The world’s leading annual solo sailing race, the Solitaire Bompard – Le Figaro comes to Cowes on the Isle of Wight in 2016 from June 22 to 26.
A new highlight for the Isle of Wight’s Festival of the Sea, which this year runs from June 18 to July 3, the race will also bring with it one of the most eye-catching five-day coastal events to be seen anywhere around the UK coastline this summer.
The Solitaire Race Village in Cowes will be free to visit during five full days fun, and will include food markets, a drinks bar, live music, plus an opportunity for those who want to try their hands at sailing on the Solent – courtesy of the sailing academy UKSA. Alongside the live entertainment, there will be a host of interactive family-friendly stands and activities.
Portsmouth has had the America’s Cup, Southampton has had the Volvo Ocean Race and this is being seen as another chance to reaffirm Cowes as the UK and Europe’s sailing capital. A genuine spectacle of the sea, and a showcase of top level sailing, the Solitaire is sure to attract crowds from both the island and mainland to the Isle of Wight.
Solitaire Bompard – Le Figaro takes just over a month to complete and has a reputation of pushing competitors to the edge – one man, one boat, 1,500 miles of rough seas, harsh weather and little sleep!
The Isle of Wight is one of four venues playing host to this world-class sporting event in 2016. Starting from Deauville – a grand French town twinned with Cowes – on the June 19, the Solitaire competitors are expected to dock into in Cowes Yacht Haven around the June 22 after sailing 510 miles. The race will then restart in the Solent on Sunday June 26 – a spectacle not to be missed from the water, or the Parade – and from Cowes, the fleet will race to Paimpol (France), and finish in La Rochelle (France) on July 7.
Torbay was the previous UK host for the event, when 20,000 visitors passed through the Race Village in just five days. This year’s race, however, is a flagship event in the Isle of Wight’s 2016 Festival of the Sea, which has already become a leading event on the Island calendar, and brings together a host of diverse events for all the family.
Shipwreck Isle, for example, arrived on Appley Beach with a swashbuckling swagger in 2015, as the golden sands became a pirates’ paradise for one glorious day. And this year’s event on June 18 and 19 promises to be even bigger and better, with two days of fancy dress fun, and an evening of entertainment on the Saturday night. Shipwreck Isle of free of charge to visit – but all visitors are urged to dress up as a pirate for the day, to become a part of the event.
Another highlight of the 16-day Festival of the Sea is The JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Yacht Race on July 2, which will bring together 16,000 sailors and 1,600 boats for the one-day race. Only the London Marathon, and the Great North and South runs can compete for scale, as The Solent and the English Channel turn into a sea of colourful sails.
Story telling, lighthouse tours, coastal crafts, and maritime melodies will also feature on the full schedule of events in 2016. As will The Isle of Wight’s Mardi Gras, which is set to be held in Ryde on June 25, and will have a Shakespeare theme in the year which marks the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. A story told through a community performance in the Island’s biggest seaside town, the procession will be led by costumed actors and drummers representing Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s men.
Full details of The Isle of Wight’s 2016 Festival of the Sea will be found at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/events/festival-of-the-sea. For information on where to stay, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/accommodation.
For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:
Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight
Notes to Editors
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