Opportunities to get afloat, send your boss up a mast and mingle with celebrities at Cowes Week 2014

The official charity for Cowes Week 2014 has pledged to provide more opportunities than ever before for members of the public to try sailing at the prestigious yachting event.

The Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored Cowes Week will take place this year from Saturday 2 August to Saturday 9 August 2014.

As a local charity based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, but with a growing national reach, the UKSA’s primary aim is to provide young people from all over the UK with transformational opportunities via sailing.

In January, UKSA was announced as Cowes Week’s chosen charity for the next two years.

UKSA CEO Richard Thornton said: ‘We have a range of exciting activities planned for the regatta, designed to promote inclusivity for all, and we want to show that sailing is more than just a hobby; it is a catalyst that transforms people’s lives.

‘One of our key aims as official charity will be to raise enough funds to offer every Year 6 primary school child on the island the opportunity to get on the water with UKSA – That’s some 1,600 children we would love to get afloat!’

Opportunities for all

During the regatta, UKSA will have a marquee at Cowes Yacht Haven where anyone can jump aboard one of three keelboats that will be regularly setting sail. Members of the public will be able to learn the ropes and experience an hour’s sailing with qualified instructors, for an affordable suggested donation.

Two of the UKSA’s Farr 65 yachts will be racing every day with celebrity skippers on board including Eastender’s star Steve McFadden, better known as Phil Mitchell, BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank and Paralympic 2.4mR champion sailor Helena Lucas.

Three evenings of the week, one of these ocean-going Farrs will be moored in the Yacht Haven for a ‘boss up a Mast’ fundraising spectacle, whereby senior executives locked into a harness 100ft up can only come down once they have gone through their mobile phone and urged their contacts to pledge donations to UKSA.

Event highlights

Organisers have confirmed that The Blades Aerobatic Display Team will be performing on the first Saturday, Sunday will be Family Day, there will be Ladies Day on the Thursday, while Friday’s finale will include a Red Arrow performance and fireworks display. 

The event will mark the Cowes Combined Clubs’ 50th anniversary and the 80th anniversary of the Victory Class.

A new Course Viewing App will be trialled by race officials at Cowes Week 2014 with plans to rolling it out to competitors and members of the public next year.

Outer breakwater work impact

Stuart Quarrie, sailing director for Cowes Week Limited, said: ‘The Cowes outer breakwater project, which has been talked about for more than 50 years, finally started last Wednesday.

‘It’s a year-and-a-half project to build the outer breakwater, obviously there will be some impact.

‘We’re working hard with Cowes Harbour Commission to minimise the effect on our event.

‘Work will be carrying on throughout this summer and next summer and the main thing is the exclusion zone for the construction site to stop boats getting damaged. It will have some effect but we think very little.

‘In the end the work will be a great huge benefit for Cowes.’

For more information visit www.aamcowesweek.co.uk

Pictures: UKSA yachts; UKSA staff and pupils with Olympic medallist Shirley Robertson; Cowes Week launch presentations by Shirley Robertson; Richard Thornton and Stuart Quarrie.