A POPULAR sailing event which was part of Cowes Week during its initial run in 2019, will not return to the Island for its restart next year.

Cowes will be replaced by Plymouth as the UK's host location for SailGP’s season two European run when the global league’s events restart in 2021.

Following the season launch in San Francisco in April and New York in June, the championship will return to UK shores on July 17 and 18, and will once again feature the world’s fastest sail racing.

The Grand Prix race series, which featured six teams during its inaugural campaign, was established by former America’s Cup holders Sir Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison, the American tech billionaire responsible for bankrolling the event.

Isle of Wight County Press: Map of the SailGP race area at Cowes Week in 2019Map of the SailGP race area at Cowes Week in 2019

Last year's spectacular race took centre stage in the Solent, just off Egypt Point in Cowes.

The UK event — which was witnessed by 24,000 spectators and reached a global audience of 231 million — was loaded with dramatic scenes despite inclement weather conditions.

In front of enthusiastic crowds, the US SailGP team capsized in spectacular fashion and both Great Britain and Australia made history by eclipsing speeds never before seen in sail racing.

Isle of Wight County Press: GB Olympic hero Ben Ainsley. Credit Robin CrossleyGB Olympic hero Ben Ainsley. Credit Robin Crossley

Among the league stars is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie, who will give the home crowd something to cheer about at the British event.

SailGP chief executive, Sir Russell Coutts, said: “We are really excited to add Plymouth as the third event in Season two of SailGP.

"The British have a very talented team led by Ben Ainslie and I’m sure they will receive a lot of local support in their bid for the global championship."