One of the world’s largest yacht races and an appearance by Johnny Depp’s stunt double are amongst the highlights of a two-week seaside festival returning to the Isle of Wight this month.

The Festival of The Sea, which was created by the Island’s Destination Marketing Organisation, Visit Isle of Wight, will involve 100 events on land and at sea. The Festival is now in its third year and will take place from June 22nd to July 5th.

The headline event is the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, on June 27th, which is organised by the Island Sailing Club and typically attracts 1700 yachts and 16,000 sailors. Competitors from around the world will attempt to circumnavigate the Island’s 50 nautical mile course, with crowds enjoying a coastline view.

On June 28th, Appley Beach will be transformed into ‘Shipwreck Isle’ with cannon demonstrations, sword fighting and Jack Sparrow lookalike Simon Newton, who doubled for Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Younger visitors are invited to dress up in their swashbuckling outfits for pirate storytelling, treasure hunts and sand sculpture workshops.

From July 2nd to 5th, Hovertravel will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with a 1980s themed weekend. Travellers will be greeted with music, fancy dress and giveaways at the terminals.

Seaside and riverside pubs will be offering live music throughout the fortnight, including: The Spyglass Inn, Ventnor (June 22nd and 29th), The Bargeman’s Rest, Newport (June 24th to 28th and July 2nd to 5th) The Steamer Inn, Shanklin (June 26th to 28th and July 3rd to 5th) and The Buddle Smuggler’s Inn, Niton (June 27th).

Other events include the What Knot Crafts Exhibition in Freshwater (June 26th), the Messing About in Boats art exhibition in Cowes (June 24th to July 5th), St Catherine’s Lighthouse tours (throughout the Festival) and a Pearl Masterclass at Isle of Wight Pearl near Brighstone (throughout the Festival).

The finale on July 4th and 5th will be the ‘All at Sea’ beach festival at Hope Beach in Shanklin, with children’s entertainment, the Cardboard Box Boat Race and the Isle of Wight Birdman Rally – where competitors attempt to glide gracefully into the sea in homemade contraptions.

David Thornton, CEO of Visit Isle of Wight said: “The Isle of Wight’s Festival of the Sea is bigger and better than ever, with everything from the thrilling spectacle of world class yacht racing right through to sword fighting on the beach at Appley. You can take a tour of a lighthouse, hear some live music or join the family-friendly finale in Shanklin. The Isle of Wight’s rich nautical history deserves to be celebrated in style – and this year we’re confident we’ve got something for everybody.”

Visit Isle of Wight is supporting the Festival of the Sea 2015 with a £20,000 advertising campaign in newspapers and on radio stations across the South Coast and in London.

This is the third year running that Visit Isle of Wight has co-ordinated this festival.

You can pick up a copy of the Festival of the Sea guide, including times and locations of all the events at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/festival-of-the-sea


Press contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

Notes for Editors:

Image attached:  “Jack Sparrow”. One of Europe’s top Jack Sparrow lookalikes, Simon Newton will be at the festival for photographs and a bit of swashbuckling. Simon doubled for Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

Shipwreck Isle (28th June)

This events is organised by Roger Crouch, tel. 07739 373567, e-mail rogercrouch07@btinternet.com

All at Sea (4/5th July)

This event is organised by John Hawkins, Beach Events, tel. 07973 669 176, e-mail john@beach-events.co.uk, www.beach-events.co.uk

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Yacht Race

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it the largest yacht race of its kind in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK.

Competitors come from all over Great Britain, from other parts of Europe and from as far away as Australia and the USA to race the 50 nautical mile course around the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron ‘line’ in Cowes, the massive fleet, often flying brightly coloured spinnakers, races westabout to The Needles, around St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.

For those not competing, the Island and the South coast have many great vantage points to watch the Race unfold, such as the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, Hurst Castle, and The Needles.

(separate vantage point list/map http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk/web/code/php/main_c.php?map=rir14&ui=rir4&style=std&override=&section=race&page=course )   http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk

Media enquiries: Peta Stuart-Hunt, ISC Race Press Officer | 07711 477707