ENTRIES for next year’s Lendy Cowes Week regatta have opened today (Wednesday).

Organisers Cowes Week Limited (CWL) have announced a range of competitor-led initiatives for the flagship event, which will be held between August 4 and 11 2018.

Standard and late entry fees for all classes have been reduced, while two new entry categories for smaller one-design and IRC boats have been introduced.

A super early bird entry fee will be available until December 29.

Other initiatives for 2018 include the introduction of a four-day mini-series for the Quarter Ton and FAST40+ classes and the new HP30 class, which will include fixed line and committee boat starts each day, plus the Around the Island Race on Thursday, August 9, for IMOCA 60s, IRC Super Zero and Class 40 yachts.

CWL’s commercial and marketing director, Kate Johnson, said: “We’re delighted to announce we’re open for entries for the 2018 edition of Lendy Cowes Week.

“Over the autumn we’ve completed a comprehensive review of entry fees across all the classes, and we’re very pleased to be able to bring down standard entry fees for the 2018 regatta.

“At a time when boat ownership and racing participation is getting more expensive for many, our partnership with Lendy means we can offer better value to competitors joining us next summer.

“As a result of the very positive feedback from this year’s regatta and the new initiatives announced today, we’re looking forward to welcoming many new and returning boats to Lendy Cowes Week 2018.”

Liam Brooke, director and co-founder at Lendy, added: “We are extremely proud of our title sponsorship of the world’s premier sailing regatta.

“We were delighted to meet so many of you at the 2017 regatta and to experience first-hand the tremendous competitive spirit on the water, as well as the fun-packed shore-side scene activities.

“It’s given us lots of enthusiasm and ideas for 2018, and looking ahead to the second year of our partnership, we’re excited to be working with Cowes Week Ltd on a range of initiatives to improve the event further.”