See our video footage from this year’s opening weekend as a glimpse of what Cowes Week holds from afloat and ashore

If you wanted a compressed summary of what Cowes Week’s all about, Saturday 31 July was an ideal example, starting slow and grey and finishing bright and breezy: we spent the day with Ocean Images to capture it in HD video: 

From fickle winds and drizzle compounding a foul tide start, to hearty force four, sunny, wind against tide conditions, the day contained everything from container ships threading through the hundreds of competitors on the Royal Yacht Squadron startline, to multiple groundings to a sun-kissed, packed high-street (complete with vocal harmony groups), to the mouth-watering spectacle of the Extreme 40 catamaran racing off Egypt Point.

Mistakes get glorified by both short and long lenses: there’s a text book broach from a J/80 and a blown sheet on the final mark, and you can take a leaf out of a Landmark 43 and a TP52’s book as to why it’s best to give Lepe Spit a wide berth. Then there’s the wonderful sight of a Class 7 Hunter Medina making Class 0 TP52 Bob tack on the finish line. And idling Richard Langdon’s RIB off the finish line in the full wind against ebb made ideal viewing – with Cowes Radio’s Dick Johnson within hearing distance calling the finishers in, many were misjudging the strength of the tide, going from close-hauled laylines on starboard, to full-blown reaches in a desperate effort to tuck behind the yellow Alpha mark off the Royal Yacht Squadron. The big Oyster Starry Night demonstrates this to perfection, showing why at 68ft, you still don’t want to mess with a course mark, let alone in full view of Cowes!

By early afternoon the Solent was peppered with sunlit patches, and as it brightened and the crowds filled the high street, so the sea-breeze filled in to ensure action-packed finishes. By late afternoon Egypt Point’s the place to be, watching the literally Extreme racing, metres off the shoreline. Truly gripping viewing, we’d urge everyone to get down there to see the world’s best mixing it up at high-octane speeds.

Video shot by Richard Langdon, Ocean Images