Alan and Suzanne Whitewood report on the return of Cowes Week…
Cowes Town Mayor, Councillor Paul Bertie, had a busy Cowes Week but was disappointed his trip to the naval guardship HMS Lancaster was cancelled when she was deployed elsewhere. However, HMS Ledbury did anchor in Cowes Roads as planned and some of her crew enjoyed some time ashore.
Food and drink were on offer in the grounds of Northwood House and how good it was to see local staff being employed. Around 110 different gins could be sampled in the Festival of Gin organised by the Island’s own Mermaid brand. Mermaid Gin tasting and their new Salt Vodka were available around the town at various venues.
On the food front, ‘So Much Dough’ based in Newport/East Cowes were offering their hand-stretched woodfired (Birchwood actually) artisan pizzas from their converted horsebox. A selection of toppings atop of crispy bases were enjoyed by the many visitors to the Lawn Lounge.
Just around the corner from The Lawn Lounge the Northwood House Tea Garden was kept busy with the Northwood House volunteers serving their teas. At times there were displays of cars for visitors to enjoy.
Meanwhile, the official Gin of Cowes Week was provided by the Ginery 1651 with 4 different artisan gins crafted by master distiller Rob Murray and using between 11 and 16 botanicals. In their pop-up area on the Cowes Bandstand, off The Parade, crews and visitors could enjoy the selection of Gins as well as Cuvee450. Both The Ginery1651 and Cuvee450 were supporting sponsors of the regatta with Cuvee450 sponsoring the opening party for crews on Saturday.
One of the classes racing at Cowes was the ever-popular Sunsail yachts boasting their new fleet of F41s. These new yachts are larger than those previously used in the Sunsail Fleet and proved popular with crews. There was daily prizegiving in this class with a Trophy and Opihr Gin for the winners, who, on Monday, were the crew of ‘Don’t PaniK’.
HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was a keen sailor and regularly attended the regatta for almost 70 years. He was instrumental in the formation of Cowes Combined Clubs in 1964. To commemorate his life a minute’s silence was held on Thursday 5th August at 09:30. A gun salute by the Royal Navy’s Guardship, HMS Ledbury, marked the start and finish of the tribute.
The Duke’s racing yacht ‘Bluebottle’ made a return to sailing at Cowes. Having undergone an extensive refit by David Heritage of Cowes this Dragon Class classic enjoyed success with winning her first three races. She is normally based in Leith, Edinburgh as part of the Royal Yacht Britannia displays.
Another supporting sponsor Chatham Marine had their usual pop-up shop on The Parade where there was also a stand displaying Isle of Wight produced products and crafts.
Come 2026, Cowes Week will celebrate its 200th anniversary with racing spread over 2 weeks -26th July to 7th August in order to accommodate a wide range of classes including Flying 15s, J class and Super Maxis.
Sadly, the parachute display by REME on Friday 6th August was cancelled, as was the Spitfire flypast. Racing was also cancelled due to the weather – https://www.islandecho.co.uk/away-resorts-announces-600million-merger-with-aria-resorts/.
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