There's a feast of activities on and off the water for Ladies Day at Cowes, with celebs, fashion and aeronautic displays

Well it maybe another grey start to the day here in Cowes, with only a gentle S-SW breeze teasing the startline, but there’s plenty of action on and off the water today – especially as it’s Ladies Day! With 8,500 female competitors here this week, the Liz Earle Ladies Day was established to celebrate women in sailing. The line-up of nominated sailors this year will be judged by YW’s Elaine Bunting, Shirley Robertson, Liz Earle and Michelle Warner, and trophy will be presented by Dame Ellen MacArthur at a Royal Corinthian reception this evening. The wind is forecasted to increase to 10-15 knots later, with a bit of sun, which will come as welcome relief after light winds hampered yesterday’s racing.
Prior to the reception, at 1825 there promises to be a visual aerial extravaganza as both a Vulcan and the Blades team are putting on a display. The Vulcan (pictured) is a Cold War relic – the largest and heaviest delta winged aircraft ever flown and probably the most complex British military aircraft – built as a nuclear bomber in the fifties, whose long range bombing ability (up to 3,900 miles) later served so successfully in the Falklands War. Unique in her sheer size and triangular shape, her noise and presence will stop anyone in the Solent’s vicinity in their tracks. The Blades Aerobatic display will then follow, with their ex-Red Arrow pilots performing synchronized formation aerobatics for the gaping audience.
It’ll also be a good day for celeb-spotters as the G.H.Mumm Adventure team comprising Bear Grylls, Neil Laughton, Tom Avery and Jodie Kidd are taking to the water to be taught to race – by Ellen Macarthur on an Extreme 40 (of all people and boats!). England International and Wasps rugby player Joe Worsley will be announcing his plans for a testimonial entry for Cowes Week next year and trying his hand on the winch grinder in Shepards Wharf at 1230. And top British powerboat racer Libby Keir is going to have a go at sailing too, with Skandia’s Try Sailing initiative.
The Mumm Champagne bar will be hosting a reception at 1730 this evening to announce the winners of the ‘G.H.Mumm Moments of Skandia Cowes Week – New Initiative awards’. The three winners will be selected for their ‘extraordinary achievements on and off the water’ and will each receive a bottle of Cordon Rouge. And Henri Lloyd are putting on a fashion show in their high street store from 1700 to present their new ‘Sugar Collection’, designed by Sue Bonham. And it’s still only Thursday!