The history of Cowes Week: One of the oldest sailing regattas in the world

Published 0903 GMT (1703 HKT) July 20, 2018
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Cowes Week is one of the longest running and best-known sailing regattas in the world and plays a key role in the British sporting and social summer calendar. Richard Langdon/Getty Images
Crowds have been gathering to watch the yachts from Cowes at the Isle of Wight since 1826. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Pictured here in 1935 is the crew of 'Candida' steering the yacht along a heavily inclined wave during a race. E. Dean/Getty Images
As many as 8,000 competitors take part -- from Olympic and world class yachtsmen to weekend sailors. Pictured here is the crew of the "Shamrock" lying close to the deck to reduce drag as the yacht sails close to the wind. Kirby/Getty Images
The event takes place each year during August on the Solent -- the area of water lying between southern England and the Isle of Wight. Fox Photos/Getty Images
The regatta lasts eight days and attracts over 100,000 visitors to Cowes. Stephen Munday/Getty Images
Pictured is Prince Charles at the helm of "Coweslip" in 1971. In 1827 King George IV gave his approval of the event by presenting the "King's Cup." Chris Wood/Getty Images
The Solent can prove challenging sailing for competitors -- with its sheltered waters and unusual tidal conditions. The majority of classes sail varied "round-the-cans" courses designed to suit the style of boat and the wind and tide conditions each day. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Cowes is a seaport town in the north of the Isle of Wight. Visitors can get to the island by catching a ferry from the south of England. Stephen Munday/Getty Images
Organizers say the best location to watch is between the Castle of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the cannons -- which are fired to mark the start of races. Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
While the regatta has evolved since 1826, several classes that were raced more than 50 years ago are still racing today, including: Dragons, Flying Fifteens, Redwings, Sea View Mermaids, Solent Sunbeams, Swallows, Victories and X-one-designs. Tom Shaw/Getty Images
Organizers say Cowes Week is a 'complete mixture of classic and ulta-modern designs that give the regatta its uniqueness.' Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
The regatta also plays host to several social events -- including cocktail parties, dinners, a fireworks display and concerts. Tom Shaw/Getty Images