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The Isle of Wight Cowes Week Regatta 2011 - It’s more than just yachts

1st July 2011 Print

First held in 1826, the Cowes Week regatta is one of the world’s oldest and most respected sailing regattas. The event takes place annually in the Isle of Wight town of Cowes and the surrounding waters of The Solent, attracting thousands of competitors from across the globe to race in what is widely considered to be the most prestigious sailing regatta in the world.

This yearly event brings around 100,000 yachting enthusiasts to the small town of Cowes, most hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the 8,500 competitors fighting it out in one of around 1,000 boats of all shapes and sizes competing in the regatta - which will be taking place this year between the 6th and the 13th of August. So what is there to do during Cowes week for those of us who are not so enamoured with idea of 7 days of watching boats? Well, you will be happy to hear there is plenty to keep you busy.

Although famous for the nautical exploits of the regatta, Cowes week is also famed for its on-shore entertainment and 2011 looks to be a great year for the regatta’s dry land festivities. With such a huge influx of regatta-goers invading the small port town for week, the tight streets of Cowes experience a buzzing festival atmosphere, with a multitude of events to help you let you hair down after a hard day of race watching. 

One of the main hubs of activity for the 2011 Cowes week will undoubtedly be the Cowes Yacht Haven. Entrance to the haven is free for most events and inside you will find the Mahiki Cowes Cocktail Bar, the perfect place to pick up a post race mojito and sit back and enjoy the view. The most exciting event at this year Yacht Haven is set to be a concert by legendary rock band Status Quo, who will be performing for one night only on the 3rd of August – the perfect opportunity to get your deck shoes moving to ‘Quo’ classics such as “Rocking all over the World” and “Whatever You Want.”

Throughout the rest of the town you will find many small events and shows peppering the Cowes high street, with local performers such as the ‘Folsom Prisoners’ and ‘Top Brass’ keeping the party atmosphere running in the centre of town. For those who like to dance get yourselves down to Club Infernos at Shepards Wharf where you could be getting your groove on at one of the many themed parties, such as the ‘Miami Vice 80’s Party’ or ‘Brit Pop 90’s Party.’

The most iconic event of any Cowes Week has traditionally been the spectacular firework display which takes place on the final Friday night of the regatta and marks the end of the event. The fireworks are enjoyed by more than 75,000 people each year and represent a great community event and a stunning crescendo to the Cowes week experience.

If you think that a visit to Cowes Week Regatta might be for you then be sure to book your accommodation as soon as possible, as space is often tight with rooms booked out months in advance. You can travel to the Cowes on the Red Funnel Isle of Wight ferry which sails regularly from Southampton to the island.