The inspiration for the classic regatta st SYH came to Jonathan Dyke during a cruise to the Isle of Wight to watch the Americas Cup Jubilee in 2001. As well as his own 40ft Mystery class Celeste, he noticed many other East Coast-based classic wooden yachts among the spactator fleet. Why not hold an East Coast event especially for them?
A total of 30 invitations were sent out, producing 24 acceptances. Yachts had to be of wooden construction - clinker, carvel or strip plank - and built between 1920 and 1970. Bermudan was the only allowable rig, because gaffers already had a multitude of events on offer. And this rule achieved the desired levels of grace and pace.
Racing in the first, 2002 event was spectacular, with entries ranging from the 45ft 8-metre If to the little 27ft Tumlare Imari. Competitors and spectators alike gave a thumbs-up to the event which has since become an imporatant annual fixture on the East Coast.
The regatta has now reached its 16th event with a regular strong showing from the Kim Holman-designed Stella class. It has become a showcase not just for the classic yachts but also for the SYH workshops, which maintains many of the craft.