Island Charters - Top Tips for AAM Cowes Week

30 July 2013

With three days to go before the start of AAM Cowes Week we thought you might enjoy our 'Just for Fun' top tips below!

And there is a chance for you and your shipmates to win a bottle of bubbly too!

AAM Cowes Week Event Website-

We are sure that you have already taken a look, but the very first stop for information in relation to the event is the Cowes Week website.

It’s a superb site and contains a whole host of information that you will find useful, from race documents and sailing instructions through to tide times, weather forecasts, details on the (loaded!) social programme and of course the race results for all classes during the regatta. There is even a section on the site for Cowes Week ‘First Timers’.

The site is dynamic, and that’s what makes it so helpful. It will be updated pretty much every day between now and the regattas and every day once the racing has started. Keep a particular eye out for changes to the Sailing Instructions, the daily news feed and also the photo gallery.

Cowes Week Radio 87.7FM

Pre and post racing, we would urge you to tune in to the brilliant and often hilarious coverage of the thrills and spills of Cowes Week on Cowes Radio. It provides live and continuous on the water commentary of sailing giving minute by minute information to competitors, spectators and regatta followers, live from the commentary boat and the starting platform at the Royal Yacht Squadron.

You will receive a little radio in your entry pack for AAM Cowes Week when you register at the start of the event. Make sure that you have this on the boat with you. Because the commentary boat roams miles around the Solent following the different race fleets, you can often glean ‘unofficial’ opinion as to conditions on the race-track. If Dick Johnson on the Cowes Week Radio RIB is watching boats down in the western Solent and if you also have a mark down in that area, you may find his commentary extremely helpful.

Equally, try to listen in to Cowes Radio broadcast of the starts and the courses for classes racing before you. Whilst this information is strictly unofficial and could never be used to seek any kind of redress, it is usually pretty accurate. You will pick up detail as to which bats started well and from which part of the line. You may hear information about holes in the breeze on the early part of the beat and so on. It’s all useful information.

Those of us who find ourselves stuck in the office on the Cowes Week race days will all be listening to Cowes Radio. You may want to let your family and friends who are left at home know about it, you may even get a mention on air!

Daily Checklists

It sounds obvious but is often overlooked.

It’s a really good idea to have a daily checklist as to the items you will need on the boat each day and then make one person responsible for ticking everything off before leaving the dock. Not having enough sunblock, water or food on board can be a disaster, so make a list of what you need each day.

You can make one person responsible for fetching the packed lunches, another for fetching water. Make sure that one of your crew checks the Cowes Week website every morning for any changes to the Sailing Instructions.

For example:

Before Racing


Batteries on


Water bottles (at least a litre per crew member, two litres)


Bin bags



Sailing Instructions and Course Cards


After Racing

Rig back to base

Rubbish off

Batteries off

Hatches closed

Shore power

How many bottles of water needed for the next day

Wash-down boat

Food and Drink

There are countless supermarkets, delis, bakeries and sandwich shops all within easy walk of the Yacht Haven, at which you can procure some excellent and boat friendly lunches on a daily basis but you should be aware that there always long queues on the morning of race days. It is really important to leave enough time each day to pick up food and water – it’s horrid being late off the dock because your nominated Food Fetcher is stood in a line that backs down Cowes High Street!

Some crews will put together packed lunches at home each morning and some prefer to buy them from one of the many sandwich shops. In order to get super organised and remain stress free during the week, if your preferred option is for a shop bought packed lunch you are strongly advised to pre-order, and you should think about doing that sooner rather than later.

The Food Hamper in Cowes High Street provides the lunches for a lot of our corporate business and they also do daily packed lunches and sandwiches for Cowes Week competitors. The shop backs on to the yacht haven and is conveniently situation between the two entrances to the Yacht Haven.

If you would like to pre-order your boat lunches, please just give the guys at The Food Hamper a call on 01983 295680 and they will talk you through your options and the relative costs of each. Alternatively take a look at the website at

FYI, if you have booked a skipper with your boat, the generally accepted form is that the charter crew provides his or her lunch each day.

Champagne, anyone? The Island Charters Cowes Week Flag Competition

Each of the charter boats we provide will be furnished with an Island Charters flag of some sort. This may be a forestay flag or it may be a square style flag designed to be flown from the backstay.

We want to see these Island Charters flags being flown every day, please, on the way out to the racetrack in the morning and also on the way back in post racing and in the marina overnight, conditions permitting.

There will be a bottle of champagne gifted to one crew each day during Cowes Week but only those boats which fly their Island Charters flags will be eligible to win.

There may also be a few special prizes for the best photos of your boat and crew taken during the week. Please email any shots that you think might look good on our Facebook page through to Becci Eplett at this address:

More News and Updates – &

We will keep you posted with any more news and relevant information between now and the start of the regatta. We will always send an email if it is especially pertinent, but we would also ask you to keep an eye on our website and also (for the social-media-philes amongst you) on our Facebook page. Please tell of your crew – we are keen to ensure that our Facebook page provides a real-time and accurate portrayal of your time at AAM Cowes Week.

We welcome your feedback photos and comments and we really want you to feel part of the Island Charters gang at AAM Cowes Week this year. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all. This is your sailing holiday and we want you to enjoy every moment of AAM Cowes Week.

Far East Hanse Elan
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