Cowes Keelboat Championships is a celebration of that much loved but often overlooked vessel, the small keelboat. This is an event for anyone who has enjoyed the thrill of roaring downwind in an Etchells or clinging to the rail of an International Dragon as she points beautifully into a stiff breeze. The weekend is hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and features a splendid gathering of little yachts comprising a mixture of Darings, Etchells, Dragons and X Boats. A more picturesque sight can hardly be imagined than these beautiful fleets of vessels in full cry as they vie for top position in their respected classes.
These races are not for the faint hearted however; not only is racing extremely competitive, but you also have to bear in mind that all of these little vessels are essentially open boats and it takes a certain hardy type of racer to brave the vicissitudes of the British summer in an open boat. Sailing a small keel boat to its maximum potential is also an extremely challenging pursuit and many of these racers are exceptionally technical gifted. It is no coincidence that many of the world’s top helmsmen, Russell Coutts included, cut their teeth in open keelboats.
Having said all that, this is a very civilised affair and racing is rounded off perfectly on Saturday afternoon when all of the protagonists are invited to the Royal yacht Squadron for a spot of tea and cake. The perfect end to a rigorous day of racing