Photos by Paul Wyeth and Jonathan Hoare

Welcome to the RS Elite Cowes Fleet

The RS Elite is one of the most recent boats to form a resident fleet in Cowes, although there has been a sporadic presence over many years: there has been a dedicated Class start in Cowes Week since 2004, Elites have successfully completed the Round Island Race every year since 2005, the Class National Championships were hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in 2012, and the Southern Area Championships by the RYS in 2014. (See Race Report)


Article in Yachts & Yachting about the Tr-Handled Trophy

The Boat

The RS Elite is a modern, high performance, low maintenance one design keelboat, usually crewed by three people, although it can easily be handled by two.

Text Box: Cowes Radio 24ft overall, with beam of 5ft 8in, draft of 3ft 7in and displacing one ton, the Elite has a fibreglass hull, carbon spars and a symmetrical spinnaker launched from a chute.

Capable of nearly 20 knots downwind in a blow, the Elite is well mannered and easy to sail, not requiring either special skill or great strength to sail safely and enjoyably even in strong winds - many Elites are crewed by women.

More details are available on the RS Sailing website and on the Class Association website


Starting in 2013, there has been regular fleet racing throughout the season under the auspices of the Cowes Clubs and Classes Association.  Starts are typically on Saturdays at 13:15 (WS at 13:10) and on Sundays at 12:15 (WS 12:10), for both the Solent Series (shoreline starts) and the Cowes Keelboat Championship (Committee Boat starts).

As part of the Elite Class national racing circuit, there is a Class start off the Royal Yacht Squadron line during Cowes Week (Saturday to Friday).

The RS Elite has an IRC rating of .934 and so can also be raced on a handicap basis in the various West and East Wight keelboat regattas (Yarmouth, Seaview, Bembridge).

Text Box: Cowes Yachting Magazine

Click here for the 2017 schedule of racing for the Cowes Fleet and this link to the Class website for details of other Elite regattas in the Solent and elsewhere.



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Most RS Elites are dry sailed from the Cowes Yacht Haven, although berthing in Shepards Marina or a main harbour swinging mooring are also available.

New & Second-hand Boats

New boat enquiries should be directed to RS Sailing (Charlie Merchant). Second-hand boats are often available on the market, and have proved very competitive with new boats. The best place to find them is on the Class website.


We would welcome an approach from any prospective purchaser interested in a sea trial with a view to joining the growing Cowes Fleet. For further information please contact: Charles Egerton-Warburton

Interview with Charlie on Website


Useful links and documents

RYS Website RLYC Website RCYC Website CCC Website ISC Website

AAM Cowes Week Cowes Online


The 2017 East Wight Combined Clubs Regatta Series - which contains details of the RS Elite Regatta on 17th - 18th June in Bembridge and Seaview - can be viewed here



Notice from Rod Hodgson, Deputy Harbour Master, Cowes Harbour Commission

A new Small Craft Channel that has been established through the area of the main harbour moorings connecting the main fairway opposite Town Quay with the eastern approaches. The new channel enables small craft to avoid the main harbour entrance when approaching/departing Cowes from/to the east and also avoid the temptation for vessels to take a short cut through the moorings which has led to damage to boats and buoys in the past. The success of the channel will depend a great deal on getting the information out to the harbour users and adequate education and enforcement by our Harbour Patrol. 

The LNTM's give details of the new small craft channel, changes to the Shrape Breakwater light and the establishment of a new Shrape Mud buoy.

Download Small Craft Channel

Download Change to Shrape Breakwater Light

Download Small Craft Channel Buoy Light

Download Shrape Mud Buoy Established

All LNTM are also available on our website

The Cowes Harbour breakwater Exclusion Zone LOCAL NOTICE TO MARINERS can be found here:

The Cowes Harbour Commission have issed an advisory on Harbour Tidal flows around the new breakwater construction. Download

2017 RS Elite Cowes Report

May 2017

On Saturday 6th May, members of the growing Cowes fleet of RS Elites benefited from a day's coaching by Mark Rushall, the highly respected sailing coach and author, who was most recently Team Strategist for the British Sailing Team's campaign for their highly successful 2016 Games in Rio.

Kindly facilitated by Martin and Amanda Wadhams, who brought their RIB over from the Hamble for the day, the session began with discussion onshore of individual objectives, followed by a tuning check which uncovered glaring comparative discrepancies, as laminated copies of the Wadhams ‘secret sauce' rig set-up were hastily consulted, before the boats departed from the Cowes Yacht Haven.

The forecast Force 4-5 with overcast conditions proved well wide of the mark as sunshine licked the Island coastline and a mild Force 2-3 enabled Mark to sit in comfort on the transoms during a series of up and down wind manoeuvres. Mark's well honed style of eschewing instructions in favour of encouraging yet probing enquiries of the crew in their various positions forced everyone to articulate their thinking and yielded noticeable and immediate performance improvement. All participants admitted to huge strides in both sail and boat handling confidence and knowledge. Fleet Captain Charlie Egerton-Warburton reported that it had been a massively worthwhile event which he would be keen to repeat as the Cowes fleet welcomes new owners and would heartily recommend to others; he was also heard afloat admitting to a personal revelation that sheets are not only put to good use on beds......

2016/7 RS Elite Cowes Fleet Annual Report

2016 was decidedly a year of lows and highs - two Elites were lost in the January 2016 Cowes fire but were quickly replaced with new ones by their enthusiastic owners (notably numbers 100 and 101), whilst a rare second-hand one was also purchased by a Cowes resident out of the Burnham fleet. Furthermore, post-season, we were delighted to receive the news that two owners previously racing out of Lymington would be moving their boats to Cowes for the 2017 season. Since the first Elite arrived on the Isle of Wight in 2011, the fleet has therefore now grown to 6 Cowes-based boats, with a seventh expected once shipped from the China factory.

The 2016 season saw some wonderful close-quarter racing amongst the resident Cowes fleet over selected weekends from April to September, with a mixture of Solent Series shoreline and Cowes Keelboat Championship committee boat starts. Soak Therapy eventually emerged as the overall victor on points. Cowes Week saw 20 boats competing, the fifth year in a row that the total has grown and more than any other White Group fleet bar the Redwings. No Riff Raff, a Hayling Island fleet visitor, triumphed, winning both the week overall as well as the inaugural contest for the Tri-handled Trophy over the first four days. Two Cowes boats also made the journey down to Hayling Island for the Southern Area Championships held in September, with Centurion the top placed Cowes boat, achieving a creditable tenth place out of 22.

Looking ahead, the 2017 season will once again see five weekends of shore-based or committee boat starts run by the Cowes Combined Clubs & Classes Association, Tuesday night handicap racing run by the Island Sailing Club (an Elite beat a fleet of 60 odd boats on one such occasion), the opportunity to participate in the June Round Island Race in the Sportsboat category (see the class website archives for tales of Elite derring-do) and our customary dedicated start during Cowes Week at the beginning of August. Reflecting interest in the RS Elite by residents of Bembridge and Seaview, for the first time there will also be a class event on 17/18 June held under the aegis of the East Wight Combined Clubs. Cowes boats are also expected to compete in the UK National Championships at Hayling Island from 20-22 July.

The focus of the Island fleet remains on attracting additional boats and long-term ownership through invitational exposure to crewing and helming opportunities throughout the season. We are quietly confident that the fleet has reached a tipping point, reflecting a combination of critical mass and momentum, and hope that many of the other RS Elite owners across the country will visit us during 2017 to experience the thrill of racing in the incomparable Central Solent.