Cowes Sailing Week Essential Guide

Cowes Week racing

Lendy Cowes Week is nearly upon us, so it’s time to take a closer look at what you can expect to see and do with Sunsail’s essential guide. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor, an avid spectator or a first-timer, the Glastonbury of sailing has something for everyone, without the mud, so read on to find out how to make the most of it.

The Lendy Cowes Week Essentials

One of the most iconic, well-known and longest running regattas on the planet, the sailing world flocks to the Solent waters off Cowes on the Isle of Wight for eight days between the 4th August and the 11th August this year.

Around 1,000 boats, split across 40 different classes, will compete daily, from professionally crewed carbon fibre record breakers to amateur enthusiasts in classic, traditional craft, the full spectrum of keelboat culture will come out to play.

That's not all, on top of approximately 8,000 competitors, up to 100,000 people will visit, watch the racing and immerse themselves in the unique festival culture that takes over the entire town. Expect parties and evening entertainment to start early and finish late, every night, as an array of bars, pubs and restaurants spring to life and get in on the act.

The best things for spectators to do:

Watch some yacht racing

Every day at Cowes Week offers unique opportunities, but the best way to start the day is to take in a bit of the action. Whether you park yourself on the start line near the highly esteemed Royal Yacht Squadron, or jump on a RIB to get out on the water and close to the action, we highly recommend you take in as many different classes as you can during your visit. 

Hang out in the official race village

The race village is full of great pop-up bars and food stalls, as well as a stage featuring live entertainment day and night. A good space to relax and people watch during the day, it really comes into its own each evening as thirsty sailors bound up the pontoons, weather beaten, exhausted and in need of beer and banter.

Stroll through lively Cowes

Explore the post-card perfect town of Cowes, complete with cobbled high street and a colourful array of bars, pubs, shops and restaurants. You’ll find the streets are bustling during Cowes Week, from morning ‘till night.

New for 2018

Double handed racing

A double-handed racing class will debut this year, with organisers developing appropriate yet challenging courses for this type of yacht racing in line with the growing popularity of this discipline.

Sustainability Initiative

Cowes Week Ltd have implemented a new sustainability initiative for Lendy Cowes Week 2018 with plans to;

  • Ban plastic straws from the event
  • Drastically reduce the use of single use plastics
  • Implement more water filling stations and recycling facilities.

Working with the 1851 Trust to run hands-on sustainability workshops for young people.

Cowes Week 2018 daily highlights

Family Day, Sunday 5th August 2018

Cowes High Street comes to life, keeping the kids entertained between 11am and 6pm with live music, entertainers and face-painting, with families getting special rates on spectator boats.

Charity Day, Monday 6th August 2018

This year’s official charity for Lendy Cowes Week is the 1851 Trust. An organisation dedicated to inspiring the future generation to become innovators and caretakers of the environment. The 1851 Trust will be hosting activities throughout the day including gutter boat racing.

So look out for all of the fun ways you can get involved in supporting this great charity both on the day and throughout the week.

Lendy Ladies Day, Tuesday 7th August 2018

A day dedicated to celebrating women in sailing on the 100th of anniversary of a successful struggle for the right to vote, it is traditional for women to wear Breton stripes on the day to show their support. Keep an eye out for appearances and talks featuring some of the greatest women to ever set foot aboard a yacht.

The day will culminate at an exclusive reception announcing the winner of the Ladies day Trophy. Nominees for this year are Sunsail ambassador Dee Caffari, Volvo Ocean Race sailor Libby Greenhalgh, Olympian Lucy MacGregor, trend-setting Tracy Edwards and inspirational blind sailor Lucy Hodges. 

Youth Day, Wednesday 8th August 2018 

As well as continuing to offer a 50% reduced entrance fee for crews all under 25 years old for the regatta, Wednesday will officially be Youth Day. The 1851 Trust will be running a treasure hunt in the morning on Cowes Parade.

Red Arrows and Fireworks, Friday 10 August 2018

Turn your eyes to the skies on Friday as the Red Arrows come to town at 19.30, before the traditional regatta fireworks display brings the week to an explosive finale at 21.30. Make sure you get a good spot for viewing on Cowes Parade, the Cowes Yacht Haven pontoons or up the hill at Northwood House.

What Sunsail are up to?

Sunsail will be in the thick of the action all week as we take over the some of the Cowes Yacht Haven marina with our yachts and the first floor of the CYH Event Centre as our hospitality area and make it our home from home once again.

As usual we’ll be bringing our matched fleet of up to 30 Sunsail F40s over to compete in our own class throughout the week. Last year’s competition was fierce and we expect nothing less this year. To find out more see visit our dedicated event page.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the women’s vote in the UK and the Suffragette movement, Sunsail and Cowes Week are launching a fantastic new sailing initiative for female sailors wanting to experience sailing, the Lendy Jetts. The Lendy Jetts will be an all-female team racing on-board a Sunsail Match First 40 yacht during Lendy Cowes Week 2018. The initiative will see over 100 women sailing during the week, with the team welcoming both novice and experienced sailors alike. We will also be serving some Opihr gin to all ladies after a great day sailing.

We will be celebrating one of our most-loved destinations, Croatia on Wednesday 8th August . The Croatia Tourist Office will be joining us, giving out authentic food and wine, alongside our Dubrovnik base manager who can answer any questions you may have. We also have our Cowes Week competition, which is a 7-day bareboat charter to Marina Agana, Croatia, including 2 return flights, so be sure to enter here. We’ll also be raising money for the 1851 Trust every day by giving people the opportunity to donate while signing up for our competition.

One thing’s for sure, you can’t miss our stand right next to the beer tent, so come along for a chat whenever you like. For more information visit the official Lendy Cowes Week website.

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