Yachts Up Doc!

No postings for some time as Agent Triple P has been enjoying Cowes Week, the oldest and largest sailing regatta in the World. He has always had an appreciation of good trim, taut rigging, a fine line and an elegant stern and there was much to appreciate from his waterfront balcony in the thick of the action. There were also some rather splendid boats on display.

Whilst there were over thirty classes of yacht racing this year the number of classes of girlies was rather less. These classes were, however, as distinctive as those on the water.

Broadly there are three categories which all display distinctive characteristics but, as with their nautical counterparts, it is easy to be fooled as to which class they fall into without careful observation of key features.

Isle of Wight Pearls

Let us start at the simplest and cheapest class, Isle of White Pearls. Sadly, for anyone looking for a fine racing line locally, it has to be remembered that the Isle of Wight is, indeed an island. This has led to a considerable amount of inbreeding to the extent that there is a typical Isle of Wight face. This consists of a small, underdeveloped jaw, full lips, slightly pop-eyes and, most distinctive of all a nose, that in profile, runs in a straight line up to the forehead in a way recognisable from much Roman statuary. At Cowes week these unfortunates dress themselves in as few clothes as possible and strut around in groups; quite often indulging in underage smoking and drinking. Characteristic dress this year was the ra-ra miniskirt or micro shorts, white vest (or the, so two years ago, handkerchief top) and a large metallic belt. Mostly they are also rather overweight with short legs as well. The general image is therefore, as HMS would say, “most unfortunate”.

This young lady is one of the better ones we observed. The only advantage that they seem to possess is much larger than average busts. These seem to be key points of attraction for local boys however, given the very large number of teenage mothers around.


Moving up a class (but not by much) we move to Sandowners; those young ladies from the mainland who are here on holiday in the various campsites and B&Bs in the Yaverland, Ryde, Sandown and Shanklin parts of the island. As far as dress goes there is nothing to choose between them and the IoWPs; they are perhaps a little more up to date in their clothes.

You can usually spot them as they tend to be paler in skin than the locals. They tend not to travel in packs quite so much and could mostly be seen hanging around the Heineken Pavillion trying to persuade someone over 18 to buy them a watery beer.

Yachty Tottie

Whilst the smallest class numerically this is the highest in quality whilst, I am afraid not quite reaching the exalted levels of other sporting events such as Ascot, Henley or polo at Smith’s Lawn. This category is itself divided into sub-classes:

Racer Chasers

Gels down from Putney, Chelsea and Fulham looking for a man with a very expensive yacht. They dress in a cod nautical style but fail to get the details right and they worry too much about areas that real sailing girls temporarily forget about (like doing one’s hair).

This young lady has a suitably nautical striped top and the de rigeur white miniskirt but gets the boots completely wrong.

This one has the old flip flop look and fleece which show that she is more au fait with the look.

This example has bought a nautical style fashion bag from one of the boutiques in the High Street (it’s too new to be authentic; real sailors go for the battered look) and the shorts have an engagingly nautical piece of rope work but the shoes are all wrong.

This one’s friend has sailing gear alright, even if they are using bicycles. Is she patting his bottom or reaching for his wallet?

These two are waiting for their boat to come in but again the golden shoes give it away.

The really, really clever ones watch the starts so they can pretend to know what’s going on when they get back to the Mumm Champagne tent. “Like did you see the class recall on the Laser SB3 start. Like, total chaos, yah?”

Power Boat Bimbos

These girls have no interest in boats unless they have a hi-fi, a large cocktail cabinet, lots of sunbathing room and most of all, a bath. They are not interested in anything with ropes or sails on.

This is a fairly typical grouping. The best thing about motorboats is that you don’t have to wear any ridiculous clothes you can dress in exactly the same way as you do on the Kings Road.

Daddy’s Girls

Daddy has persuaded his partners that they need a corporate yacht and spends the week client entertaining leaving India and Felicity to wander around on their own and try to look older than their fifteen years. They have picked up the basics of Yachty Tottie style but lose it at key pressure points which usually involves the more formal occasions such as the yacht club balls and receptions.

These two are completely overdressed for 10.00 am in the morning. Even if they are going to watch the starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron Lawn they have overcooked it. Flat shoes, below the knee skirts (or long shorts in a sailing colour such as blue, white or dark red), plain blouse and a cardigan, girls, until midday, please. For tea on the Lawn something floaty (not bare shoulders) and flattish shoes.

Here’s a group off to a ball. Dear oh dear. Some curious hemlines some over snug posteriors and stilettos half an inch too high. Trashy, ladies, trashy.

Now here is a young lady who has got it right: not too tarty skirt, informal but not trashy top and sensible blue shoes with nautically authentic white rubber soles.

Sailor Girls

These are girls who know their mainsheet from their forestay. They have probably sailed with the family since they were little and can crew the family Contessa but don’t race as they have other things to do other than spending every weekend soaked in cold salt water learning the finer points of tide cheating off a foul start. They know the right gear to show that they are probably living on the family boat during Cowes week even if they are turfed of before the racing starts.

No vests for these girls; sensible polo shirts, reasonable length shorts and the right footwear: Timberland, Henri Lloyd or Sebago shoes and the young lady on the right is sporting the new trendy DuBarry long sailing boots.

It’s the little touches like the subtle Brooks and Gatehouse tee shirt that give that stamp of authenticity.

Seaview Mermaids

Seaview is a posh seaside town the other side of the decidedly unposh Ryde. It is almost impossible to park there which keeps the riff raff out. It is full of large Edwardian houses which the family rents for the summer so daddy can come down and do Cowes week without all that dreadful noise and the girls can invite hordes of their schoolfriends down for the summer. These girls are largely “squeaks” which is a junior version (under eighteen) of the Sloane Ranger. Agent Triple P’s experience of a short walk along the front at Seaview during the summer is that it is rather like a junior version of the beach at St Tropez. Splendid!

This one has denim shorts (rather popular in many classes this year) but they are long and loose enough to be acceptable and the top is not too tight to offend mummy.

Nice hat and impressive forecastle on this one. Leather flip flops for real boaties, of course.

This outfit could almost be a Sandowner’s but there is something about the sunglasses and the attitude that say “OK, yah!” The bag is the giveaway, of course.

Blue Water Babes

These are the real thing; the most serious of which finish Cowes Week and head off to a rock in the Western Approaches for the Fastnet Race; 700 miles of terrible weather where people regularly drown and boats sink. What fun!

Many of them seem to be of stocky build with rather short, tanned muscular legs. This type is as a result of selective breeding as taller girls get hit on the head by the boom and are knocked into the water. Sailing chaps wouldn’t marry such a type so tend to gravitate to these dumpy bleached blondes.

This one has the racer tee shirt, the well battered deck shoes, the baggy shorts and the serious racer watch for counting down from the start guns.

The shoes, again, mark out the real racer.

After all that rushing around maybe you can sneak onto the beach to get your tan ready for Juan les Pins next week.

So, just a brief review of the Cowes scenery for 2007. Agent Triple P’s next trip down here will be for the Power Boat Grand Prix later in the month where you get a completely different type of girl!
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