Monday 9th July sees the first ever La Trinite-Cowes Yacht Race.
This race is organised jointly between the Societe Nautique de la Trinite sur Mer (SNT) and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) which has an office and club house in Cowes.
So far there are 34 entries, with boats and crews spending a few nights in Cowes after their arrival before joining the RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo race starting on Friday 13th July.
However, this small fleet is packed full of quality. The 22-strong fully crewed class includes the overall winners of the last two Rolex Fastnet Races; JND39 Lann Ael 2 and the latest Courrier owned by Gery Trentesaux.
If conditions favour smaller yachts, then the Transquadra winning JPK1010 OGIC and J/120 Hey Jude will be among the favourites. The first ever MMW33 is also taking part, and with Vendée Globe sailor Didac Costa onboard, they may also challenge.
In the 12-strong two-handed class there are also several strong competitors, with JPK1080 Raging Bee 2 and Bouznik among the favourites.
The recently optimised Ofcet 32 Of Course will be a threat in the breeze, and the J/112E Musix will be hard to beat if the weather serves up lighter winds.
Pen Duick III
Star of the fleet is undoubtedly Pen Duick III, with a (slightly outdated) race record to rival almost anyone. This boat was launched in 1966 for Eric Tabarly who went on an incredible winning run in 1967, which included the Morgan Cup, Gotland Runt, Channel Race, Fastnet Race, and the Sydney Hobart Race.
Pen Duick III, continued to race internationally for a number of years, winning the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 1971 and taking part in the first ever Route du Rhum in 1978. The boat is now owned and sailed by the Association Eric Tabarly which maintains several Pen Duick yachts which they use to educate people about maritime culture and history in France.
Image: © Suzanne Whitewood