Cowes Week (/kaʊz/ KOWZ) is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. With 40 daily sailing races, up to 1,000 boats, and 8,000 competitors ranging from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors, it is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world. Having started in 1826, the event is held in August each year on the Solent (the area of water between southern England and the Isle of Wight made tricky by strong double tides), and is run by Cowes Week Limited in the small town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Cowes Week is held at the beginning of August, set after Glorious Goodwood in the social calendar, which in most years means from the first Saturday after the last Tuesday in July, until the following Saturday. It is occasionally moved to another week if the state of the tides in the normal week is unfavourable or, as in 2012, to avoid a clash with the Olympic Games. The regatta is famous for its fireworks on the final Friday. The display has taken place on the final Friday of the event since the early days and is an iconic finale. 
Typically Cowes Week up to forty starts a day for classes of cruiser-racers, one designs and keelboats; up to a thousand boats and 8,000 competitors take part. During this time the Solent, which is a busy commercial waterway, is filled with boats of all classes and is particularly colourful due to the spinnakers (the large rounded sail hoisted at the front of a yacht when running downwind). The different classes of boats are split into either White Group (dayboats) and Black Group (larger boats with cabins).
As well as the sailing activities, the week includes a large number of onshore events including live music and cocktail parties. Marquees are erected in the marinas serving food and drink, and the crowds overflow from busy public houses and restaurants around the narrow high street - the town becomes a hive of activity into the early hours of each morning. Around 100,000 visitors are attracted to Cowes by the festival atmosphere of the event each year in addition to all the competitors.
From 2011 to 2016 its official title was Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, named after the title sponsor. For 2017 and 2018 the event was known as Lendy Cowes Week, after Lendy Limited took over sponsorship. 
The festival originates from the Prince Regent's interest in yachting which continued after he became George IV in 1820. The first race started at 09:30 on Thursday 10 August 1826 with the prize of a "Gold Cup of the value of £100" and was held under the flag of the Royal Yacht Club, which later became the Royal Yacht Squadron. Another race was held the next day for prize money only (£30 for first place, £20 for second).
Until World War I, big cutters and raters were raced by gentlemen amateurs employing skippers and crew. In the 1920s and 1930s, there were cruiser handicap classes and local one-designs (although the six to eight and twelve metre classes attracted the most racing interest). Following World War II, when there was a revival of big yacht racing, ocean racing classes started to predominate, especially after the first Admiral's Cup event was held in 1957 and the growth in popularity of the two ocean-going races that start and finish the regatta The Channel and the Fastnet. The Fastnet, which rounds the Fastnet rock far out in the Atlantic and can be dangerous, is held in odd-numbered years only.
In the decades following World War II, yachting moved away from its image as a rich man's sport to one which is enjoyed by many today in modest self-skippered 30 to 40 foot yachts. The attraction of Cowes Week has also given life to many water-based activities and sailing schools promoting the sport of sailing to all age groups and walks of life. Although certain functions in the week are still the preserve of the elite or members-only clubs, Cowes Week encompasses a wide range of events and attractions open to the public, marketed to a very diverse range of interests.
Key shoreside events of Cowes Week include the festivities within Cowes Yacht Haven, on Cowes Parade and at Shepards Wharf Marina. Each of these venues offer entertainment for the general public as well as those racing.
Traditionally at the end of the Cowes Week event, a fireworks display is held. This has occurred for more than 150 years. In recent years contributions to the funding of the display have been requested by the community who enjoy and benefit from them.
In 2012 Mrs Gillian Smith became the first female Principal Race Officer to oversee the racing.
The Queen's Cup was presented to the Royal Southampton Yacht Club by Queen Victoria in 1897, her Diamond Jubilee year. Eleven boats entered the first Queen's Cup race on 9 August 1897. It was won by Latana, a 165-ton yawl owned by Mr W M Johnstone, by far the biggest boat in the race. The Cup was subsequently raced for on the opening day of Cowes Week but, shortly after the turn of the 20th century, it was mysteriously lost. Re-discovered in 1937 in a second-hand shop in Cardiff by a club member, Captain "Jonah" Jones, the Cup was bought back for the princely sum of £35. The Queen's Cup has traditionally been awarded by the RSY. to the IRC Class 0 winner racing on the first Saturday of the event.
