Cowes Week the ideal cure for Olympics cold turkey

THOSE already breaking out in cold sweats at the thought of the Olympics drawing to a close: fear not, there is a place where elite sport and Britishness will flourish side-by-side beyond the weekend.

Cowes Week, the world’s most famous annual regatta, takes to the water on Saturday and promises to do more than just stave off those London 2012 withdrawal symptoms.

As ever, world-class racing is at the heart of the action, with the Artemis Challenge, featuring high-performance monohull IMOCA 60s darting around the Isle of Wight to claim £10,000 for charity, among the highlights.

But this year, in the hope of continuing the festive spirit that has lit up the Jubilee and Olympics, Cowes Week will showcase a Best of British theme.

Team GB’s sailors have already helped light up the Games by winning medals at Weymouth and Portland, with Ben Ainslie cementing his status as one of the country’s finest Olympians of all time by claiming a hard-fought fourth gold medal.

And 13 of them will be calling in at Cowes to show off their medals on Friday 17 August, including windsurfer Nick Dempsey, who on Tuesday earned silver to add to his bronze from the Athens Olympics eight years ago.

Also visiting will be men’s 470 duo Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, who are set to win gold or silver today, and their female counterparts Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills, who are in with a great chance of a medal in Friday’s final.

Cowes is of course as much about the social scene as the racing, and events such as the Vintage Great British Supper Party and the Mount Gay Red Cap Party are sure to draw a glamorous crowd, with Zara Phillips and Ewan McGregor among those to flock to the Isle in recent years.