Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week stages over 40 daily races for up to 1,000 boats. The 8,500 competitors range from Olympic and world class professionals to weekend sailors. In excess of 100,000 spectators come to Cowes to watch the racing, enjoy the parties and live entertainment, and to experience the unique atmosphere. 

A Brief History of Cowes Week

Cowes Week, held at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, is one of the oldest sailing regattas in the world and is also one of the major sporting events in the UK social calendar, usually staged after Glorious Goodwood and before the start of the grouse shooting season.

Early events took place as long ago as the end of the Napoleonic wars, though the first “proper” regatta was inaugurated by King George IV in 1926 including a race for a gold cup then valued at £100.  The next year King George presented “The Kings Cup” which was raced for every year up until 1939.  After the war this was replaced with the “Britannia Cup” presented by King George VI.

In the post war era the event grew from its original 3 or 4 days of racing to 9 days however things were complicated with several different clubs running their own events with different start and end marks and even different racing rules.  At the suggestion of the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1964 Cowes Combined Clubs was formed to streamline the regatta with one set of starting lines, marks and racing rules.

Over the years the event has evolved from the sport of wealthy gentlemen amateurs to a week of racing with over 8500 competitors, ranging from weekend sailors to elite yachtsmen and women.

Although many of the old school rituals such as member-only cocktail parties and dinners still exist, the majority of events and other activities around the area are open to all with pubs, bars and restaurants creating a festival atmosphere culminating on the Friday with the famous fireworks display.

As with so many modern events, since 1995 Cowes week has been sponsored.  It is currently sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management as the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.