Details of visitor and competitor attractions are emerging.

Plans for this year’s Skandia Cowes Week are progressing well and, with last week’s opening of the new Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) regatta office ( see news story here), the event which runs from 7-14 August, is lining up to be one of the best yet.

Visitors to Cowes during the week can take in the overall ambience enhanced by the Parade Village. With a revised site layout that will provide a fabulous atmosphere, and with the popular and highly topical Sail for Gold bar on site, it is anticipated that this area will help cater to the enormous public turnout that Skandia Cowes Week enjoys and will also relieve some of the pressure of numbers within Cowes Yacht Haven. However, Steve Cole at Cowes Yacht Haven says there are plans for a much improved line up of bands there as well. After a couple of years of experimentation, CCC is also planning to hold the overall prizegiving on the stage in the Parade Village. This will make it even more accessible as well as making late results easier to cope with from an administration viewpoint.

The organisers are also pleased to announce that the Red Arrows have agreed to hold a full, 22-minute display of their aerobatic skills. This is being funded by Skandia and will take place at 1800 on Thursday 12 August. Anyone who has seen one of these displays before will know just how exciting they are – with a left/right display line going from just 260 metres off the RYS Castle and then over East Cowes just outside the end of the breakwater, the jets will be flying low over the trots, giving a marvellous view to competitors and spectators alike.

The Notice of Race, and online entry is now available via the event’s Official website: for all handicap classes (IRC, ISC, IRM, SBR and Multihull) plus boats in the Laser SB3, Daring, Sonata, 1720, Hunter 707, Mumm 30, RS Elite, Sigma 38, Sunsail 36, Sunsail 37, West Solent OD, J-Sprit and X332 classes.

The class associations of other one-design classes require entries to be submitted to their class secretary for validation and so boats in these classes are unfortunately not able to take advantage of the online facility.

The search for the 2004 Skandia Squad is still on and Skandia is once again offering entrants the opportunity to participate in the Skandia Squad and be sponsored by Skandia for the eight-day regatta.

Skandia is particularly keen to hear from international teams in line with the Cowes Combined Clubs’ initiative to encourage more overseas entries.

Anyone interested in entering the 2004 Skandia Squad should send their story of Courage, Passion, Commitment, Creativity or Contribution to Tim Sewell at Skandia Squad Entries, Freepost, SO1641, Southampton SO14 7YE or by e-mail to Please include at least one photograph of the boat.

Following the success of its inaugural Lymington-Cowes catamaran sailings last year, long time Event sponsor Wightlink has announced that it will run the service again throughout the 2004 regatta. Aimed at both Skandia Cowes Week crews and spectators, the half-hour crossing on Wightlink’s newest FastCat craft will run between Lymington and Cowes. Operating from Saturday 7 August until Saturday 14 August inclusive, the service will run between Wightlink’s Lymington ferry terminal, close to the railway station with its good rail links to London, and Thetis Wharf, an easy walking distance into central Cowes.

An increased schedule of eight crossings will operate daily from Lymington, starting at 0715, and eight will depart from Cowes with the last sailing back to the mainland scheduled at one minute after midnight, allowing customers who want to stay on for balls and other social events during the evening to get back to the mainland afterwards. Return fares are priced at £13.50 for adults and £6.50 for children aged 5-15 and are valid for travel out and back during any day of Skandia Cowes Week. In addition, for every adult ticket sold for the Lymington-Cowes FastCat service, Wightlink will donate 50p to the official charity of Skandia Cowes Week, Sail 4 Cancer. For more information on the Wightlink FastCat contact: 0870 582 7744.