From the year it started to the amount of glasses of bubbly consumed, find out some weird and wonderful facts about the biggest regatta in the world, Cowes Week.

1. Cowes Week started in 1826

cowes week by Turner
The regatta was advertised in the Southampton Town and Country Herald on 31 July 1826.
The race was to be held on 10 August and the entry fee for yachts of any rig or tonnage was £2. The value of the Gold Cup was £100.


2. The oldest class to race is the Mermaids

mermaids class racing at Cowes Week

The Mermaids class race started in 1907 and its the oldest of the regatta.


3. Female competitors

Libby Greenhalgh

Women make up a third of all competitors at Cowes Week and half of the visitors.
Ladies Day was introduced in 2006 to champion women in sailing.

In the last 10 years, there’s been a 150% increase in women skippers taking part.

Last year Libby Greenhalgh was the 10th winner of the Ladies Day Trophy.


4. Queen Victoria presents the Queen’s Cup

queen victoria
Queen Victoria presented the Queen’s Cup to the Royal Southampton Yacht Club in 1897, the year of the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee.


5. All those races make you thirsty!



Over 50,000 glasses of Nyetimber English sparkling wine will be drunk during this year’s Cowes Week to celebrate the successes of each day’s racing.


6. Big and small

Cowes Week


Small open day boats are referred to as the White Group whilst bigger boats – generally with cabins – are referred to as the Black Group


7.  How big?!

football pitch
The total sail area of all boats racing at the regatta would cover around 24 football pitches with sail cloth.


8. Processing the results is not an easy task

Cowes Week - Sunsail yacht racing
During an average regatta, over 8,000 finishing times, protests, declarations, retirements and disqualifications are processed. Out of these 150 will be protests.


9. Art inspiration

Raoul Dufy Regatta At Cowes

In the 20s and 30s, French painter Raoul Dufy created several artworks depicting the Cowes Week races and the Royal Yacht Squadron club.

One of his most famous paintings, Regatta at Cowes, hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. .

10. And the largest class is…

Cowes Week XOD Class

The largest class to race in the history of Cowes Week is the XOD fleet – in 2011 (the class centenary year) 146 boats entered.

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