Whooper - Panerai British Classic Week - WINNER!

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This year’s Panerai British Classic Week saw a fleet of over 50 classic yachts from across Europe put through their paces in the challenging tidal waters of our home waters, The Solent, and we at the Ratsey and Lapthorn loft were really looking forward to the week for several reasons.

Over 50 Classic Yachts in Cowes Yacht Haven, our home port! The atmosphere this event brings to the town is fantastic and the spectacle of seeing these beautiful yachts racing is incredible.

One of our favourite customers, Giovanni Belgrano, would be defending his title as the Overall winner of the 2018 event, on his Laurent Giles One-Off Bermudan Sloop ‘Whooper’.

R&L General Manager, Steve Meakin, would be sailing aboard Cynthia, owned by Peter Lucas another great Ratsey and Lapthorn customer. This boat would prove to be an R&L family favourite with our youngest sailmaker Matt providing some muscle and expert sail trim knowledge and Rowena our fabulous ‘bag lady’ – Glamourous Tote Bags that is (!) also on board for the Lady’s Day Race on the Wednesday!

Lastly, Andy Cassell, R&L stalwart was racing on board Aeolus, with good friend and yet another faithful Ratsey and Lapthorn customer, Richard Hargreaves.

So we had three boats with Ratsey Sails, and four members of the R&L family on the water.

The weather conditions were very varied and proved to make racing tricky, tight and tactical. The week started with sunshine and light airs, with some races ending on a drift over the line, however as the week progressed so the weather conditions became more testing.

Whooper tore the Clew from their Jib during Wednesday’s race but were able to reef the jib and still take line honours. We made a repair to that sail overnight and they were back on the start line Thursday morning ready to go. 

But the real excitement happened on the Friday, the wind was up to 30knots, the rain was driving. Aeolus suffered some breakages on board snapping the Spinnaker pole and a down boom , thankfully nobody was hurt and they still took a third so a fantastic effort from them. Cynthia had to retire as things were getting too hairy on board with rigging being pushed to the limit, and Whooper won her race with a 4 minute lead.

So all in all it was a fantastic week on the water and off it.

We extend huge congratulation to the Whooper family for their win, and to both Aeolus and Cynthia for putting in excellent performances and being really brilliant Ratsey and Lapthorn ambassadors.

You have all done us very proud! 


Ratsey & Lapthorn are UK sailmakers based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. We specialise in racing sails, cruising sails and classic sails. Combining the latest sail making technology with hundreds of years of experience established within the loft, no boat is too big or too small.