Ramsgate Week kicks off tomorrow (July 17) and is widely recognised as a ‘family-friendly regatta’ that is an alternative to Cowes.
It first started back in 1898. During the 1950s, the regatta was known as ‘Kent Yachting Week’, which changed to ‘Thanet Week’ in the 1970s, and at that time included dinghy sailing.
Dinghy racing declined over time, but with an expanded local IOR-rated fleet, Ramsgate Week as we know it today was re-launched and has grown strength to strength.
As well as yacht racing throughout the week, there is live music and events throughout the town and around the harbour.
St Lawrence College is one of the key sponsors for the event and the school is also sponsoring a local crew and boat Kabluzo which is competing as part of the IRC Class 1 fleet. Kabluzo was hand-built by Rob Smith and first launched in 2020.
Simon Northrop, who runs Northrop Sails at Ramsgate Harbour, will be part of the eight-man crew aboard Kabluzo.
Simon was born in the area and has been running Northrop Sails since the age of 21. He has also competed in Ramsgate Week for the past 25 years.
Sailing is in his blood as his grandfather and father also competed. Simon created his first sail when he was just 17 years old and this was then used by his father in the 1988 World Championships.
Northrop Sails have made the sails for the Kabluzo and the St Lawrence College crest has also been incorporated.
One challenging race is the ‘Round the Goodwins.’ This involves sailing from Ramsgate Harbour, around the Goodwin Sands and then back to the Harbour. The Goodwin Sands is a 10-mile sandbank where more than 2,000 ships are believed to have been wrecked.
Simon has won the ‘Round the Goodwins’ race before and currently holds the record time of 2hrs 45mins. The race takes place on Sunday at 9:55am.
Another key race of Ramsgate Week is the Gold Cup. This race closes out the regatta on Friday, July 22.
Simon has won this twice previously with different teams. He’ll be looking to make it a hattrick with Rob Smith and the crew aboard the Kabluzo.
A college spokesperson said: “St Lawrence College will be supporting and cheering from ashore. We wish all competitors involved the best of luck next week and know it’ll be an event to remember.”
Euromarine Insurance Services is the main sponsor for Ramsgate Week. A number of other businesses and organisations also support the event.
Find out more about Ramsgate Week at https://www.ramsgateweek.com/