Looking Back on IW events in August.

With August nearly at a close it is time to look back on two events held on the Isle of Wight. Known Worldwide for its Summer Regatta, Cowes Week, now presented by Visit Abu Dhabi, was back in 2022 following the pandemic although a scaled down version of Cowes Week had been held in 2021.

For competitors and spectators alike the Musto Bar in Cowes Yacht Haven was a popular place to meet up. It was run by an Island licensee who employs Island bar staff and sources the drinks from Island Ales. Additionally, Wight Gold Beer and Yachtsman Ale were available in the marquee/bar which itself was sourced from Island firm SDC thus helping several Isle of Wight companies.

Also in Cowes Yacht Haven were food and gift outlets in addition to the entertainment stage. Regatta sub-sponsor Mount Gay had a stand during the week and sponsored the opening party for competitors

On the sailing scene this year saw 125 years of the Redwings hailing mostly from Bembridge. They have raced in Cowes Week since 1920. Next year the classic wooden one design Sunbeams celebrate their centenary. Each boat bears a name ending in “Y”.

Northwood Park proved a popular venue with the Northwood House Trust volunteers serving teas on the lawn and the Lawn Lounge hosting refreshment stands- So Much Dough selling their variety of pizzas Isle of Wight meat in burgers from Captain Pizza and wine from Penfolds with the Chardonnay a particular favourite. Although there was no large- scale Gin Festival this year visitors were offered eight different Gins and the Mermaid Gin Garden was a delightful space away from the sailing action.

During the Week Mermaid Gin hosted, cocktail making with the chance for the public to discover their cocktail shaking talents, sampling of their products and a Q & A session led by the four distillers.

Produced on the Island Mermaid Gin has had a meteoric rise since it was first distilled on the 1st of August 2015. Currently sales are 12,000 bottles a week and it is available nationwide in the UK and 28 countries around the World. This island firm now employs 38 staff and Mermaid Zest introduced in June 2022 had an initial run of 10.000 bottles-these sold out in just three weeks, but more Zest followed.

Pip Hare solo round the World racing sailor was awarded the Cowes Week Women’s Day Trophy at a presentation in the RORC Clubhouse. This trophy recognises the outstanding contribution, commitment, and achievements of women in sailing. Pip received the trophy from Captain Catherine Jordan RN.  Pip rose to fame in the 2020/21 Vendee Globe non-stop solo Round the World Race. Having started as an underdog in one of the oldest boats in the fleet, she out-performed many newer boats in this gruelling competition. The Women’s Day Trophy (previously The Ladies Day Trophy) was introduced in 2006. It champions the role of women in sailing and during Cowes Week more than one-third of competitors are female.

As ever The Parade Village, Cowes Yacht Haven and Shepards Marina were popular with sailors after racing as well as the public. Boats with staff handing out Mermaid Gin and Cocktails from Mount Gay Rum were at the finish line following some races.

Stands offering a great variety of goods, food outlets and bars were along The Parade. Island made and produced goods were housed in one of the larger marquees and a charming wine garden was the venue for Uncommon which sells wine in a can! Through Cowes High Street there was entertainment including a group of Mountbatten entertainers outside the charity shop.

At the final prizegiving on Friday Results were as follow: Black Group- 1 SCHERZO OF COWES Peter & Alison Morton: 2 YES! Adam Gosling: 3 ZIGGY Kevin Downer. White Group-1 MEN BEHAVING BADLY Rupert Mander: 2 JENNY Simon Clarke: 3 ZILCH Nick Benham, Ian Perryman & Clive Good.

Following Cowes Week, but a separate event, there was a Jubilee Sail Past with craft from around the South Coast attending. Viewing the sail Past was The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence . When they landed at Trinity Landing, Cowes Parade, they were presented with gifts.