UF50 Celebrations announced to mark the 50th anniversary of Uffa Fox’s passing

Uffa Fox (1898-1972) was a legend in his lifetime, one of the most highly regarded naval architects and enthusiast of all aspects of sailing, a man of Cowes and East Cowes. Today Uffa Fox is a name that comes to mind when one thinks of Cowes and its yachting history, a legend, an innovator, a creative person with character who people remember and love. A passionate sailor and boat designer, he contributed to the Island’s history with his love of sailing.

As well as designing a number of sailing dinghies, keelboats and yachts, some of which were ahead of their time and many are still sailing today worldwide, he designed the Airborne Lifeboat which saved the lives of many airmen during WWII. After the war he sailed regularly with Prince Philip gaining many successes, he also taught Prince Charles and Princess Anne to sail.

The Celebration UF50 is a celebration of Uffa’s life and to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. A total of twelve organisations in Cowes and East Cowes have got together to plan this memorable event. The focal point will be Cowes Parade where a display of around 50 Uffa Fox designed boats will be assembled, a number going back to the 1920s, although some will be out racing for a couple of hours on the Friday and Saturday.

There will also be an Information Desk on the Parade and visitors will be directed to the Uffa Fox trail around Cowes and East Cowes where examples of Uffa’s history and heritage can be seen at a number of exhibitions starting with Commodores House where he lived and where we hope to have Coweslip the late HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Flying fifteen on display. Also the Sir Max Aitken Museum, Cowes Heritage, Cowes Library, Classic Boat Museum Cowes, Shepards Marina where 60 or more Uffa designed yachts and keelboats will be berthed, East Cowes Heritage, Classic Boat Museum Gallery East Cowes. the house where he was born in East Cowes and his grave at St Mildreds Whippingham where we hope to have a memorial service on the morning of Sunday 21 August.

The Sailing Regatta The Royal London Yacht Club will be running a sailing regatta on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 August for Uffa Fox designed dinghies, keelboats and yachts. We have had expressions of interest so far from over 100 boat owners including Firefly, National 12, International 14, Redwing, Albacore, National 18, Jollyboat, Flying 10, Flying Fifteen, Fox 18 and 24 and Atalanta.

The dinghies will be parked on the Parade at Cowes (which will have security and fencing) and this will be the focus for the event from where we will direct people to the various other activities around East and West Cowes. They will be launched by beachmasters from the slip by the RNLI (with possibly an alternative location for older fragile boats) and will have a number of ribs to receive them on the water who will escort them across the Fairway, they will also have the support of CHCs HM patrol boats. The keelboats and yachts will be berthed at Shepards Marina or on swinging moorings.

The racing areas will be off the Shrape for the dinghies with a nanny/retirement facility on the East Cowes beach as we have the benefit of neap tides that weekend. We will have a contingency location for adverse weather. The keelboats and yachts will race round the cans along Cowes Green or windward/leeward. The Shrape and Cowes Green will have spectator appeal. We plan to have two races per day of about 45 minutes each for the dinghies, a bit longer for the keelboats.

A provisional programme is set out below. The Notice of Race will be published in March. For expressions of interest in the static display and/or the sailing regatta and for further information contact sailing@rlyc.org.uk or go to uf50.org

UF50 principal sponsors are Cowes Harbour Commission, Beaverbrook Foundation, Classic Boat Museum, Commodore’s House and the Royal London Yacht Club. Stop press: Cowes Town Council Finance Committee have approved financial support for the use of Cowes Parade

Provisional Programme
Thursday 18 August
Boats arrive on Parade and at Shepards PM
Talk at Classic Boat Museum East Cowes 1700
Opening Reception East Cowes Town Hall 1830
Club Supper at RLYC and ISC 2000

Friday 19 August
Competitors briefing at RLYC TBA
Racing off the Shrape and along the Green TBA
Reception at Classic Boat Museum 1830
BBQ at Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club 2000

Saturday 20 August
Competitors briefing at RLYC TBA
Parade of Sail TBA
Racing off the Shrape and along the Green TBA
Windward/leeward racing for Flying Fifteens TBA
Regatta Supper and Prizegiving at RLYC 1930

Sunday 21 August
Boats leave
Memorial Service at St Mildreds, Whippingham TBA

The following venues will be open during this time on the Uffa Fox trail; Cowes Parade Static display and information desk, Commodores House Exhibition, Coweslip Display at Commodores House, Sir Max Aitken Museum, Cowes Heritage Exhibition, Cowes Library, Classic Boat Museum Cowes, Shepards Marina, East Cowes Heritage Exhibition, the Classic Boat Museum Gallery East Cowes, the house where Uffa was born and his grave at St Mildreds, Whippingham

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