Cowes hosted a four- day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the death of one of the Island’s most colourful characters Uffa Fox.

Throughout Thursday various examples of boats designed or built by Uffa were arriving in the town. Some took pride of place on Cowes Parade whilst others were mustered at Shepards Marina.

Royal London Yacht Club (RLYC) organised the racing on Friday and Saturday for the various classes connected to these Uffa designed boats, therefore it was appropriate that RLYC should host a talk by Mike Dixon the great nephew of this famous man who was born in East Cowes in 1898.

Mike chronicled his great uncle’s life and achievements including his infamous unofficial jaunt up the River Seine in France with a group of 10 Cowes Sea Scouts in 1921.

Working on hydroplanes at Saunders gave Uffa the idea for a lot of his future designs including the Flying Fifteen one of which (Coweslip) he would sail with Prince Philip during several Cowes Week Regattas.

Coweslip at The Commodores House.

In 1928 one of his designs raced under the name ‘Avenger’ and chalked up 52 victories in 57 race starts, leading his rivals to claim they were ‘Fox Hunting’ when up against him.

An airborne lifeboat was his brainchild, and he was responsible for the boat that John Fairfax rowed across the Atlantic in 1969. John Fairfax (1937 – 2012) was a British ocean rower and adventurer who rowed across the Atlantic and became the first person to row solo across an ocean.

After the talk competitors and guests made their way to The Commodores House off Cowes High Street which Uffa purchased in1948 (then a warehouse) and made his home until his death in 1972. Here guests could view exhibits of Uffa memorabilia collected over the years or study ‘Coweslip’ as they sipped cocktails containing Dartmouth English Gin which boasts 17 botanicals. Owner and founder of Dartmouth Gin Lance Whitehead, who owns two Uffa designed boats himself, was on hand to share his Gin distilling methods as well as sailing tales with the guests.

 On Friday evening the Classic Boat Museum Shed, Medina Yard was the venue for competitors to view the various exhibits on display. Appropriately a number of Uffa designed boats including the John Fairfax Ocean rowing boat, the groundbreaking airborne lifeboat and his own launch ‘Ankle Deep’ could be viewed.  Also, to be seen are Uffa’s own 13-foot dinghy and a mock- up of his workshop.

However, taking pride of place in the museum is Sir Ben Ainslie’s AC45 catamaran hydrofoil test boat for the 2017 America’s Cup challenge and the youngest boat in the collection Britannia, Sir Ben Ainslie’s boat from the 2021 Americas Cup, Auckland

.For the racing in the two- day regatta, as part of the celebrations, there were trophies to be won and these were presented at the prizegiving at the RLYC.