Auction of XOD painting to commemorate Centenary Year will benefit official Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week charities

Auction of XOD painting to commemorate Centenary Year will benefit official Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week charities

The sight of the record-breaking number of yachts (currently standing at 141) in the XOD class on the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week start line this August is set to be immortalised in a watercolour painting by renowned Cowes artist Rowena Wright. The proceeds of the painting’s auction are to be split between two charities, one of which is the official AAM Cowes Week charity Toe in the Water, and Sailability.

The painting of the XODs, whose class is celebrating 100 years as a racing class this year, will visualise the fleet looking from the pin end of the start line towards the Royal Yacht Squadron. The original will be 1m x 0.7m in size and there will also be a very limited edition run of prints, valued at £100 each.

The auction will be held at the XOD Class Dinner on Thursday 11th August during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. The two charities will then be invited to receive the donations at the Class AGM in November.

We are very excited about this project,” comments XOD Class Information Officer Malcolm Taylor. “Not only is a historic painting being produced by a top artist to mark our Centenary Year, but we are also able to make donations to two worthy causes both of which get people with disabilities onto the water.

Toe in the Water is a tri-service initiative which aims to inspire service men and women who have sustained often traumatic injuries, including the loss of limbs, to move beyond their disability and to become re-inspired by life through competitive sailing. Sailability, which is the charity arm of the Royal Yachting Association, encourages and supports people with disabilities to take up the sport and facilitates sites to develop sailing opportunities.

The XOD class has broken all the records for Cowes Weeks past and the organisers of this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week have already received 140 entries, making it the biggest class ever – and a one-design class – to cross the Royal Yacht Squadron start line at the event.

Rowena Wright is a fine artist living in Cowes and is a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. She specialises in painting the best and most beautiful classic yachts and boats that visit the Solent.

 Class website:

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For further information and high res photographs please contact:

Marina Johnson     01590 670011 | 07774 623539

Peta Stuart Hunt            01590 679621 | 07711 477707

Notes to Editors:

About the XOD Class In 1911 Yachting Monthly reported that seven 21ft keelboats of a newly established One Design class came to the start line for their first race, off Hythe in Southampton Water. By 1939, 81 X One Design boats (as they had come to be designated,) had been built. In 1961, the Class’s Golden Jubilee year, there were 52 starters at Cowes Week. By 1979, the XODs were long since established as consistently the largest one-design fleet at the regatta with 81 starters and by the 1980/1990s the numbers were sometimes in the 90s. An entry well in excess of 100 is expected for 2011, the Centenary year. It is generally acknowledged that the XOD class is the most difficult in which to win Cowes Week.

An XOD has two or three crew including the helmsman and weight and/or strength is not a factor when competing, so crews of all sizes can compete on equal terms. The spinnaker can be flown from within the safety of the cockpit, avoiding the need for foredeck work. The XOD is a very pretty classic yacht of just under 21ft in length. She is made of wood but can be easily maintained with modern epoxies. A number of complete renovations have been undertaken successfully.

Quality racing

The key to the Class success and longevity is in the quality of the racing. There are Divisions at Parkstone, Yarmouth, Lymington, Hamble, Cowes and Itchenor. The boats are equal as a One Design so success depends almost entirely on the skill of the helmsman and of the crew rather than on the depth of the owner’s pocket and/or high levels of physical strength and youthful agility. Top sailors in their 20s compete against ex-Olympians in their late 70s, with older boats just as likely to win as newer ones.


Cowes Week 2010 was won by X26, built in 1923. The quality and relative affordability of racing have encouraged many top sailors from other fleets to join the Class. It’s now possible to buy an XOD with a very good recent racing record for between £7,500 to £15,000. Shared ownership is widespread and a good way to keep costs low for competitive racing in a family friendly format.

Design & Build

The continuing success of the class is also attributed to the design of the boat, the management of the Class, the locations and clubs raced from. 195 XODs have been built and of these, 137 (70%) raced at least once in 2010. It is expected that this number will increase in 2011, the Centenary Year, as a number of boats have been undergoing refurbishment in preparation for the great event.

The first builder was Alfred Westmacott on the Isle of Wight and the first XOD ever built, Mistletoe, X1, is now at the National Maritime Museum. X5, built in the same year, 1911, survives and races regularly. Originally, all XODs were gaff-rigged, but the Bermudan rig was introduced in 1928 with the obvious benefits in upwind performance, although a gaff rig remained optional till 1950. Small changes to rig and sail formula have been made since.

XOD Centenary Race 4 in Lymington, photographed by David Harding,

About the XOD Class Centenary Celebrations

100 years after the first XOD race took place in 1911, 2011 sees a host of celebrations amongst the Solent fleets. Key events are:

  • The Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week Centenary 3-day regatta

– A three day event within AAM Cowes Week. Racing from Tuesday 9th – Thursday 11th August. – Media and VIP reception on Monday night 8th August at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.


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