Rolex sponsors Royal Yacht Squadron The Royal Yacht Squadron has confirmed that Rolex will be supporting the Club’s Bicentenary Regatta, the spectacular international sailing event that will celebrate 200 years of the historic club’s existence in July 2015. The multi-format regatta which takes place from 25th to 31st July 2015 in the UK’s Solent will attract yachts both large and small, classic and modern, from J-Class to J80 by offering a choice of racing fleets for competitors to take part in. The announcement of Rolex’s participation coincides with the release of the confirmed Notice of Race and entry forms. Entries are already coming in from amongst the 25 clubs invited from 19 countries around the world, specially selected by the Royal Yacht Squadron in recognition of friendships that have evolved through mutual and reciprocal sailing activities over many years. Invitations have also been extended to the Cowes Combined Clubs. The whole event will consist of four days of inshore racing from either the Squadron line or a committee vessel with also a clockwise Race Around the Island (RATI). Competing club teams can charter a pair of J80s from a local fleet of twelve for the Bicentenary Team Racing event or charter one of a fleet of 25 Beneteau First 40s designed by Bruce Farr which are being provided to create a level rating class. Charter packages have been prepared by the Squadron and are available to members of the invited clubs. The bulk of the inshore racing fleet, however, will be made up of the IRC class in rating bands 1.050 to 1.850, allowing for yachts ranging from typically 40ft to supermaxi racer whose numbers will be limited to 200 yachts, either owned by members of the selected clubs or chartered. The Race Around the Island is set to be the most breathtaking spectacle of the UK 2015 sailing calendar when the inshore fleets will be joined by an additional number of larger maxi yachts, sailing superyachts, and multihulls whose ratings are higher than those of the inshore rating bands, many of which will have just arrived in the UK after taking part in the Transatlantic Race from Newport, Rhode Island a few weeks previously. There will also be trophies for two-boat teams competing within the IRC class. Rear Commodore Yachting David Aisher commented “The Bicentenary Regatta next year will be a fitting tribute to the Royal Yacht Squadron’s close involvement in yachting since its inception. The varied fleets will represent years of continual development in the yachts themselves and the equipment that they carry. The owners and their crews will bring together the many international relationships that have developed over the two centuries of our existence. It will be a celebration of yachting at its best. We look forward to welcoming all who are coming and the competition on the water that will take place.” The regatta programme is now well advanced. A packed schedule of social events includes an aerial display by the Red Arrows and a parachute display by the Red Devils will both take place during the event. A Regatta Ball is to be held at Osborne House. The Royal Yacht Squadron has put a strong emphasis on corinthian racing. The J80 crews will each have a maximum age of 30 while the Bénéteau First 40 level rating class stipulates that crews, all Cat 1 (non professional), must be members of the invited club, or their close family members, and one crew member at least must be under 25 and at least one must be female. ISAF Classification Codes are stipulated in the IRC division. All yachts are to be helmed by their owner or charterer during racing, including during the RATI, with the exception of during starts when a professional helmsman may take over. Yachts over 60ft shall have a minimum of one third Cat 1 sailors who are club members and yachts under 60ft shall have a minimum of two thirds Cat 1 sailors. However, for the sake of safety, all the crews of J Class and ‘big class’ sailing superyachts can be Cat 3.