One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Thousands Head To Cowes Week
Thousands of people are arriving on the Isle of Wight for this year's Cowes Week.
The massive yachting regatta starts on Saturday 3 August, until Saturday 10 August. It'll see more than 8,500 sailors competing out on the Solent over the 8 days, with more than 100,000 people expected to watch the racing.
The event's been running since 1826 and is one of the UK's longest running and most successful sporting events. It now stages up to 40 daily races for around 1,000 boats, and is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world.
CEO Stuart Quarrie thinks this year will be better than ever:
"It's shaping up really well. The entries are a little bit up on the day before the regatta last year, so that's good.
"There are a few new things to make it even better than it was last year. And of course we're hoping the weather's going to be gorgeous."
The event rounds off with the usual fireworks on the second Friday night, 9 August. Stuart Quarrie says they'll be started off by all the boats with their foghorns:
"The ships in the harbour will be blasting off, and hopefully all the yachts, all the little motor boats and everything will join in."
Hampshire Police say plans are in place to keep crime levels low there, and officers are working closely with regatta organisers, security staff and fellow emergency services.
Local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams will maintain a highly visible presence with increased foot and cycle patrols in Cowes, and Hampshire Constabulary's Marine Unit will be on patrol in the Solent.
The extra officers in Cowes aim to provide community reassurance and a swift response to any problems reported during this busy week, meaning levels of policing across the rest if the island will not be affected.
As well as local Safer Neighbourhoods teams, experienced specialist police officers are working alongside staff from Isle of Wight Council to carry out licensing checks at pubs and clubs in Cowes.
Street Pastors will also be on hand, to help prevent and calm situations where there is the potential for crime and disorder.
Isle of Wight Inspector Samantha Dunlop of Cowes Safer Neighbourhoods Team said:
"We want people to enjoy the regatta in a safe environment, whilst respecting the local residents and community of Cowes by following some simple crime prevention advice;
"Cowes Week is the kind of large event that can be targeted by opportunist thieves because they believe potential victims will be having a good time and less vigilant about possible risks. Please remember to look after your belongings and keep any valuables in secure places out of sight.
"Parents and guardians are reminded to help deter their children from underage drinking, especially on Fireworks night. 2012 saw police deal with a number of youths who were under the influence, caused crime and disorder.
"Sailors are asked not to leave valuable items, such as petrol supplies and navigation equipment, unattended on board their vessels wherever possible. Boat owners should ensure their belongings are clearly labelled.. This will help avoid unnecessary alerts over suspicious unidentified packages.
"If you have any concerns please report them to police so they can respond swiftly. Phone 101. In an emergency, call 999."
For all the info on Cowes Week, click here.
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