Isle of Wight

Cowes Week – Fascinating Facts

Fascinating facts about this famous regatta.

Much missed last year, Cowes Week is going to be back for 2021.  Starting on Saturday 31st July it runs until Friday 23rd July.  Here are some fascinating facts you may not know about this iconic sailing regatta.

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ss varvassi

SS Varvassi

ss varvassi

The SS Varvassi was a 3.874-ton Greek merchant steamship that became infamous for running aground off the Needles Lighthouse, Isle of Wight on January 5th 1947.

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summer solstice sailing

Summer Solstice Sailing

Summer Solstice Sailing on the Solent

One of the Lovesail members is planning to organise an around the island social sail on the weekend of the summer solstice.  If you are interested then please log into your Lovesail account and drop solent_swinger a line.


19th – 21st June  2015

Celebrate Summer’s longest day with a lazy circumnavigation of the IOW.

SLOTHS AROUND THE SOLENT is your much-needed antidote to all that racing and rushing about. Don’t shout “Starboard”, when you can whisper, “More Spritzer!”

Suggested Itinerary

Friday 19th pm tide to Alum Bar – beach barbeque and/or raft up.  Saturday 20th round the island, maybe lunch-hook at White Cliff, onward to anchor outside Bembridge (Seaview) for dinner or brunch ashore at Baywatch Cafe.  Home on Sunday, drowsily.

All Love Sailors invited: – crew get your skippers sorted. Skippers – relax, and await provisions.

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round the island yacht race

Round the Island Yacht Race

The annual Round the Island Yacht Race is organized by the Island Sailing Club. Since 2005, it has been sponsored by JP Morgan Asset Management. Beginning and ending in Cowes, the date that it takes place depends on the tides. It is usually held during the month of June, although it may be held in late May or early July if the sea refuses to cooperate with the traditional timetable.

Round the Island Yacht Race 2014

This year, the Round the Island Yacht Race will be held on 21 June 2014. It will begin and end at Cowes. The event is expected to attract around 16,000 sailors and more than 1,700 vessels. Whether they are watching in person or via the live commentary on the website, spectators will have the opportunity to watch world-class racers in action.

Most craft will take several hours to complete the course. The current record for a multihull boat is held by Sir Ben Ainslie on JP Morgan BAR in 2013 and stands at 2 hours, 52 minutes and 15 seconds. For a monohull craft, the current record is three hours, 43 minutes and 50 seconds, set by Mike Slade on ICAP Leonard, also in 2013.

Race History

The first race took place in 1931 with 25 entries. It was run at the suggestion of Island Sailing Club Member, Major Cyril Windeler, who proposed an event suitable for craft in the 5 to 25-ton category. The Gold Roman Bow, as the trophy is known, was lifted by Peter Brett, who competed in a 22-foot Cornish fishing boat he purchased for £45.

Two years later, the 1933 race was punctuated by drama when the Rosemary IV, leading the race under Isaac Bell, lost her mainsail right before the finish line. The crew frantically raised a trysail and finished 46 seconds ahead of the Felise. Not far away, the Enid, a 32-year-old cutter captained by Dr RT Cooke, sprang a leak and ultimately sank off Alum Bay, near the southwest corner of the IOW near the delicate rock formation known as the Needles.

Charity Fundraising

The race provides an opportunity for spectators to donate to the official race charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Supporters may also sponsor their favourite crew via the JustGiving website.

round the island yacht race


Related Articles: Round the Island Race; Round the Island

round the island race

Round the Island Race

Round the Island Race, 1st June 2013, Cowes, Isle of Wight

The Round the Island Race has been scheduled a little earlier this year on 1st June 2013.  You still have a few days to enter, but standard entries will close at midnight on Saturday 11th May 2013.

Latest news about this years’ Round the Island Race

Amongst the competitors for this years Round the Island Race, there will be two Sirs (including a 4 times Olympic gold medallist), one Dame, two Members of the Order of the British Empire and various world record holders!  Sir Ben Ainslie, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Dee Caffari MBE, Helena Lucas MBE, Alex Thomson, Mike Golding will all be taking part this year along with the 1600 other sailing enthusiasts.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is the official Round the Island Race Charity.  It helps young people aged between 8-24 regain their confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illness. There will be Trust representatives on hand in the Race Village over the weekend.  they will provide details about how your donations will help young people from hospitals throughout the UK experience life-changing sailing trips.

To gain some local knowledge and be one step ahead of other competitors, why not join Sailing Logic’s pre-race Masterclass on May 25th.  Tim Thubron will talk you through the tidal gates and how they will affect you, the tide patterns and eddies and highlight key hazards to avoid such as the wreck!  He will also cover reading the weather forecast and preparing your boat for the Race as well as racing rules and how to apply them.

Timex is holding a winch grinding competition for anyone who thinks they can flex their muscles the best.  You could win yourself a watch worth £245.  Find them in the Race Village.

Old Pulteney will be holding various whiskey tasting session.  To try the tipple find them at the Raymarine weather briefing on Friday night or in the Race Village throughout the weekend.

Last, and by absolutely no means the least, Sir Ben will be signing posters.  It doesn’t say what posters, let’s hope they are of him and not his AC45 catamaran J.P. Morgan BAR!  Catch him after the Round the Island Race on Saturday at 17:00 for the signing at the Henri Lloyd stand in the Race Village.


round the island race


Other related articles Round the Island Yacht RaceSailing Dates

Image: TH Martinez/Sea&Co/onEdition; free for editorial use.


The Old Gaffers Festival

Old Gaffers Festival!

Old Gaffers Festival.  Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight is the setting for the 3-day Festival running from 31st May – 2 June 2013

old gaffers festivalGaffers are sailing boats with a gaff rig, a sailing rig (configuration of sails) in which the sail is four-cornered.  So-called after the gaff, or spar pole that holds the sail up.

This annual festival sees around 100 gaffers partaking in various races around Yarmouth’s picturesque harbour.  There are shoreline activities for visitors including music, dancing, beer tent, refreshments, circus workshops, RNLI Lifeboat and Search and Rescue Helicopter and much much more.

The WightLink ferry docks at Yarmouth so a good choice if you are thinking of visiting the festival

For more information visit this guide to the Isle of Wight

Lovesail will be attending the festival so look out for us and feel free to ask us any questions about the site.

Related Articles: Yarmouth Old Gaffers, Old Gaffers

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