The first week in August is Cowes Week—a regatta not to be missed by any Sonata owner. It’s a super week with a great atmosphere and enough social events for everyone. About 1000 boats take part, spread over many different courses—a magnificent spectacle with the Solent decorated with brightly coloured spinnakers.
The classes are divided into two groups with the Sonatas sailing in the Black Group, Class 9. This provides close racing against boats of similar speed and the Sonata results are extracted from the overall class figures to give two series for the price of one! In 2006, we had 11 Sonatas competing from a fleet of 28 boats and Sonatas took 1st, 2nd, 5th & 8th in Class 9. There is one race per day, lasting some three hours and starting either on a shore-based line or from a committee boat.
Where to stay
The first matter to consider is accommodation and early booking is desirable. If your budget allows it then you can do it in style by renting a house and these are normally obtained through agents. There is also a full choice of bed-and-breakfast accommodation. For a cheaper alternative check-out Waverly Campsite in East Cowes or Gurnard Pines holiday park which is a little further away and requires a car. Of course, for a closer experience and a ringside view of the spectacular final night firework display, you could stay on your own yacht for no more than the mooring fee.
…and a home for your boat
Most Sonatas take swinging moorings in Cowes Roads. Contact Tom White as there may be a bulk booking for Sonatas. Otherwise contact the Harbour Master. In 2006 the cost of a mooring was £100 inc VAT from Friday pm right through to the following Saturday. There is a free launch service for all competitors from 08:00 until 00:30.
The usual stepping-off point to your boat is the Island Sailing Club where most Sonata sailors congregate before the day’s racing for a coffee and a bacon roll and afterwards for a pint and a chat about the racing.
The social side
Apart from the facilities in the vittals and beer tent at the Island Sailing Club, events in various venues take place each evening. There are also a number of good quality restaurants in Cowes, plus a couple of pub-restaurants on the East Cowes side alongside the Medina river—advance table booking is essential. With car or taxi transport, you might like to go further afield, maybe to sample the seafood at the Crab & Lobster pub near Bembridge.
If you are taking a car to the Isle of Wight, book the ferry in advance. There are several choices of port, but for Cowes your choice would be the Red Funnel Line leaving from Southampton Dock and arriving at East Cowes. Bookings are easily accomplished on the Internet.
You will need:
- A current IRC certificate – easy to get from RORC – see Martin Hartley‘s article on this website.
- A valid National Sonata Measurement Certificate.
- To be a current member of the National Sonata Class association.