Sailing Locations on the Isle of Wight
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Whatever type of sailing or boating you like, the Isle of Wight has the ideal location for it. Just a few of the major locations are outlined below:
The home of Yachting, Cowes is probably the premier yachting port in the world. Every year at the beginning of August is held the week long regatta, famed the world over as Cowes Week. Almost 1,000 yachts take part with thousands of crew, family and friends, all here to enjoy cut-throat racing and endless parties. Cowes Week is part of the British 'Social Scene' but also attracts many overseas visitors here to race or just enjoy the spectacle. Cowes also hosts the biannual Admirals Cup - the yachting equivalent of the inter-nations world championship. The Island Sailing Club in Cowes runs the famous 'Round the Island' race where almost 2,000 yachts take part in the all-day 60 mile race around the Isle of Wight.
A very popular overnight stop in the summer, Yarmouth is usually packed with visiting cruising yachts. It is a pretty town with good pubs and eateries around the town square. During June Yarmouth hosts an annual Maritime Festival where traditional craft and craftsmen celebrate their maritime tradition. Good food, drink and music are the order of the day - as well as some sailing! Yarmouth is frequently the last stop before crossing the channel to Cherbourg, as it is located just a few miles from the Needles.
Home to many from England who come here to relax, Seaview has a strong community built around the Yacht Club. There are many one-design clinker built wooden dinghies raced here both evenings and at the weekend. Additionally there are a fleet of Seaview Mermaids which are used for regattas by visiting organisations. Seaview is well sheltered from the prevailing South Westerly winds and usually has flat water. The tides are also less severe than on the North and West sides of the Island.
A large drying harbour prevents Bembridge from being too crowded as it can only take shoal draft craft. There are two active sailing clubs here, Bembridge Sailing Club which race the unique Redwing class, where the sail area is restricted but the sailplan is not. This has produced many innovative designs including a rotating windmill rig! Bembridge Sailing Club also race a fleet of tiny one-man keelboats called Illusions, in which the helmsman lies prone, steers with his feet and just has his head protruding at deck level. At the top of the harbour lies Brading Haven yacht Club which primarily races dinghies. The harbour largely dries at low water.
A wide sandy bay with little tidal flow and located on the south side of the Isle of Wight, facing the English Channel provides a completely different sailing scene. This is where the catamarans and windsurfers fly across the bay. There are no facilities for keelboats but dinghies and powerboats are launched by tractor from Yaverland Sailing Club at Sandown. There is also a dinghy club at Shanklin.