Cowes Week has been part of the British sporting summer calendar since 1826 and is by some margin, the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world with 1,000 boats and 8,500 sailors competing for class honours - it’s quite a spectacle to behold! This event takes place between 4-11 August 2018.
About Lendy Cowes Week
With its place in the social calendar after Glorious Goodwood, Cowes Week is a fusion of many elements, offering an unrivalled mix of competitive sailing and shore-side partying and entertainment to suit all ages. The competitors include Olympic and world class professionals through to complete novices seeking the thrill and excitement of competitive sailing for the first time.
There are up to forty starts each day for the different yacht handicaps which include cruiser-racers, one designs, keelboats and multihull classes. Split into either White Group (day boats) and Black Group (larger boats with cabins), each group generally has its own start and finish line in sight of the shore. It is the complete mixture of classic and ultra-modern designs that gives the regatta its uniqueness. Several classes that raced more than 50 years ago are still racing today; Dragons, Flying Fifteens, Redwings, Sea View Mermaids, Solent Sunbeams, Swallows, Victories and X-one-designs. New classes have also been introduced as they increase in popularity.
For further information about the Fireworks Cruises see links below:
Not surprisingly, Cowes Week attracts tens of thousands of spectators who come to watch the racing from either the foreshore or aboard spectator boats. The regatta is famed for its westerly spinnaker finishes where yachts battle to the finish following a line close to the shore between Egypt Point and Cowes Green. The colourful spinnakers and champagne-like sea conditions give spectators an amazing grand stand view of all the nail-biting action.
As well as the sailing activities, the week includes a large number of onshore events including live music, cocktail parties and night clubs for party animals. Marquees are erected in the marinas serving food and drink and the crowds overflow from busy public houses and restaurants around the narrow high street - the town becomes a hive of activity into the early hours of each morning. It is genuinely a one-of-a-kind event and here’s a round-up of what to look out for in 2018.
Best Place to Watch from the Shore
Undoubtedly the best place to watch is in front of the start line at The Royal Yacht Squadron – if you can cope with the loud bangs of the start guns – and in the afternoon head down to Egypt Point to watch the fleet return home.
Best Race for Celeb Watching
The Artemis Challenge that is held on the Thursday of Cowes Week (TBC) always attracts a strong list of celebrity guests. Teams competing in the race in the past have included sports stars Zara Phillips, Amy Williams, Will Greenwood, Mike Tindall and James Haskell, as well as other stars from the world of entertainment, including Ewan McGregor, Davina McCall and Bryan Adams. The race follows the classic America’s Cup route around the Isle of Wight, starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line.
Best Day for the Kids
Sunday is Family Day (TBC) with a range of family-friendly activities and exclusive group offers. There are special free events on Cowes Parade, and family day activities at Shepherd’s Wharf and more at Northwood House above the town.
Best Way to see the Action from the Water
During the event, spectator boats go out on hour-long trips, departing from Trinity Landing on Cowes Parade and bookings can be made here. Each trip costs in the region of £14 for an adult and £9 for a child.
For a 60 minute blast across the Solent book a popular RIB ride.
Best Way to Try Before You Buy
Charity, UKSA is running ‘open to all’ sailing sessions (TBC); an hour’s sailing tuition with their instructors each day between 9.30am and 6pm, for circa £5. Simply visit them at their stand on Cowes Yacht Haven. If you fancy going one step further and trying your hand at some racing action, then there a number of racing options available too.
Best Way to Keep up with the Results
Racing action is streamed live and direct from the start and finish lines with commentated footage available on the event website. In addition, EventTV, the event's dedicated broadcast channel, will be shown on screens throughout Cowes giving the action live onscreen, highlights footage and up-to-date news and the all-important results! You can also stay tuned to the event radio station, Cowes Radio, on 87.7FM.
Best Way to Get in some Apres Sail
There’s no shortage of things to see and do ashore with stalls in along the front and in the yacht haven, plus Cowes boasts a host of clothing and lifestyle shops where you can indulge in some retail therapy, as well as many art galleries and antique shops. You can enjoy a coffee or long lunch at one of the many pubs or restaurants, pay a visit to Cowes Maritime Museum on Beckford Road, or the Sir Max Aitken Museum on the High Street. Or hop on the floating bridge to East Cowes and visit Osborne House, once Queen Victoria’s holiday home.
Best Places for Live Music
Cowes Yacht Haven has the largest live music venue, with live music every night that includes a host of very good local bands and Cowes Parade also has a stage and live music from midday every day until 10.30pm.
Shephard’s Wharf is the official public site dedicated to crews, friends and family, and it’s just a few minutes’ walk from the high street (near the chain ferry) on Medina Road with live acoustic acts, delicious food and a great selection of beers and cocktails. Last year this venue hosted the 151 Club from Chelsea, and the Mount Gay Red Cap party.
The Anchor pub in the High Street has a comprehensive live music line up through the week and there will also be live music and magic from buskers in the High Street from around noon till 6pm.
My Isle of Wight Favourite
Make sure you head up to Northwood House to enjoy a drink whilst listening to some chilled out tunes in the Lawn Lounge Bar. Open between 11am and late, DJ’s play chilled Balearic-style lounge beats and there are relaxed acoustic sounds from top Island performers.
Set in the beautiful green space of Northwood Park, only a stone’s throw from all the main action, there’s a gin festival in the spacious stretch marquee bar or on the House lawn this Cowes Week with Gin and Jazz evenings , so dress to impress. northwoodhouse.org
During the day you can take the kids to the traditional Victorian funfair with rides such as the carousel, mini train, chairoplane or helter skelter. Or have ago at climbing a spectacular 25 metre high Turkey Oak tree in Northwood Park with Goodleaf Tree Climbing. Book via the Goodleaf website or simply turn up and climb (subject to availability). Tree climbers must be aged 8 and over.
On Wednesday and Sunday there are outdoor film screenings from The Extraordinary Travelling Film Theatre (TBC) travellingfilmshow.co.uk
Shoreside highlights 2018
Whether you're a competitor at Lendy Cowes Week, are interested in watching the racing, or simply want to be involved in the festival atmosphere of the event, there are loads of things to see and do. Here are some of the events that are taking place in 2018...
- Details TBC
Sunday 5th - Family Day
- Family Day 2018 will take place on Sunday with lots to do for the whole family.
- Details TBC
Tuesday 7th - Ladies Day
- Celebrating the achievements of women in sailing on Ladies Day, will take place on Tuesday.
- Details TBC
- Details TBC
Friday 10th - Fireworks Finale
- Click here for details of Red Funnel's excursions to watch the fireworks.
For more information see: http://www.lendycowesweek.co.uk/
Travelling to Cowes Week couldn't be easier from anywhere in the UK or abroad.
Our Red Jet Hi-Speed service operates between Southampton and West Cowes (the heart of the regatta) with sailings from early morning until late at night. The crossing takes just 23-25 minutes, with departures every 20 minutes at peak times.
Getting to Southampton is a doddle with excellent train and coach links to/from London (1hr:20m), Birmingham, Reading, Cardiff, Bristol, Salisbury, Weymouth, Bournemouth and Brighton. The city has its own airport with regular flights to most UK cities in the north and many European capitals. If arriving at London Heathrow or London Gatwick airports, National Express operate scheduled coach services to Southampton. For Red Funnel customers a FREE bus service called Quayconnect operates between Southampton Central and the ferry terminals at Town Quay.
The city is also easy to reach by road via the M3, A34 and M27, there is plenty of long-stay car parking near the ferry terminals.