Aerial photo of yachts racing in Cowes Week on the Solent, Isle of Wight, Hampshire
© Peter Barritt/Alam
Race to the finish. Cowes Week
Welcome to the Solent, the strait between the Isle of Wight and England’s south coast on which up to 1,000 boats, crewed by 8,000 competitive sailors, take part in 40 races a day during Cowes Week. The world’s oldest and largest sailing regatta has been entertaining the crowds here every year since the first race involving just seven yachts in 1826 – with the exception of the war years and the 2020 Covid pandemic.
One of the UK’s longest-running sporting events, it includes competitors of all levels, from Olympic medal-winning yachtsmen and women to amateur weekend sailors and all sorts of boats from ultra-modern yachts to 100-year-old wooden boats and small dinghies.
You can grab some binoculars and watch from the shore or board a spectator boat to get closer to the action. It’s also known for its fireworks display and festival atmosphere, attracting more than 100,000 visitors to the small town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight’s north coast.