In 1950, Sir Peter Scott suggested to King George VI that larger yachts should compete for a new trophy as it was felt that the America's Cup could not be restarted after the war. It was time for another competition of international significance to be introduced. King George was in favour and presented a trophy to the Royal Yachting Association, naming it The Britannia Cup. It certainly acted as a stimulus to big boat racing after the war. This competition also gave points towards the Admiral's Cup. The Britannia Cup was first won in 1951 by Taisser IV and Group Captain R J S Barton. The Britannia Cup is awarded to the winner of the class nominated by the Royal Yacht Squadron on the Tuesday of the event, this is usually IRC Class 0 or IRC Class 1.
The New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup was presented by the New York Yacht Club in 1951 on 100th Anniversary of America's victory which led to the commencement of the America's Cup. It was presented to the Royal Yacht Squadron for races during Cowes Week Class 1. In 1957, with the advent of the Admiral's Cup, points won in this race counted towards the Admiral's Cup. In some ways the Admiral's Cup was an extension of the N.Y.Y.C. Cup in that Miles Wyatt and four friends presented this overall trophy to encourage overseas yachts to race at Cowes. Latifa, owned by Michael Mason, first won the Cup in 1951. The New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup is awarded to the winner of the class nominated by the Royal Yacht Squadron on the Wednesday of the event, this is usually IRC Class 0 or IRC Class 1.
The Young Skipper's Trophy is awarded to the Skipper, aged under 25 on the Sunday immediately after the event, who achieves the best results over the course of the entire Week. The competition is open to young skippers across all classes. The Trophy was first presented by Skandia at the 1995 event and recognises the success of the yachtsmen and women of the future.
The overall winner of Cowes Week is awarded with a special Scottish quaich Overall Winner Trophy
The Overall Winner Trophy is awarded to the winner of either Black Group or White Group, determined by the overall winner on points.
French painter Raoul Dufy has depicted the races and Royal Yacht Squadron in several works of the late 1920s and early '30s, the most famous one of which is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Alan Buchanan (1922-2015) was a British naval architect and yachtsman. He designed more than 2,400 boats, including yachts who won Admiral's Cup, the Cowes Week, and the Fastnet Race.Aql (company)
aql is a telecommunications company based in Leeds, UK. It is principally known for operating carrier neutral data centres, and for providing services relating to colocation, mobile messaging, IP telephony, and secure mobile connectivity for the internet of things (IoT).
The company's head office is located at the historic Salem Chapel in Hunslet, Leeds.Bloodhound (yacht)
Bloodhound is a 19.2-metre (63 ft) ocean racing yacht. She was designed by Charles E. Nicholson and built by Camper and Nicholsons in 1936. From 1962 to 1969 she was owned by the British Royal Family and in January 2010 she was purchased by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust.Brian Haynes (canoeist)
Brian Haynes (16 August 1951 – November 2011) was a British sprint canoer who competed in the mid-1970s. He was eliminated in the semifinals of the K-4 1000 m event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. He broke the British record over 1000m in the semi-final but it has now been beaten many times because of advances in equipment and training technology. He never official retired from the sport and still carried it on right up until his diagnosis.
He has had quite a few noticeable achievements, they include:
1976 OLympic Games.
Winning the Round the Island Sailing Race and being first overall.
Two wins in the Multihull sailing class at the Cowes week regatta.
Heading up a team EMEA for Splunk business.Concordia yawls
The Concordia yawl was designed in 1938 by naval architect C. Raymond Hunt with input from Llewellyn and Waldo Howland, Clinton Crane, Fenwick Williams and Frank Paine.
Earlier that year Llewellyn Howland's family's Colin Archer designed Norwegian pilot cutter, Escape, was destroyed by the Great Hurricane of 1938.
Llewellyn commissioned the Concordia Company, which he had founded in 1926 and at the time run by his son Waldo, to design and build a replacement.
Llewellyn wanted a sailboat that could be used for both cruising and racing and withstand the heavy wind and choppy waters of Buzzards Bay.
What was created was Concordia design number fourteen, a 39'10" yawl that would become one of the most successful yawls in history. There were 103 Concordias produced between 1938 and 1966, making the Concordia yawl class the largest class of large one-design wooden sailboats.
The first four Concordias were produced in Massachusetts.
Concordia commissioned the Abeking and Rasmussen shipyard in Lemwerder, Germany to build the last 99 (26 of them as a 41' Model).
