Riding the waves in Fareham

Places to watch and enjoy Cowes week in the Hampshire town

Sailing has been in the news of late, generic with successes in the water for Team GB sailers and rowers really upping the interest in watercraft sports. Ben Ainslie secured his fourth Olympic gold medal on Monday 6th August. Ainslie is now the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

Later in the week there was disappoint for the men’s and women’s pairs going in the 470 series, clinic who both finished with a silver, despite an extremely tight few races in which the top two pairs where leapfrogging each other by a few points with every new race won.

However, with the total counting after 10 races, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark finished just behind the New Zealand pair of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. The male pair of Luke Patience and Stuart Blithell were also beaten to the top spot – by Australia.

It has been a busy and exciting fews weeks at the Weymouth base of the Olympic sailing competitions. But the south coast’s frenzy for boating looks set to be further stoked by the arrival of one of the sailing community’s best-loved and most traditional events – Cowes Week.

Based in Cowes at the north-east tip of the Isle of Wight, the Cowes Week is a royally-supported regatta that is sure to attract many a pair of boating shoes and strawberries and cream lovers.

Cowes Week is in fact one of the world’s biggest sporting events, and a real fixture in the sailing calendar. It attracts up to 8,000 participants including world champions and Olympic heroes, as well as a good 100,000 spectators who line the shores of the Isle of Wight and mainland Hampshire, in spots such as Fareham and Portsmouth.

Fareham is a lovely spot on the Solent to stay and take in some of the races, as well as enjoy the rest of the Hampshire coastline. Nestled into a very old-school and somewhat sepia-tinted version of Britain, it’s a real contrast to urban life in the UK.

Fareham is an old market town more or less equidistant between Southampton and Portsmouth and is perched on the north-west tip of Portsmouth Harbour, so it’s an excellent place to wander around and gaze at the yachts and smaller crafts in the busy harbour, or grab some fish and chips and do your best to protect them from the seagulls.

A return to Fareham’s roots has seen the regular market restored, and a considerable revamp of the High Street, with its delicate Georgian houses and neat doorways. There’ll be plenty going on come Cowes Week – which runs from 12th August until the 19th.

History fans can travel to Portchester Castle – not a long walk from Fareham – or to Titchfield Abbey, founded in 1222 and with some fascinating geometric turrets to be wondered at. On a sunny day, it’s a lovely place to visit, and the quiet village of Titchfield itself makes for a pleasant stroll after a picnic.

And if you’re planning on visiting the Fareham area, consider the Holiday InnFareham hotel for a great value, convenient accommodation option.

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