Cowes Week 2012

From 11 to 18 August 2012, the tiny Isle of Wight town of Cowes will once again be under the sailing spotlight as the annual Cowes Week Regatta takes place.

Cowes Week 2012

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One of the longest-running regular regattas in the world, and arguably the most famous, the Solent will be filled with the best and the fastest boats as a week of high-class competitive action kicks off.

A highlight of the British sporting summer, this annual regatta was first held in 1826 when just seven yachts took to the seas to win a Gold Cup to the value of £100.

Now more than 1,000 boats line up over the eight day event, with 8,500 competitors ranging from Olympic-class yachtsmen to weekend sailors.

And this year, to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics, the Skandia Team GBR will be attending for a special 'Best of British' event on Friday 17 August.

The day will allow fans to see members of the team on stage, get an autograph or even enter the competition to sail with the team themselves.

Dedicated sailing enthusiasts will no doubt bag a spot between the Castle of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the cannons, where there's a great view of the start, or head to the Green to watch the fleet cross the line.

There are even spectator boats available for hire for those wanting to get closer to the action.

But there is much more on offer at Cowes Week. Live music, games, and events will be taking place throughout the week, ending with the famous fireworks display on Friday 17 August.

So whether you're a sailing novice, dedicated fan or just a curious bystander, Cowes Week will certainly give you a great day out.

What are you looking forward to at Cowes Week this year? Leave your comments below...