Some members may not be fully aware of the massive contribution made by our Club, in relation to the running of racing at Cowes Week. Over many years the Royal Southern has built up a fine record and a great reputation for race management at Cowes Week.

This year, once again under the leadership of Race Officer Peter Bateson, Royal Southern volunteers gave a total of 1750 hours of their time. There were 25 in the Team, the largest group from any of the Cowes Week Yacht Clubs. We provided a team for both Start and Finish Committee boats, in partnership with Island Sailing Club (ISC) members, and also a RIB mark-laying team. The Committee vessels made the daily trip to and from Cowes, and were loaned by Royal Southern Members. So very special thanks go to Peter Smith [Pamanti – whose team handled race starts and some finishes] and the owners of the two boats that between them covered the week as Finish Boats: Leon Barbour [Shibumi] and Malcolm Knox [Kym Too].

Cowes Week could not happen without the volunteers. This year more than 300 in total helped to deliver the necessary race management over 7 days, for 1200+ competitors in almost 30 classes of boats, from Squibs and other dinghy/small keelboat classes to Cape 31s and large keel boats

It is worth considering why we tackle the early departures and late returns, the long hours on the water, and the often challenging starts and finishes.

These words from Leon Barbour, Skipper of one of the Finish Boats, a newcomer to Cowes Week and to Race Management generally, tell their own story:

It was lovely to see club members whom Id not previously met or rarely get to see, including members of the ISC, and to hear the banter between everyone. Also, as a Committee Boat skipper it was great to have skilled crew on board of whom little needed to be asked.

The sight of such a mass of boats on the water at the start of their races and then again as they crossed the breakwater finishing line, sounding a horn for each of the class winners, was absolutely spectacular.

And this gives some idea of both the satisfaction to be gained from contributing to such an amazing yachting event, and also the rewards of working cooperatively in a Team in order to achieve what is required.

Our Rear Commodore Sailing, Paul Ward, also offered the following comment:

Thank you for allowing me to join you for a day on Pamanti( the committee boat). It was great see our Club team in action and everything we were doing was done to a very big standard. Our Club has a well deserved reputation for race management and we played our part to deliver a great week of racing at Cowes Week.

Maybe this report gives some idea of the complexities involved in the task of providing good racing – actually not always understood by competitors! And we hope that this report might also whet the appetite of more members, and encourage them to explore the possibility of volunteering. More younger volunteers especially are sorely needed!

We all started the journey to Cowes Week race management by volunteering to help at Club Regattas/sailing events, and we do want to encourage more people to get involved when the call goes out for volunteers. You don’t need previous experience to start; we will always support and mentor newcomers, and can provide some training.

If you want more information then please contact the sailing office or one of the volunteers (details available from the sailing office).