29th July – 5th Aug: Cowes Week

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Since I’m not sailing I decided to book myself in for watches at our NCI Stone Point station each day during Cowes week 2023.  After hot weather in June July was one of the wettest months on record and the wet and windy weather continued into the start of August.  Cowes week suffered with racing abandoned on the Sunday and Wednesday.  As usual most of the smaller and the traditional classes raced in the central Solent but the larger competitors came into the western Solent on some days.  Here is an index to photos I took during the week.​

Saturday 29th July: The weather forecast suggested that the first day would be the best of the week and it lived up to expectations with sunshine and sparkling seas.  Unfortunately my chance of taking photos was limited by needing to attend a Coastguard Rescue Team demonstration at the station!
Sunday 30th July:  Racing was abandoned before the start due to strong winds and poor visibility.  We saw a schooner “Merrilyn”, a cutter “Polly”, and “Seafin” presumably with some disappointed people who were hoping to view the racing.
Monday 31st July:  The IRC classes came into the western Solent but their black sails on a misty morning with the dark Isle of Wight background was a challenge for taking photos!
Tuesday 1st August:  Again it was mainly the larger IRC classes with their ominous black sails that came past Stone Point.  The spinnakers added some colour when they returned, but by then the weather was closing in with poor visibility.
Wednesday 2nd August:  No Racing! With a Met Office strong wind warning issued racing was cancelled by Tuesday evening.  the day was wet and windy.
Thursday 3rd August: The larger boats ventured into the western Solent but then, with a large tide ebbing, the wind dropped away and the fleet were left trying to stem the current in the narrows between Stansore Point and Gurnard.
Friday 4th August:  After yesterday’s experience, and with very little extra wind,  the racing stayed in the central Solent.  We were left with a fashion shoot to watch!