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Harken 29mm Single Swivel - 340
Harken 29mm Single Swivel - 340

Revival classes grow in popularity

by Sue Pelling 10 Jun 2014 18:17 BST 2-9 August 2014
Quarter Tonners at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2013 © Rick Tomlinson

Competitors who sail revival classes have as much, if not more, fun as those in modern day classes. There is something very special about bringing an ageing design 'back to life' and racing it against some of the newest boats in the fleet.

Take the Quarter Ton class; almost extinct 10 years ago, and now one of the most popular fleets at the regatta. Thanks to the dedication of a group of enthusiasts who recognised its potential, and who were keen to revive it as a racing class, there are often up to 20 boats on the start line.

Louise Morton, owner of Espada (a 1979 Bruce Farr design), and one of the key members responsible for the class revival, said: "We are expecting a good turnout this year as we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the revival of the class. I am racing once again with an all girl crew in a boat I have owned since 2007. We always enjoy the intense competition and having won the class three times (2008, 2010 and 2012), we are looking forward to seeing what we can do this year. I have bought a new spinnaker so I am hoping it will be a winner!"

One-off classes such as Limbos, H-Boats and Contessa 26s that have not yet reached numbers to warrant fleet status, race in IRC handicap classes. In IRC 7 for example competition is always intense. Last year the class was won by Jo Richards' 1979-built H-Boat – Woof, but some of the best competition was at the rear of the fleet with the likes of If – a 35-year-old Cowes based Mini Tonner Limbo battling it out with a couple of Folkboats.

Martin Moore, owner of If, commented: "We run our campaign on a tiny budget and with a mixed crew of four dinghy sailors. This will be our fourth Cowes Week and we are usually to be found towards the back of our fleet having great fun battling the tides and time limits with a few other similarly challenged competitors. Combining that with the fabulous Cowes Week après sail, we would not change a thing."

The Squib class – now 46 years old – has always been popular at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Although it is not really a revival class, it is a perfect example of how an ageing class can really hold its own against modern day racing boats.

Lady Penelope, the Squib that won Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week overall last year, is relatively young at 13 years old. Her owner Malcolm Hutchings and crewman Andy Ramsey say that age is not an issue in the Squib class - it's all about keeping the fleet alive. Ramsey commented: "At two months to go we already have 31 boats entered, which is well up on last year. Because she is a one-design, nothing really changes, so it is possible to pick up relatively old boats for a good price and, and as long as it is maintained well, there is no reason not to do well. The key is to keep everything in tip top condition this will ensure the Squib class is winning in years to come."

The 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week runs from 2 – 9 August and entries are accepted for the full regatta or individual days. For further information please visit www.aamcowesweek.co.uk.

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