An Introduction to Cowes Week 2011

The world’s oldest sailing regatta returns

An Introduction to Cowes Week 2011

Held in the small Isle of Wight port town of Cowes, ‘Cowes Week’ is one of the world’s oldest sailing regattas, with the first event held in 1826. Highly regarded in the yachting community, Cowes Week is considered one of the world’s premier regattas and hosts around 1000 yachts, 8000 competitors and 40 races a day. In 2011 the event is taking place between the 6th and the 13th of August and is set to be the biggest and best one yet.

Cowes is by no means large and during the regatta week around 100,000 visitors descend on the town, creating a festival feel in the town’s narrow and usually quiet streets. The ‘Cowes parade’ provides the venue for a large part of the non-sailing activities, with street entertainment, free live music and great bars and restaurants to keep you watered and fed.

Aside from all the on-shore entertainment on offer, let us not forget that Cowes Week is a sailing regatta. With races for a whole range of boats and abilities, you will see enthusiastic amateurs racing on the same day as some of the world’s best sailors. For the best racing experience you can watch the action unfold on the water on one of the many spectator boat services.

If you are considering a trip to the Cowes Week regatta, you can access the island by ferry from Southampton, the quickest and easiest option being Red Funnel Isle of Wight ferries ‘Red Jet’ high speed service. If you are travelling to Southampton by train there is a free shuttle bus service from Southampton Central to the Red Jet terminal.

In terms of accommodation it pays to book well in advance, with spaces at a premium due to the massive influx of people into such a small town. Many companies offer holiday apartments and even yachts that can be rented out for the duration of the regatta. To find out more about accommodation, click here for Isle of Wight hotels information.

Of course if you are lucky enough to own a yacht of your own, then sailing out to Cowes and anchoring offshore to watch the racing, with a glass of wine and the company of good friends is certainly the best way to enjoy the regatta in style.


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