Cowes Week returns on 6-13 August 2016 on the Isle of Wight. Here's your guide to one of the UK's longest running and most successful sporting events!

Cowes Week is one of the longest running sailing regattas in the world, attracting thousands of professional and amateur sailors every year.

Throughout the week, between 800-1,000 boats will compete daily in up to 40 different handicap, one-design and multihull classes.

Cowes Week

Racing at Cowes Week. Credit Rick Tomlinson


This mixture of racing attracts tens of thousands of people to the regatta every year.

Several classes that raced more than 50 years ago are still racing today.

These include Dragons, Flying Fifteens, Redwings, Sea View Mermaids, Solent Sunbeams, Swallows, Victories and X-one-designs.

New classes are also introduced as they increase in popularity.

This year, the new Fast 40+ class is choosing the regatta as one of its five core events for its first season.

The class encompasses 14 very light displacement high-performance yachts, with IRC ratings in a narrow band between 1.210 and 1.270, chosen to deliver fast and close inshore racing.

The fleet includes a pair of Carkeek 40 MKIIs, three Ker 40+, five GP42s, one highly optimised Ker 40 and an HH42.

A strict owner/driver rule, with only five professional sailors allowed in the 11-strong crew, ensures that the skill of the owners is a vital part of each boat’s success.

Cowes Week 2015

Up to 40 races each day. Credit Rick Tomlinson


Each day of Cowes Week 2016 will feature a theme

  • 6 August:   Focus on Sustainable Boating.
  • 7 August:   Family Day will celebrate the many family-related aspects of the regatta.
  • 8 August:   UKSA Day will celebrate our official event charity, UKSA.
  • 9 August:   Ladies Day will celebrate women in sailing.
  • 10 August: Youth Day will be used as an opportunity to celebrate youth involvement.
  • 11 August: The Artemis Challenge and a display from the Red Arrows.
  • 12 August: The Cowes Week iconic fireworks display.
  • 13 August: Finale at the end of the week’s racing with the overall prize-giving,
Cowes Week fireworks

Cowes Week iconic fireworks display. Credit Rick Tomlinson


Read sailor Rupert Holmes’ top tips to enjoying Cowes Week.

Cowes Week Details

Date: Saturday, 6 August to Saturday 13 August 2016

Location: Cowes, Isle of Wight

How to get there

Ferry Services:

There are regular ferries to and from the Isle of Wight, and it is advisable to book your ticket early.

There is very limited parking in Cowes and it is essential to book for the car ferry service.

Note that a discount of 10% is available on Red Funnel car ferry bookings made prior to the end of June.

Red Funnel ferry to Isle of Wight
Red Funnel

Red Funnel runs services over 2 routes to and from the Island.

Red Jet Hi-Speed: Southampton to West Cowes (passenger only). Runs every 30 minutes throughout the day, journey time approx. 23 minutes.

Passenger/Vehicle Ferry: (Southampton to East Cowes). Operates 24 hours a day, journey time approx. one hour.

Both services connect to a free bus service from Southampton Central Rail Station.


Wightlink runs services over three routes to and from the Isle of Wight.

Portsmouth to Ryde Pier Head (Fast Cat Passenger Service). Journey time approx. 22 minutes.
Portsmouth to Fishbourne (Car and Passenger Service). Journey time approx. 40 minutes.
Lymington to Yarmouth (Car and Passenger Service). Journey time approx. 30 minutes.


Hovertravel operate the Southsea to Ryde Esplanade Hovercraft passenger service. The journey takes less than 10 minutes.

The service runs frequently, seven days a week for foot passengers.

Blue Funnel

Blue Funnel will be running  a service between Lymington and Cowes between 8-12 August. It is also running three special cruises during Cowes Week. They will be held on 8, 9 and 11 August.

The six-hour cruise includes two hours ashore in Cowes to have a look around.


It is no surprise that berthing during Cowes Week is in high demand and should be organised as soon as possible.

Berthing at Cowes Week

Book early for berthing. Credit Rick Tomlinson


More details are available on the mooring page of the event website.

One-design classes should contact their class secretary as berthing is arranged on a fleet basis in many cases.

For other classes, the main berthing providers are:

East Cowes Marina
Telephone: +44 (0)1983 293 983

Cowes Harbour Commission
(Moorings & Trots, Shepards Wharf Marina and Venture Quays)
Telephone: +44 (0)1983 297 821

Cowes Yacht Haven
Telephone: +44 (0)1983 299 975

Travel from overseas:

For overseas visitors, the nearest airports are Southampton or Bournemouth (Hurn), with London airports within easy reach by taxi or train.

For more information visit