Cowes Week Limited organiser of the UK’s largest and best-known sailing event, has today announced the cancellation of the 2020 Cowes Week regatta.
The CWL team say it had hoped that it would be possible to hold the much-loved regatta this summer for the competitors, sponsors and spectators who come together to make it a success. However, despite the encouraging progress that is being made towards the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that running a large event in nine weeks’ time, that will bring many thousands of visitors to the small town of Cowes, will not be possible while sufficiently protecting all those involved.
Laurence Mead, Regatta Director, said “We know that this will be a huge disappointment to many, as indeed it is to the team at Cowes Week. We waited for as long as we realistically could to see how the situation might develop, on the basis that our competitors would want us to run the regatta if it were possible. We appreciate the patience that everybody has shown while we have worked through different scenarios and would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who have been on stand-by, ready to jump into action if needed.”
Kate Johnson, Commercial and Marketing Director, added,”We’re grateful to our sponsors, who have been understanding while we worked through our plans and have been willing to stand with us during this very difficult time. We know this will be disappointing for them, but also know that they agree that the health and safety of everyone concerned needs to be our primary consideration and that they view this as a responsible decision. We very much look forward to working with all our sponsors on next year’s event.”
Competitors already entered will be contacted in the next few days and will be invited to roll over their 2020 entry to the 2021 regatta, when Cowes Week will be back as the highlight of the UK sailing season on its traditional dates of July 31 to August 7.
Meanwhile, the Royal London Yacht Club, organisers of Cowes Classics Week, has taken the decision to reschedule this year’s regatta and plan immediately for 2021.
The safety of competitors, plus the large volunteer team who help organise the regatta, is paramount and, with social distancing still very much in force, the organisers felt they could not continue with their plans to host the regatta in July. Cowes Classics Week, which attracts in excess of 140 entries, is not just about the racing. The wide range of social events bring together all the crews throughout the week and help make the regatta such a success, but with the current restrictions this would not have been possible so the decision had to be taken to cancel rather than try and run a reduced regatta.
Regatta Chairman, David Gower commented: “Whilst we know many competitors will be disappointed, it has become clear that we could not deliver a successful regatta this year and the responsible decision is to cancel. As well as having to ensure the safety of both organisers and competitors, we are also conscious that many Isle of Wight residents are uncomfortable with large numbers of visitors at this time. I wish to thank sincerely our valued volunteers, Royal London Yacht Club staff and our steadfast sponsors who, in some cases, have challenges of their own to deal with. We all look forward to a fantastic regatta in 2021
The team at the Royal London will now focus on planning for the regatta in 2021 which will take place 17 to 23 July with the newly introduced Cowes Classics Day being held on Thursday 22 July 2021. Cowes Classics Day will see a display of over 50 classic cars on The Parade plus classic powerboats berthed on the London Landing and the RYS Yacht Haven. The regatta charity, the Classic Boat Museum, will also have a display of historic classic boats along the seafront.