Cowes Week returns on 29 July - 5 August 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.

Last year the then new Fast 40+ class chose 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.

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


How to follow Lendy Cowes Week:


Cowes Week fireworks

Cowes Week iconic fireworks display. Credit Rick Tomlinson

Watch ashore:

The best place to watch the regatta is between the Castle of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the cannons – but beware, it gets a little noisy! From this point you can see the start. You can also hear the race officers giving their countdowns and calling the starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron battlements. Watch the fleet as they finish at the Green towards Egypt Point in the afternoon.

Watch on a boat:

One of the most fun ways to watch the regatta is on a Spectator Boat. Trips are an hour-long and depart 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm from Trinity Landing on Cowes Parade. They cost £12.50 for an adult and £8 for a child. More details about reserving places and offers for family groups are available here.

You can also watch from a RIB. RIB rides are available throughout the week with departures at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. They last an hour each and spectators can watch as close to the action as possible.Each trip costs £35 for an adult and £25 for a child. More details are available here.

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


Watch online:

If you can’t attend the event this year, you can watch it online. The races will be streamed on Lendy Cowes Week’s website from 29 July. You’ll be able to watch it by clicking on the below link (but remember that the link will live only from that date):

Cowes Week Details

Date: 29 July – 5 August

Location: Cowes, Isle of Wight

  • 29 July: Live music
  • 30 July: Family day
  • 31 July: Andrew Simpson Foundation Day (ASF)
  • 1 August: Ladies Day
  • 2 August: Youth Day
  • 3 August: Cowes Parade
  • 4 August: Red Arrows display and fireworks
  • 5 August: Cowes Parade


Continues below…


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.


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