Visit Isle of Wight launches search for Festival of the Sea events

The Festival of the Sea is a lively 8-day celebration of the Island’s rich maritime history and Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), the Island’s tourist board, is launching a search for more nautically-inspired events to encourage visitors to come alongside and drop anchor this spring.

The first Festival of the Sea, held in September last year, saw over 50 Island companies and organisations staging events across the Island.  These ranged from special tasting menus, sea shanty events, arts on the beach, maritime talks and walks, discounts for admission to attractions and offers on boat trips, pirate fun days, barbeques on the beach, and even open days offering an introduction to sailing and other activities.

The star attraction this year will be the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, which takes place on the June 21st, along with a whole host of activities and events in Cowes, but VIOW are also looking for more sea-themed events across the Island.

Once again, VIOW will invest in marketing this theme on the mainland, and is inviting companies, organisations, towns and villages to “come aboard” by coming up with their own nautically-inspired events, which will be promoted by the tourist board for free.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said:  “If you have an event in mind, it’s very important that you let us know what you’re planning as soon as possible.    This will enable us to plan how to market your event, prepare to feature it in the radio, press, printed guide and other activity the tourist board is planning to carry out to promote this year’s Festival of the Sea.

“The more “hands on deck” who work together to create events, the more attractive the festival programme will be, and the more chance we will have of encouraging people to come to the Isle of Wight this June”.

Jo Rogers of the Hambrough Hotel in Ventnor, said: “Last year’s Festival of the Sea worked really well for us. Our seafood cooking demo and special fish tasting menu proved extremely popular and we will definitely be repeating the exercise this year.”

The deadline to notify VIOW of any events (if you wish it to appear in the printed guide) is Easter Monday, 21st April.  Events which can last one day or longer should be sea-themed and take place between the 16th and 23rd June.

There is not a deadline for events to appear on the website and you can add your event here:

To see the full list of FOS events, go to


For further information, please contact:  Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer, Tel: 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors: 

Attached image shows LtoR:

Rachel Flynn, Dimbola Lodge

David Thornton, Visit Isle of Wight

Maddy James, Green Buoy Arts

Chris Cowley, Wightlink

Ann Hutchins, (front) Ventnor Business Association

Bob Ventress, Ventnor Business Association

Darren Beevers, Head Chef, Hambrough Hotel

Linda Chester (front), Ventnor Business Association

John Bentley and his shanty singers (4 in total)

Holly Kirby, Island musician

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd

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 ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:

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

Held on the longest day this year, Saturday 21st June, 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 )

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