ONE OF the biggest and most popular events on the Island’s events calendar — Cowes Week — is back with a bang tomorrow (Saturday).

With around 500 boats and with the iconic Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) cannons firing every five minutes from 10.30am daily, it promises to be another spectacular week of boat racing. 

Cowes Week remains one of the most important sailing regattas in the world and, despite seeing international entries down as a result of Covid, competitors are coming from as far afield as Hong Kong and Australia to compete in it.

The event continues to offer racing for almost 40 classes each day, with 50 XODs —celebrating a century of racing at Cowes Week — with almost the same number of J70s and a very strong fleet of the new Mark Mills-designed Cape 31s also set to feature on the start line. 

Isle of Wight County Press: Cowes Week 2021. Photo: Paul WyethCowes Week 2021. Photo: Paul Wyeth

This year, there will be about 30 starts off the RYS line each day, which traditionally proves to be a huge attraction for visitors. 

The boats will either head west, which often means lots of tacking up and down The Green, or head east, with colourful spinnakers flying.

For 2022, there is also the opportunity to try out sailing over the first four days, with Cowes-based UKSA working with Cowes Week organisers to offer hour-long sailing taster sessions — each run by fully qualified coaches, making it the perfect opportunity to get out on the water and see what all the fuss is about for the absolute beginner.

The Scaramouche Sailing Trust and Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) are Cowes Week’s official charities this year.

JST will have their training ship, Tenacious, at Trinity Landing, which can be explored for a small donation.

Isle of Wight County Press: Cowes Week 2021. Photo: Paul WyethCowes Week 2021. Photo: Paul Wyeth  

The Scaramouche Sailing Trust have done ground-breaking work with Greig City Academy in London to open up sailing to a whole new group of young people. 

“Last year, one of the Scaramouche teams were trophy winners, so we expect great things from their entry, Cote, in the Quarter Ton class this year,” said a Cowes Week spokesperson.

Island resident Steve Cole, from the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), will be principal race officer for the first four days, with the Cowes Town Regatta committee will run racing from the Royal Yacht Squadron battlements.

The Regatta Village on The Parade will offer free entertainment for competitors and spectators alike, with live bands every evening until 11pm. 

Isle of Wight County Press: The crowds were out for Cowes Week last year.The crowds were out for Cowes Week last year.

For competitors there is an opening party, sponsored by Mount Gay Rum, a gala ball on Wednesday, then the overall prizegiving and closing party on Friday, August 5.

While racing finishes on the Friday, Cowes Week are working with the local Solent Platinum Jubilee committee to put on a day of celebrations on Saturday, August 6, which includes a fleet review past the RYS.