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Cowes Week – so much more than just a sailing regatta

Since 1826 Cowes Week has played a key part in the British sporting summer calendar and is one of the UK’s longest running and most successful sporting events

Cowes Week is one of the longest-running sporting events in the UK, having started in 1826 and run every year since apart from the World Wars. It originates from King George IV’s passion for yachting with the first race held in August 1826.

It actually runs for 8 days and this year two of our Banana Crumble Team were lucky enough to attend the event. 

The town of Cowes really comes to life both onshore and offshore. The streets are decorated with bunting and the promenade turns into a hub of activity with nautical based stalls, bars, entertainment and local produce. It is not every day that you get a competition for tying knots in the fastest time!! The week brings many thousands of tourists to the island for what is in effect a free spectacular for all to watch.

We were able to listen to five times Olympic Gold medalist, Ben Ainslie and his wife Georgie explain how they are working on a project alongside youngsters to help bring the America’s Cup back to the UK. They support the 1851 Trust to provide free STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) teaching resources. They recognise that not enough talented young people choose careers in this field and so want to harness the power of professional sport and to excite young people and challenge perceptions. As part of our visit we spoke to a well known member of their team and professional sailor Annie Lush. We will be running features on the 1851 Trust and about Annie Lush later in the week so keep your eyes peeled.

Cowes Week is hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and on Tuesday we saw the arrival of  HRH Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. Princes Anne was very jovial and chatty as she arrived at the jetty to have lunch and watch the event from the Yacht Club.

Over the week more than a 1000 boats and 8000 competitors took part. Whilst the sun shone for the majority of the event the wind was not always as strong as they would have liked, leading to a number of delayed starts.

We were fortunate to be guests for lunch at the Island Sailing Club with great views of the event from their balcony restaurant. We watched the boats gather prior to races and then heard first hand the sound of the live canon to get the various category of races underway.

An extremely enjoyable day and one we would encourage anyone to try and attend, remember it is free of charge to watch.  We came knowing very little about sailing and went away enlightened, not just about the sailing but about key projects and support that the sailing fraternity are trying to give back to the community.

The regatta started on 4th August and finishes today 11th August.

 

 

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