Plan Ahead: Cowes Week

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The Independent Online
COWES WEEK from 30 July to 6 August will be again be a busy occasion this year, both on the water and off it, with a full programme of yacht racing and entertainment.

Some 800 yachts have entered in six handicapped classes and 17 one-design classes, ensuring plenty of excellent spectating. The daily programme involves a race for each class at five-minute intervals from the start line in front of the Royal Yacht Squadron. This year up to 60 Etchells are expected, together with about 70 XODs, which will provide a spectacular sight when they race. Deep water comes right to the shore, so it is possible to view at close quarters.

Other vantage points to the west of Cowes include The Green and the promenade towards Gurnard. There are two finishing lines to avoid congestion. The promenade at East Cowes affords views of the one-design classes, like the XODs, Dragons and Flying Fifteens, as they race home. The Cowes spectator guide will be on sale to help distinguish between the various classes.

Medina Borough Council, the local authority, also organises several entertainments to complement the sailing. There will be entertainment every night in addition to the Cowes Week Ball at the local Northwood House on 3 August. The fireworks display, held off west Cowes, and family party is on 5 August. The Isle of Wight tourism office, in Newport, provides a general accommodation guide and Cowes Tourist Information Centre can assist with all types of accommodation in the immediate area.