102 of the 103 Concordias are still in existence today.Over the years the Concordia yawl has won numerous races including the prestigious Newport Bermuda Race (1954 & 1978), the Annapolis Race (1955), Cowes Week (1955) and the Marblehead-to-Halifax Race (1955 & 1997).
1954 Newport Bermuda Race - Malay, Concordia #2, Dan Strohmeier.
1955 Annapolis Race - Actaea, Concordia #17, Henry Sears.
1955 Cowes Week - Harrier, Concordia #30, Ray Hunt.
1955 Marblehead-to-Halifax Race - Malay, Concordia #2, Dan Strohmeier.
1978 Newport Bermuda Race - Babe, Concordia #26, Arnold Gay.
1997 Marblehead-to-Halifax Race - Crocodile, Concordia #67, Robert Crocker.The Concordia yawls Arapaho, hull #85 and Irian, hull #70 (both 41' models), appeared in the movie Message in a Bottle.Cowes
Cowes () is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina, facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.
The population was 9,663 in the 2001 census, which doubles during the regatta in early August. The population at the 2011 census was 10,405.
Charles Godfrey Leland's 19th century verses describe the towns poetically as "The two great Cowes that in loud thunder roar/This on the eastern, that the western shore".
Cowes has been seen as a home for international yacht racing since the founding of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1815. It gives its name to the world's oldest regular regatta, Cowes Week, which occurs annually in the first week of August. Later, powerboat races are held.
Much of the town's architecture is still heavily influenced by the style of ornate building that Prince Albert popularised.Crew Clothing
Crew Clothing is a private UK-based clothing retailer that specialises in casual wear, shoes and accessories for men and women, selling through stores and by mail order. The company describes its clothes as being British-inspired and influenced by British casual-wear, sporting and yachting traditions.The company was started in 1993 by Alistair Parker-Swift. In the early 1990s he spent the summer months running a windsurfing school in Salcombe in Devon. During the summer of 1993 he created some navy and white rugby shirts, sourcing the materials from a local supplier. Later he sold clothing at Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight, a regatta event, and then opened a store. The first London store opened on the New King’s Road in 1995. As of 2014, the company's chief executive was Louise Barnes and major shareholders included founder Alistair Parker-Swift and private equity group Livingbridge.Daring (keelboat)
The Daring is a One-Design keelboat which is based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and races throughout the season around the Solent. Its construction is GRP, with some older yachts possessing original wooden decks.
The first Darings were designed by Arthur Robb, based on his 5.5 Metre yacht Vision which was built for and won silver in the 1956 Olympics. 35 yachts of the class were built in the years up to 1992. In 2008 a new hull mould was commissioned to match the original lines but with a redesigned ergonomic deck and cockpit. One new yacht was built and several more obtained new hulls while keeping the original name, number, rigging and keel.
To date all Darings are based in Cowes apart from three (8, Day Dreamer; 18, Deva; 20, Afroessa) sold to owners in Beirut, Cumbria and Majorca respectively. Most Darings' names begin with "D".
The season runs for approximately 80 races from April through to October, with highlights including Cowes Classics Week and Cowes Week in June and August. The Daring Class Association manages the class rules carefully to ensure affordability, uniformity and close racing. The class is not often raced against other designs of yachts, as the class racing is usually competitive and well attended, however occasionally pursuit races are competed with other classes of yacht in the Solent.
The Class Association has a number of strong affiliations, including with the International One Design fleet. This provides for the winner of Cowes Week each year to compete at Bermuda International Invitational Race Week in IODs. Further the class has links with foreign yacht clubs which will annually compete a team racing challenge in home or foreign waters. Competitors in the past have included the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth, Western Australia and the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club on Long Island, USA.Frederick James Aldridge
Frederick James Aldridge (1850–1933) was a British painter in oils and watercolourist, known for painting marine scenes.
He was born in 1850, he did not take up painting until he was twenty years old. He lived and worked in Worthing, where he had a gallery shop. He signed his works 'F J Aldridge'.He attended Cowes Week many times over a period of around fifty-years.
Three of his works were exhibited at the Royal Academy and twelve at the Suffolk Street Galleries. His painting of the harbour at Littlehampton is in the collection of Littlehampton Museum.Failing eyesight forced him to stop painting in 1927. He died in 1933, aged 83.Godfrey Baring
Sir Godfrey Baring, 1st Baronet DL, JP (18 April 1871 – 24 November 1957) was a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight and later Barnstaple.
