Saturday 4th October saw the start of the 11th Cowes Small Ships Race, a race between 27 Sail Training vessels all crewed by young people under 25.
The Small Ships Race takes place every year on the first weekend of October and marks the end of the sailing season for most of the vessels taking part. The event is supported by many Isle of Wight based charities and yacht clubs, including the Royal London Yacht Club, Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes Yacht Haven and the Herapath-Shenton Trust. Around 230 young people, many of whom have never sailed before, took part in this exciting day.
The race was preceeded by a Parade of Sail in which the ships came close up to the RYS platform to wave at the supporters. Even though it was cold and wet, spirits were high and there were plenty of mexican waves and cheers.
The race started at 1030 just as a cold front came through, making for wet and windy conditions and poor visibility. The vessels headed off towards Yarmouth in a northwesterly breeze.
Soon the weather cleared, and by the time the front runners were on their way back towards Cowes the wind had eased to F 3 to 4. This made it tactically interesting for the Skippers. The first boat crossed the finish line in warm sunshine: Challenge Wales received line honours for the race.
Video of the Parade of Sail is here (thank you to Vectis Television)
Full race results are available here.