Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford stars at British Classic Week in the Solent

Spirit 52,
Flight of Ufford
Photo: Guido Cantini / Panerai

Spirit 52, Flight of Ufford Photo: Guido Cantini / Panerai - Credit: SEA&SEE/Guido Cantini

This year’s fleet of 50 timeless classic yachts enjoyed a week of technically challenging races in perfect conditions in the Solent at British Classic Week.

The victors: Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford, helmed by her owner Sean McMillan, wins the Yacht of the Re

The victors: Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford, helmed by her owner Sean McMillan, wins the Yacht of the Regatta trophy. Left to right: Philppe de Saint Lager (Panerai), David Murrin (BCYC Commodore), Sean McMillan, Sam Penhaul Smith, James Oxley, Stefanie Bielowski, Owen Thomas and Laurie Read, all of Flight of Ufford. Photo: Guido Cantini / Panerai - Credit: SEA&SEE/Guido Cantini

After a six-race series of fast-paced, tactical courses, Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford, helmed by her owner Sean McMillan, the Ipswich-based Spirit Yachts’ founder and designer, won the prestigious Yacht of the Regatta trophy.

“There is nowhere else in the world where the racing is more challenging. Tacticians have to negotiate the strong tides, a busy shipping channel and conflicting currents; it’s exhilarating racing,” McMillan said.

“To win such a prestigious regatta is a true honour and I couldn’t have done it without my dedicated crew.

“This is the best regatta I have ever raced in my entire life; the weather was superb, competition fierce and the course setting by the Royal Yacht Squadron was world-class.”

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Taking place in the Solent, the stretch of water between mainland UK and the Isle of Wight, Panerai British Classic Week racing is world renowned for its challenging courses set by the Royal Yacht Squadron.

British Classic Yacht Club Commodore David Murrin said: “The Royal Yacht Squadron did a truly amazing job this week.

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“The racing has been more competitive than ever and the spirit of the British Classic Yacht Club has never been stronger.

“This has been our best regatta yet as it represented everything we aspire to: competitive racing between beautifully crafted and preserved classic yachts, complemented by a vibrant social scene off the water.”

In the individual classes, Sioma won the 6 Metre class followed by Thistle and Nancy.

Class 1 was won by Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford, with Spirit 52 Oui Fling in second and Spirit 65 Chloe Giselle in third.

Cetewayo took the title in Class 2, ahead of Opposition and Golden Fleece, whilst Whooper won Class 3 followed by Kismet and Stiletto. Class 4 was a closely fought battle between Suvretta and Cereste, with Suvretta triumphing ahead of Cereste in second and Arabel in third.

The Ladies Race (which included GB Olympic gold medallist Saskia Clark and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Abby Ehler) was won by Libby Deegan in Suvretta, followed by Whooper in second and Cetewayo in third. The inaugural 30nm NAB Tower Race was won on corrected time by Suvretta with Cereste in second and Whooper in third.

The Concours D’Elegance prize for the most beautifully maintained boat went to Spirit 37’ Strega in Class 1, Opposition in Class 2, Whooper in Class 3 and Suvretta in Class 4. The overall Concours D’Elegance trophy was won by Suvretta and the Best Yacht for Originality was won by Cereste. Both prizes are judged against seven criteria: hull, rig, sails, deck equipment, interior, interior fittings and deck.

The prize for Best Presented New Entrant was awarded to 8 Metre yacht Njord, and the ‘in need of a stiff drink’ prize was awarded to Spirit 46’ Dido who survived two collisions during a week of fast-paced racing.

Taking place against the historic backdrop of the Isle of Wight, with mainland UK in the distance, spectators have basked in sunshine as they watched the fleet of elegant yachts race across the shimmering waters of the Solent.

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