A member of the influential Baring family, he was the son of Lieutenant-General Charles Baring, son of Henry Bingham Baring, son of Henry Baring, third son of Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet. His mother was Helen Graham, daughter of Sir James Graham, 2nd Baronet. He was a lifelong resident of the Isle of Wight. He became involved in politics and public affairs at an early age: he was elected president of the Isle of Wight Liberal Union aged 23, was made a Justice of the Peace a year later and was High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1897 at the age of 26. In 1898 he became chairman of the Isle of Wight County Council, a position he held for the rest of his life.A keen yachtsman, he was elected to the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1892. He frequently entertained royalty during Cowes Week at his residence, Nubia House.
At the 1906 general election he was elected as Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight, but lost the seat at the next election in January, 1910. He was created a baronet, of Nubia House in the parish of Northwood in the Isle of Wight, on 4 February 1911. He returned to parliament in the same year when he was elected MP for Barnstaple at a by-election. At the 1918 general election, he sought to return to the House as Member of Parliament again for the Isle of Wight, but finished second.
For 33 years he was a member of the management committee of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. In 1951, while he was president of the RNLI, the new lifeboat at Clacton was named Sir Godfrey Baring. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in Elizabeth II's first birthday honours in 1952 for public services and in recognition of the fact that he had been "Chairman of the Isle of Wight County Council for over fifty years and Chairman of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for twenty-seven years".He married Eva Hermione Mackintosh. Helen Azalea "Poppy" Baring was his daughter.Hans Horrevoets
Hans Horrevoets (born 26 April 1974 in Made – died 18 May 2006) was a Dutch sea sailor.
He was among the crew of the ABN AMRO TWO. During the 7th stage of the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race from New York to Portsmouth, he was washed overboard about 1,300 nautical miles (2,410 km) west of Land's End in England. His colleagues recovered him, but attempts to resuscitate him failed.He was part of the Brunel Sunergy team in the 1997/98 Whitbread Round The World Race as youngest member in the race. In the 2001/02 he was to be part of the Belgium Yess project, but the project failed. He won the Swan Europeans twice with the Aqua Equinox, and as skipper with the Holmatro talentboat he won the Cowes Week (twice), the Fastnet Race, the Channel Race, the Round Gotland Race and was best boat at the 2005 Commodores' Cup.
Horrevoets was the owner of the company Yacht Invest in Terheijden, North Brabant, from 1998. His pregnant wife Petra and his eleven-month-old daughter Bobbi survived him.RS Elite
The RS Elite class is a 24-foot keelboat (7.3 m) class designed by Phil Morrison. Built to meet the requirements of the Hayling Island Sailing Club, the class has a start at Cowes Week and events around the United Kingdom. Fleets can be found at the Royal Burnham Yacht Club in the UK, as well as at Falmouth, Belfast Lough, Cowes, Hayling Island and Lymington. Outside the UK, the class can be found in locations such as the Caribbean, Guernsey, Holland, Norway and Sweden.Red Jet 7
MV Red Jet 7 is a British high speed catamaran ferry to be operated by the ferry company Red Funnel on its Southampton-Cowes route, alongside the company's other current Red Jets 4 and 6. Constructed on site at the Wight Shipyard where Red Jet 6 was also built, it has been built to a similar specification as its predecessor and was placed into service before 24 July 2018, in time for the surge in traffic over Cowes Week. Red Jet 7 was successfully launched on 6 June 2018 to undergo system tests prior to being placed into service.
Red Jet 7 has a length of 41.12 metres (134.9 ft), a beam of 10.87 metres (35.7 ft) and a draught of 1.30 metres (4 ft 3 in). She carries up to 277 passengers with a crew of 3 or 4 and is powered by four MTU 2000 diesel engines driving four Hamilton HM751 water jets, giving her a speed of 38 knots (70 km/h; 44 mph).Regatta
A regatta is a series of boat races. The term comes from the Venetian-Italian language regata meaning "contest" and typically describes racing events of rowed or sailed water craft, although some powerboat race series are also called regattas. A regatta often includes social and promotional activities which surround the racing event, and except in the case of boat type (or "class") championships, is usually named for the town or venue where the event takes place.
Although regattas are typically amateur competitions, they are usually formally structured events, with comprehensive rules describing the schedule and procedures of the event. Regattas may be organized as championships for a particular area or type of boat, but are often held just for the joy of competition, camaraderie, and general promotion of the sport.
