Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Crew enjoy the Cowes Week racing action. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson.
by Michelle Warner
You don't need to be a professional sailor to race at Cowes Week. Each year, the world's best-known sailing regatta welcomes thousands of amateur sailors to race alongside Olympic medallists and World Champions. If you have some sailing experience and would like to join the 1,000 boat fleet under cannon fire from the historic and prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron, there are many ways to get involved.
The Cowes Week Crew Forum is a great way for sailors to secure a position on one of the competing boats. Just visit the Cowes Week website to register your details and view some of the available positions.
If you have less experience, both Sunsail and Ondeck have their own dedicated classes at Cowes Week and offer places for sailors of any ability on professionally skippered boats. The popular "Rock up and Race" programme run by Ondeck also means that you can turn up on-spec at the regatta and go racing for the day (although booking is recommended).
Recognising the increasing trend towards boat charter as a cost-effective way of getting afloat, there are many charter companies that can help you if you have a crew but no boat. Ondeck are the official charter supplier to the event, and details of other available boats are also posted on the Boats Forum on the Cowes Week website.
If you do have your own boat and are planning to enter Cowes Week, then don't forget the Early Bird discounted entry fee ends on the 14th June at 17:00.
§ 2010 regatta dates: 31 July to 7 August.
§ Cowes Week is one of the longest running events in UK sporting history having first taken place in 1826.
§ Cowes Week is an inclusive, aspirational sailing regatta; the largest of its kind in the world.
§ Cowes Week attracts up to 1,000 yachts in around 40 classes, and 8,500 competitors ranging from weekend sailors through to Olympic medallists and World Champions.
§ Cowes Week has a lively festival atmosphere ashore with a broad range of social activities that provide an exciting and varied “après-sail” programme.