is Cowes? | History
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Cowes Week is held at the beginning of August after
Glorious Goodwood. In 2008 it will take place from 2nd to 9th August. Around
8,500 competitors in over 1000 boats in up to forty different handicap,
one-design and multi-hull classes take part in this annual sailing regatta which
includes is a mixture of classic and modern designs including many classes which
have been racing for over 50 years such as Dragons, Flying Fifteens,
Redwings, Sea View Mermaids, Solent Sunbeams, Swallows, Victories and
X-one-designs with the competitors ranging from world class yachtsmen to
Cowes is on the Isle of Wight, a small island situated just
south of the UK mainland. It is the main port with a natural harbour
at the mouth of the Medina river which feeds into The Solent, the
body of water separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England. The
Solent is renowned as a training ground for sailing due to its
varied coastline and fierce tidal streams.
During Cowes week a large number of events and parties are
held onshore bringing crowds of revellers to the town which becomes a hive of
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History of the Regatta
The first race was held in 1826 for the prize of a “Gold Cup of the Value
of £100”. Only seven yachts took part under the flag of the Royal Yacht Club.
However the next year King George IV stamped his seal his approval of the event
by presenting a cup (the King’s Cup) and the event became known as Cowes Regatta
which was run as a three-day event and which subsequently became an essential
part of the social calendar attended by both British and foreign royal and
the nobility plus the rich and famous.
From 1946, other yachting clubs organised racing either side of the three days
and by 1953 it had grown to nine days of racing although each club still
ran its own event with its own sailing instructions, racing marks and start and
In 1964 Cowes Combined Clubs was formed to run and organise the regatta. This
body represented the seven clubs involved in managing the racing when the
universal start line, sailing instructions and racing marks were standardised
for the Week.
In 1995 Skandia came on board as title sponsors of the event and today, Cowes
Week is one of the UK’s longest running and most successful sporting events.