Sailing race events are typically held for a single class (a single model of boat, such as the Islander 36) and usually last more than one day. Regattas may be hosted by a yacht club, sailing association, town or school as in the case of the UK's National School Sailing Association and Interscholastic Sailing Association (high school) regattas or Intercollegiate Sailing Association (college) regattas. Currently, The Three Bridge Fiasco, conducted by the Singlehanded Sailing Society of San Francisco Bay with more than 350 competitors is the largest sailboat race in the United States.
One of the largest and most popular rowing regattas is the Henley Royal Regatta held on the River Thames, England. One of the largest and oldest yachting regattas in the world is Cowes Week, which is held annually by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England, and usually attracts over 900 sailing boats. Cowes Week is predated by the Cumberland Cup (1775), Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta (1822) and Port of Plymouth Regatta (1823). North America's oldest regatta is the Royal St. John's Regatta held on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's, Newfoundland every year since 1818.
The term "regatta" is from Venetian regata ("contention for mastery"), from regatare ("compete, haggle, sell at retail"), possibly from recatare.SB20
The SB20 is a one-design class of sailboat commonly used for racing. Marketed and distributed by Sportsboat World the boat was designed by Tony Castro and launched in 2002.
The SB20 was originally called the Laser SB3, and was marketed and distributed by Laser Performance under licence from the designer. This licence ended in 2012.The yacht is an open keelboat and is designed for racing with a crew of 3 or 4 whose maximum weight must not exceed 270 kg. With a high aspect ratio keel with a very high ballast ratio the yacht is very stable, but also quite fast due to the substantial sail area. The SB20 is unique in that it does not allow hiking, using a small stainless steel bar to prevent hiking by the crew, this allows competitive crews of all shapes, sizes and ages.
The majority of boats are located in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal, Australia, Singapore and Italy and the class has attracted considerable support. There is a growing fleet in the UAE. In 2005 the SB20 became the second largest one-design fleet at the Cowes Week regatta with 66 entries. In 2006 it became the largest fleet with 89 entries pushing the XOD into second place, an accolade it held for two further years.
There are over 800 boats worldwide, sailed in over 20 countries. Growth in fleets internationally enabled the class to successfully apply to World Sailing for the right to host a world championship, the first of which was hosted in Dublin during 2008.Solent
The Solent ( SOH-lənt) is the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England. It is about 20 miles (32 kilometres) long and varies in width between 2 1⁄2 and 5 mi (4 and 8 km), although the Hurst Spit which projects 1 1⁄2 mi (2.4 km) into the Solent narrows the sea crossing between Hurst Castle and Colwell Bay to just over 1 mi (1.6 km).
The Solent is a major shipping lane for passenger, freight and military vessels. It is an important recreational area for water sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually. It is sheltered by the Isle of Wight and has a complex tidal pattern, which has benefited Southampton's success as a port, providing a "double high tide" that extends the tidal window during which deep-draught ships can be handled. Portsmouth lies on its shores. Spithead, an area off Gilkicker Point near Gosport, is known as the place where the Royal Navy is traditionally reviewed by the monarch of the day.
The area is of great ecological and landscape importance, particularly because of the coastal and estuarine habitats along its edge. Much of its coastline is designated as a Special Area of Conservation. It is bordered by and forms a part of the character of a number of nationally important protected landscapes including the New Forest National Park, and the Isle of Wight AONB.Swan 36
Swan 36 is a GRP constructed, fin keeled, one tonner masthead sloop and it is the first Swan sailing yacht ever produced. It was manufactured by Nautor Oy and the first boat Tarantella was launched in July 1967. The production continued until 1971 with a total of 90 Swan 36 boats being built. The yacht was designed by Sparkman & Stephens who were the number one designers in the world at the time and also the designers of the first 775 Swan yachts built by Nautor. Its main dimensions are length overall LOA 10,9 m, Length of waterline LWL 7,77 Beam 2,95 m, and displacement of 7000 kg, of which 3600 kg is ballast.
