cup was originally called the Royal Yacht
Squadron Cup, but is now named after the
first yacht to win the trophy, the schooner
America. The trophy remained in the hands
of the New York Yacht Club of the United
States from 1852 until 1983 when the Cup
was won by the challenger, Australia II of
Australia, ending the longest winning streak
in the history of sport. Although the
America’s Cup competition is as much about
design technology as it is about sailing boats,
superior speed is rarely enough to win a race
on its own. The 17 active crew members are
at the top of their game and their combined
skill is essential to win. Alinghi was the last
winner, in 2007.
Newport Bermuda Race
Every two years in mid-June
(next race 2010)
Newport, Rhode Island, USA
The Newport Bermuda Race is a 635 nauticalmile race crossing a stretch of the Atlantic
Ocean known for challenging weather.
Every two years over 180 boats start from the
picturesque seaport of Newport, Rhode
Island. The fleet has five divisions to allow
seaworthy boats of many sizes and types to
be raced for an array of trophies awarded
in Bermuda at Government House, the
residence of the governor of this tropical
island. The first Bermuda Race started
in 1906 with just three entries. The race
was held several times in the 1900’s and
1920’s but it wasn’t until 1926 that a
regular schedule was set. This schedule has
continued to the present except for a hiatus
during World War II. The Newport Bermuda
Race welcomes first time racers as well as
seasoned veterans to participate and over the
past 100 years, some 4,500 boats and 46,000
men and women have raced to Bermuda with
the spirit of adventure in their sails.
Volvo Ocean Race
Every three years, October,
varied ports of call (next race 2011)
The Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional
test of sailing prowess. During the nine
months of the 2008-09 race, which started
in Alicante, Spain in October 2008 and
concludes in St. Petersburg, Russia,
during late June 2009, the teams will
sail over 37,000 nautical miles in some of
the world’s roughest seas via Cape Town,
Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, around Cape
Horn to Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway,
Gothenburg and Stockholm. The seven
boats have 11 crew and are pushed to the
limits as they race day and night. In 1973,
The Whitbread Around The World Race,
the longest, most demanding sporting
contest the world had known began and the
newly named Volvo Ocean Race was run for
the first time in 2001-02. It is undeniably
the world’s premier global team race.
The Vendée-Globe
Every four years in November
(next race 2012),
Les Sables D’Olonne, France
This non-stop, single-handed and unaided
sailing race departs every four years from
the Vendée port of Les Sables-d’Olonne.
The Vendée-Globe Challenge has been
called ‘the Everest of the sea’ – its origins
lie in the voyage made by the Canadian,
Joshua Slocum, the first of the great
single-handed circumnavigators, who
sailed the 42,000 kilometres in three
years, finishing in 1895. A hundred years
later, today’s non-stop sailors accomplish
this incredible feat in around three
months. The race is open to a maximum of
25 60ft monohulls, and is an arduous test
of individual endurance.
Kimberley Lovato