Sailing and the Isle of Wight
- Sat, 20 Apr 2013
The Isle of Wight is famed for its sailing pedigree and is home to many of Britain's best sailors. Surrounded by the famously challenging waters of the Solent, the Isle of Wight has historically hosted (and continues to host) many of the world's most popular sailing events including the ever-growing Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, both starting from Cowes and both drawing participants of all levels, from keen amateurs to Olympic champions from all over the world.
Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week is a tradition which stretches back to 1826 and still takes place around the beginning of August each year. Cowes Week lays claim to being the world's largest sailing regatta of its kind, regularly attracting around 8,500 competitors and over 100,000 spectators. As one of the UK's most successful and long-standing sporting events, Cowes Week is renowned for its unique atmosphere and great mix of competitive sailing, parties and live entertainment. The spectacular firework finale is traditionally held on the last Friday of the regatta and always attracts a big crowd of appreciative spectators.
The JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is a one-day event that takes place every June and attracts over 1,700 yachts and 16,000 sailors, all keen to challenge themselves and their equipment in a circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight, starting and finishing off Cowes. Every year, thousands of spectators take to the water and flock to the many Island and mainland vantage points along the route to watch the incredible sight as thousands of yachts jostle for position whilst passing some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world, including the iconic Needles rocks.
Another favourite is the Yarmouth old Gaffers Festival which traditionally takes place in the Spring in the small, picturesque harbour town of Yarmouth. During the event, Yarmouth harbour fills with over 100 traditional sailing, steam and motor vessels, including the cream of the Old Gaffers fleet. The vessels compete in a series of races in the Solent before returning to Yarmouth harbour in a stunning display of colour and tradition; combined with the variety of entertainment and events on-shore, the Old Gaffers Festival is a firm favourite with the thousands of annual spectators and competitors.