With a selection of attractions there was something for everyone. Once again, the teas on the lawn were enjoyed especially in the first part of the week when the weather was at its best. Across from the lawn the 100- foot giant wheel with its panoramic views over Cowes, a good part of the Island and the Hampshire coast proved popular and next door the IW Gin Festival featured no less than 70 different Gins.
Pondwell is now the home of the Isle of Wight Distillery which produces Mermaid Gin (42%) as well as the stronger version HMS Victory Navy Strength (57%). Distiller Xavier Baker is currently trialling a strawberry Gin featuring Ben Brown’s Isle of Wight-grown fruit. During the week Mermaid Gin sampling took place around Cowes often with Mermaid Sophia handing out the tasters.
Other favourite gins to feature at the festival were Ophir- the official Gin of Lendy Cowes Week – and Salcombe Start Point from Devon with demonstrations of the Gin making and tastings through the week.
Ophir Gin is also an official supporter of Sunsail Charter Sailing. Their 30 strong fleet of Sunsail Match 40 yachts is chartered by various companies through the week and they have their own class in the regatta where boats compete for the Sunsail Challenge and the Lendy Finance Challenge. Overall winning boat for the Sunsail Challenge was ‘Tensing’ (a private equity company) which in the past represented Island based company Liz Earle. Second in the challenge was ‘Lendy’ and ‘Ophir’ third. Red Funnel 1 was placed 5th with some well-known Island residents in the crew during the week.
Having won each day, the team from ‘Tensing’ were not only the challenge champions but also took the Lendy Finance Challenge as well. Team ‘Lendy’ were second in this contest and ‘Investec’ third.
Sunsail were instrumental in bringing several Around the World female sailors to the regatta. Hosting a Q&A session the panel included Dee Caffari, Annie Lush and, straight from their success in the recent Clipper Race, race winning skipper Wendy Tuck and second place skipper Nikki Henderson. Wendy, who is the first female skipper to win the race, hails from Australia and Nikki, became the youngest skipper since Alex Thomson. Sunsail also had a day focused on their sailing activities in Croatia.
As an aside Lendy founder Liam Brooke was a one-time sailing instructor with Sunsail. This year Lendy has added 2 new products to its range. Under the Lendy Wealth banner investment will be via a diversified range of secured property loans. Each requires a minimum outlay of £50,000 with a 1 year notice account attracting a rate of up to 10% and up to 6% on the 60- day notice version.
On Thursday evening Northwood House was the venue for the Cowes Town Council reception hosted by Town Mayor Councillor Paul Fuller, who said it was an opportunity to thank people from the wider Cowes area who contribute to the wellbeing of the local community. Cllr Fuller added that he is making steady progress after his recent health problems and was gradually getting back into his official duties.
The pop-up regatta village on Cowes Parade had a good mix of stands, bars and eateries. 3 of the regatta’s sponsors had stands: Chatham, Ophir Gin and Westerhall Rum and the Lendy Stage had a good mix of music and acts to suit most tastes.
As in past years the Red Arrows undertook their display on Friday evening followed by the traditional fireworks. Different manoeuvres by the Red Arrows added excitement to their display which was able to take place on time with a last minute change in the weather.