One of the biggest, and oldest, regattas of them all has officially been called off for 2020.
Cowes Week which can trace its history back to 1826 with breaks only for two World Wars is the latest sailing casualty of COVID-19.
A huge miss for many sailors as Cowes Week is a ‘must do’ along with the likes of the Round The Island Race and attracts close to 1,000 yachts ranging from the X Class and other local one design dayboats all the way up to IRC Class 0 Racing Yachts.
The ‘Week’ is also huge for the economy of the town of Cowes itself and the cancellation of the week long regatta (which is actually 8 days) will only add to the financial pain that many traders have already been suffering on the Isle of Wight due to the global pandemic and its effect on local tourism.
With the start of the event on 8th August only 2 months away and the United Kingdom still in the firm grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, this decision, although I am sure a tough one must surely be the correct one.
Not that being on the water would carry much risk to sailors but the almost legendary crowded post race parties and various prizegivings would have made it virtually impossible for any sort of social distancing to be maintained.
SO the sailors will have to wait another year to test their mettle against the tidal vagaries of a crowded Solent, the fans and spectators for the spectacular sights of boats running down the Cowes Green under spinnaker towards the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line and of course the businesses for the annual cash flow injection into their coffers.
As sailors we will all miss what is a fun but challenging regatta, here’sais hoping the local businesses are still around in 2021 to serve us up our pre-race bacon butties and post race beer and grub. – SS.