Cowes Will Happen. With or Without Sponsor.

Cowes Week bosses have told Southampton’s Daily Echo that this year’s event will go ahead – despite not having a title sponsor.

Only six months before around 8,500 sailors descend on the Isle of Wight town, no sponsor has been found to replace long-term supporters Skandia who ended their involvement with the event last year.

Cowes Week Limited CEO Stuart Quarrie said:

“The important message is that regardless of sponsorship or not, Cowes Week will happen. The event has been running since 1826 and has only had a title sponsor for the past 20 years or so – sponsorship is not vital for Cowes Week to go ahead. As far as competitors and spectators are concerned, they should not notice any difference to previous years. The only differences will be behind the scenes.

The credit crunch has come at a bad time for us and companies who two or three years ago were interested in being involved are now cutting back. However that doesn’t mean the sponsorship market is dead, just that it has changed. We are having very good discussions with a number of companies and still very hopeful one will come to fruition. It is certainly looking that way but we still have to be prepared for all outcomes.”

Southampton-based investment giant Skandia first signed a three-year deal in 1995 – and following last year’s event ended their 14-year run as title sponsor.

During Skandia’s time as Cowes Week’s title sponsor, the event has seen entry figures rise from around 750 yachts in 25 classes to more than 1,000 in 40.

Mr Quarrie added:

“Cowes Week is much more than just an event that you turn on or off depending on whether you have sponsorship or not. It is a competitor-driven event – the sponsorship just makes it an even better playing field.”