From the year it started to the amount of glasses of bubbly consumed, find out some weird and wonderful facts about the biggest regatta in the world, Cowes Week1. Cowes Week started in 1826
The regatta was advertised in the Southampton Town and Country Herald on 31 July 1826.
The race was to be held on 10 August and the entry fee for yachts of any rig or tonnage was £2. The value of the Gold Cup was £100.
2. The oldest class to race is the Mermaids
The Mermaids class race started in 1907 and it’s the oldest of the Cowes Week regatta.
3. Female competitors
Women make up a third of all competitors at Cowes Week and half of the visitors.
Ladies Day was introduced in 2006 to champion women in sailing.
In the last 10 years, there’s been a 150% increase in women skippers taking part.
In 2015 Libby Greenhalgh was the 10th winner of the Ladies Day Trophy.
4. Queen Victoria presented the Queen’s Cup
Queen Victoria presented the Queen’s Cup to the Royal Southampton Yacht Club in 1897, the year of the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee.
5. All those races make you thirsty!
Over 50,000 glasses of Nyetimber English sparkling wine are drunk during Cowes Week to celebrate the successes of each day’s racing.
6. Big and small
Small open day boats are referred to as the White Group whilst bigger boats – generally with cabins – are referred to as the Black Group
7. How big?!
The total sail area of all boats racing at the regatta would cover around 24 football pitches with sail cloth.
8. Processing the results is not an easy task
During an average regatta, over 8,000 finishing times, protests, declarations, retirements and disqualifications are processed. Out of these 150 will be protests.
9. Art inspiration
In the 20s and 30s, French painter Raoul Dufy created several artworks depicting the Cowes Week races and the Royal Yacht Squadron club.
One of his most famous paintings, Regatta at Cowes, hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. .
10. And the largest class is…
The largest class to race in the history of Cowes Week is the XOD fleet – in 2011 (the class centenary year) 146 boats entered.
11. Another massive yachting event was founded here: The America’s Cup!
When the New York Yacht Club staged a challenge race against the local Royal Yacht Squadron around the Isle of Wight in 1851, it sowed the seeds of the massive America’s Cup tournament we know and love today.
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12. It all ends with a beautiful bang
After a glorious eight days of sailing, Cowes Week traditionally concludes with a stunning fireworks display. In fact, Cowes Week has ended with a bang in this fashion for over 150 years.
13. Lots of people are going to be there
100,000 people are expected to descend on the Isle of Wight for Cowes Week this year. As well as the gripping sailing action, there’ll also be festival activities including live music and specially-themed days.
14. Anyone can register to race!
You don’t even have to have a boat, anyone can rent a boat and enter the race at Cowes. You could have a go too!
15. King George V loved Cowes Week
George V, otherwise known as ‘the first gentleman of England’ loved sailing and, of course, Cowes Week. Amongst the rich history of Cowes Week, the Prince Regent very much enjoyed the event as a hangout for his rich and influential friends.
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