A key change to Cowes Week this year is that all racing will finish on Friday 6th August followed by the overall prize giving in the early evening. There has also been a dramatic shift in the start sequence with up to 25 starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) line each day, bringing the racing action closer to shore for spectators.
For 2021 there will be no annual Friday night fireworks display, nor the sight and sound of the Red Arrows overhead – 2 big attractions that pull in the wider crowds.
On the Water
One of the best locations to watch the starts each morning is the area around the RYS. Racing is scheduled to start at 10:00 every day.
From the RYS line you can see who got the best start and which boats were over the line. If you are very near the RYS you can also hear the race officers giving their countdowns and calling the starts from the battlements. In the afternoon, head along the Green towards Egypt Point to watch the fleet as they finish.
Cowes Radio provides live on the water commentary of sailing, giving minute-by-minute information. This is broadcast live from the commentary boat with race experienced commentators, or ashore from the starting platform of the RYS.
On the water, this year’s Cowes Week will see the biggest fleet of Sonar One designs for more than a decade gathering for the UK Sonar National Championship which is being run as part of the Regatta. Sailed by individuals of all abilities, from novice and experienced crews, both with mixed genders and sailors with disabilities, the Sonar fleet in Cowes boasts the largest fleet of 14 boats based between the Island Sailing Club (ISC) and Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club (CCYC).
The initiative to revive the class is being driven by the Andrew Cassell Foundation (ACF) and the CCYC and supported by Sussex Yacht Club (SYC). The locally based boats are expected to be joined by four boats from SYC, and ACF and it is hoped that some more UK boats/charter boats will enter which could bring a total fleet of 20+ boats, making the event as large as the 2019 World Championships held in America. The fleet will contest the Championship over seven races, competing for ‘The Bank Sails Trophy’.
Regatta Village on Cowes Parade will feature the Cowes Week Clubhouse and Crew Bar, providing a welcoming hub for all. Displays will include the 1851 Trust (engaging young people with science through cutting edge technology), Chatham Marine with their ever-popular footwear and the British Virgin Islands Tourist Office.
As ever, Northwood Park will host the Northwood House Tea Garden, Lawn Lounge & Gin Festival and evening entertainment.
Throughout Cowes High Street, based at various locations, there will be music, entertainers and artists offering face painting and glitter tattoos.
Take a few paces off the High Street or via Red Funnel’s Fountain Yard and enter Cowes Yacht Haven where you will find not only bars and the new Food Hall but live entertainment daily. The Musto Bar will be a focal point and the Pontoon View Bar and food outlet – located in front of the main Cowes Yacht Haven buildings – will offer Island produced foods, thus supporting local businesses.
Sunday 1st August sees Family Pirate Day with special entertainment for children all the way through Cowes and families can get special discounts on the Spectator Boat bookings. The following day, Monday, is Charity Day. This year’s chosen charity is Scaramouche Sailing Trust which gives the opportunity for young people to learn to sail.
Onto Tuesday and it’s Ladies Day which celebrates the contribution and achievement of women in sailing and recognises some of the major successes of women in the sport. Members of the public can join in by wearing navy/white clothing with the chance to win a spot prize and money off footwear vouchers at the Chatham pop-up shop.
Wednesday is Youth Day at Cowes Week and is presented by Antigua Sailing Week. This day will be focusing on the next generation of sailors whilst
Friday will see the REME Lightning Bolt Parachute Display planned (weather permitting) at 20:30 (cancelled).