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Cowes Webcam - Live Solent Marina View

 Europe, United Kingdom, Cowes

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Cowes Week is the longest-running regular regatta in the world. Having started in 1826, the Event is held on the Solent (the area of water between southern England and the Isle of Wight made tricky by strong double tides), and is run by Cowes Week Limited in the small town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Cowes Week is held at the beginning of August, set after Glorious Goodwood in the social calendar, which in most years means, from the first Saturday after the last Tuesday in July, until the following Saturday. It is occasionally moved to another week if the state of the tides in the normal week is unfavourable, as happened in 2004. The regatta is famous for its fireworks on the final Friday, launched from barges in the Solent.

A typical Cowes Week now has over thirty-five starts a day for classes of cruiser-racers, one designs and keelboats; over a thousand boats and 8500 competitors take part. During this time the Solent, which is a busy commercial waterway, is filled with boats of all classes and is particularly colourful due to the spinnakers (the large rounded sail hoisted at the front of a yacht when running downwind).

As well as the sailing activities, the week includes a large number of onshore events including live music and cocktail parties. From private or commercial house parties, and nominally private yacht clubs and boats, through marquees erected in the marinas serving food and drink, through to crowds overflowing from busy public houses and restaurants around the narrow high street, the water and the town become a hive of activity into the early hours of each morning. Around 100,000 visitors are attracted to Cowes by the festival atmosphere of the event each year in addition to all the competitors.

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