Cowes can fill Olympics void

2012 has delivered a fantastic ‘Best of British’ atmosphere over the last few months. The Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympic Games have started the patriotic waves, and they are set to continue at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, and this time the waves are being created in The Solent.

Cowes Week is as much about getting involved in the activity on the water as it is off and I will be there for the week keeping you informed of all the news and action at the world’s most iconic sailing regatta.

On the water, approximately 8,000 sailors will take part in the week’s racing, with a schedule of one race per day. The competitors range from beginners to weekend sailors to Olympic and world-class professionals, and the spirit of the event is very much ‘have a go’.

The boats are split into fleets, some are one design, in which all boats are the same, and others use a handicap system and are divided into boats of similar speeds. The majority of the fleets will start using the Royal Yacht Squadron starting line, a tricky place to start for the sailors but a fantastic sight for the spectators. As part of a legacy programme for British sailing, Aberdeen Asset Management is introducing a new trophy for the best teams under 25-years-old, encouraging young crews to take part and compete against each other.

This year, Aberdeen is introducing a daily prize-giving for certain fleets each evening, and Aberdeen has run a junior art competition for children, with prizes for those under-16 and under-10 years of age.

My top things not to miss:

Cowes Week Radio can be found on 87.7FM; the live commentary starting at 10am provides information for the sailors and spectators alike.

The Yacht Haven is the place to be seen, it hosts the beer tent, the entertainment stage and a number of eating and drinking establishments. A must-visit venue for soaking up the atmosphere, celebrity spotting or enjoying a post sailing drink.

The Black Knights Royal Artillery Parachute Display team will be jumping into the water around 7.30pm tomorrow, which is best viewed from the parade.

The British Olympic Sailing Team visit Cowes on Friday, with 2008 and 2012 Olympic medallists Paul Goodison, Nick Dempsey, Bryony Shaw, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark. They will be taking part in Match Racing Races, try sailing sessions, and be on stage at Cowes Parade at 2pm and Cowes Yacht Haven from 3pm.

The official charity, Toe in the Water, is hosting a Heroes and Legends party on Friday 17th August at Shepards Wharf Marina contact info@toeinthewater.org, and the traditional Cowes Week Fireworks will take place at 9.30pm.