Its racing success is very much based on the designer’s well timed decision to use a separate fin keel and rudder as opposed to the traditional full keel arrangement. This reduced the wetted surface area of the hull and thus also the frictional drag, which made the yacht faster and with the rudder placed further aft also more agile. Despite separate fin keel and a rudder had been used before in some of the Sparkman & Stephens' lighter sailboat designs such as the Lightning, this was the first time this arrangement was successfully used in production keelboats. For a short period of time this application made Swan 36 one of the fastest commercially available sailing yachts of its size and with a skilled crew she became the one to beat in the international sailing regattas. The yacht gained international recognition in 1968 when a Swan 36 called Casse Tete II (Renamed Carte Blanche) skippered by David Johnson scored a result that no one had done before and won all seven starts of that years Cowes Week regatta. Cowes Week was and still is, one of the largest sailing regattas of its kind in the world and winning it created a lot of media attention and publicity to this new 36 foot racing yacht. This racing success was very important for the future of the yard and generated immense positive feedback that was soon converted to increasing sales figures. However the racing success was not all the boat had to offer as it was also decided that it should be more comfortable and luxurious on the inside than any of the competing makes. For that reason, Nautor had decided to use their own interior designer to complete the management’s vision of a fast and luxurious racing yacht with an attractive price tag. The result was an unprecedented combination of competitiveness and comfort combined with a superior cost efficiency brought by the new fiberglass construction method and the skilled boatbuilders of Jakobstad. This well marketed combination of speed, quality and affordability enabled the subsequent commercial success for the whole yard and the creation of Swan brand. Nautor introduced its successor Swan 37 in 1970 which also became a very successful racing yacht.Wightbus
Not to be confused with Wrightbus, the bus manufacturer
Wightbus was a bus operator on the Isle of Wight, owned by the Isle of Wight Council. It operated a network of 13 local bus services running across the island, mostly services which would not have been viable for the island's dominant commercial operator, Southern Vectis, to operate.
Wightbus also provided school buses, and transported disabled adults to various day care centres on behalf of the council's social services department. A dial-a-bus service was run over some parts of the island to residents who would be unable to leave their homes to catch a regular service bus.
The Wightbus fleet was made up of 27 vehicles with capacities ranging from 16 to 72. Around 40 trained drivers and passenger-escort staff were employed. Over 1 million passengers travelled on Wightbus services annually.Wightbus was axed by the Isle of Wight Council in February 2011, with the last services operating on 2 September 2011. Under a new "Community Bus Partnership", Southern Vectis agreed to take on a number of routes previously operated by Wightbus to rural areas of the island in co-ordination with the Isle of Wight Council and the town and parish councils which the services run in. The services are all run by volunteer drivers.XOD
The XOD Class Keelboat (X (Class) One Design (XOD) keelboat) is a small 21 ft day racing yacht with fleets based on the south coast of England.The XOD Class is unique in having six active fleets around the Solent area, between Chichester Harbour in the East and Poole Harbour in the West. In each of the locations a well-established local Club manages the racing. Seasons and race programmes vary to meet the requirements of the local membership.
The X One Design was designed by Alfred Westmacott, who was Managing Director of Woodnutts Boatyard at St Helens on the Isle of Wight. He specialised in building small day racing boats and these included the Seaview Mermaid, Solent Sunbeam and Victory. Racing first took place in Southampton Water in 1911 under the auspices of the MYC (later to become the Royal Motor Yacht Club). By the outbreak of the First World War some ten boats had been built. After the First World War, building resumed in 1923, continued till 1939, stopped during WW2 and resumed in 1946. The latest boat built was as recently as 2007. The hull shape has remained unchanged since the original design but there have been changes to the approved types of timber, fastenings and surface treatments. This last change was perhaps the most important, as many boats have now been epoxied with considerable savings in upkeep and prolonging the life of the boats so treated.
X One Design racing takes place throughout the season in six locations around the Solent. At each one a full programme of racing is organised by the Clubs involved. Of the 202 X boats ever built, after allowing for those lost to fire, storm, neglect and one even to enemy action, there are still 190 registered. XOD fleets are in Cowes, Hamble, Itchenor, Lymington, Parkstone and Yarmouth.
An XOD is usually crewed competitively by three people, although it is possible to sail with two. The spinnaker can be hoisted without the crew leaving the cockpit.
The XOD fleet is an important part of Cowes Week one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. XOD's were first raced in August 1911. 2011 marked the Centenary year with an unprecedented 145 entries in Cowes Week. The X Class continues to hold a special place in the event with over 80 yachts racing in the 2014 Cowes Week regatta. This regatta included a yacht originally built over a century ago in 1911 named Madcap - sail number X5.
The oldest XOD - X1 Mistletoe belongs to The National Maritime Museum of Greenwich, London. It is on display in Cowes, Isle of Wight at the Classic Boat Museum.