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News & Events

Queens Harbour Master Notice to Mariners No 53 of 2019


1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN jointly by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth, the Harbour Master, ABP Southampton and Cowes Harbour Commission to advise mariners that the annual Cowes Week Regatta will be held between 10th and 17th August 2019.  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 in Southampton Water.  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).  Racing starts at 1010 BST each day, except Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th where racing starts at 0955 BST. Race finishes will take place from approximately 1400 BST 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). 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 7th August and will be removed on 18th 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.

Cowes Week Regatta Start and Finish Lines

Figure 1: Cowes Week Regatta Start and Finish Lines.

4. The Precautionary Area (Thorn Channel). Mariners are advised that ABP Southampton Notice to Mariners No14 of 2019 Port of Southampton – Precautionary Area (Thorn Channel) provides advice on the tracks followed by large vessels through The Precautionary Area in various tidal conditions (www.southamptonvts.co.uk).

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. Cowes Week Firework Display – Speed Restriction. To ensure an orderly departure from the Cowes area following the Firework Display, at 2130 on Friday 16th August, a maximum speed limit of 15 kts will be imposed on all commercial and leisure vessels throughout Southampton Water. The speed restriction will take effect between 2130 and 2300 BST. The only craft exempted from this restriction will be the Red Funnel, Red Jet high-speed vessels, which will indicate their presence by illuminating their quick flashing yellow identification lights during the above period. A 15 kt speed limit will also be imposed within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth waters for all vessels transiting east from Cowes towards Portsmouth. The eastern limit of this 15 kt area will be a line between Nettlestone Point at Seaview and Southsea Castle. The only vessels exempt from this restriction are the Hovercraft and Wightlink Catamarans.