King's Harbour Master Portsmouth

LNTM No 52/21

1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth that the annual Cowes Week Regatta will be held between 31 July and 6 August 2021. During this period, heavy concentrations of sailing vessels of all types will be racing in the Solent, in the approaches to Cowes Harbour and Southampton Water and within The Precautionary Area (Thorn Channel). Mariners should be particularly vigilant and should maintain an efficient lookout for large vessels and sailing vessels and, at all times, should navigate with extreme caution in the area. 

2. Start and Finish Lines. There are eight possible start lines and six possible finish lines in use for the regatta, see Figure 1: Cowes Week Regatta Start and Finish Lines. Racing, depending upon the wind conditions, is scheduled to start at 1010 each day. Race finishes will take place from approximately 1400 onwards and most racing is expected to have finished by 1600 BST each day.

3. Sailing Mark Buoys to be established. Two large, yellow, cylindrical, inflatable marks, ‘Alpha’ and ‘Gamma’, and one large orange, cylindrical, inflatable mark, ‘Beta’ will be laid in the approaches to Cowes Harbour, see Figure 1: Cowes Week Regatta Start and Finish Lines. The approximate positions and light characteristics of the buoys are as follows:

Buoy Approximate Position Light Characteristic

Alpha 50 46’.29N, 001 18’.13W Yellow, flashing 1 every 3 seconds

Beta 50 46’.29N, 001 18’.30W Yellow, flashing 2 every 4 seconds

Gamma 50 46’.25N, 001 17’.62W Yellow, flashing 3 every 6 seconds

These buoys will be laid shortly before 28 July and will be removed on 9 August, or soon thereafter. Additionally, should one of the two Committee Boats on the Bramble Line not be on station, a large, orange, inflatable cylindrical mark will be laid in its place as required.


Figure 1: Cowes Week Regatta Start and Finish Lines.

4. The Precautionary Area (Thorn Channel). Mariners are advised that ABP Southampton Notice to Mariners No 09 of 2021 Port of Southampton – Precautionary Area (Thorn Channel) provides advice on the tracks followed by large vessels through The Precautionary Area in various tidal conditions (

5. As permitted by the International Sailing Federation Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS 42.3 (h) – (i)) a boat may use her engine, or other means of propulsion, without retiring, to avoid the risk of collision with commercial shipping that is underway.  Thus, boats are advised to have an alternative means of propulsion ready for immediate use if there is any possibility of a close quarters situation developing between them and a commercial vessel.

6. Within the Precautionary Area, all instructions given by ‘SP’ or the accompanying RIBs should be acknowledged and promptly carried out.

7. Use of Engines by Sailing Vessels (see CHC General Direction 4.6) The Master of any vessel fitted with sails and an auxiliary engine when navigating the Inner Harbour south of the Shrape Breakwater shall proceed with the engine running and ready for immediate use. Competitors in Cowes Week are reminded of the permission granted to them to use propulsion, of any form, to keep clear of a merchant vessel that is under way. In situations where the wind is at all light and an engine is available, it would be commensurate with the ordinary practice of good seamanship to have that engine ready for immediate use, well before a close quarters’ situation arises. 

8. Cancel this Local Notice to Mariners 9 August 2021.


Tuesday 27 Jul 2021

Queen's Harbour Master

Owners, Agents, Charterers, Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Recreational Sailing Organisations should ensure that the contents of this Notice are made known to the masters or persons in charge of their vessels or craft.