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Cowes come home: RN provides regatta guardship for first time in 25 years

Yachts jostle for position as they pass HMS Ledbury
6 August 2021

For the first time in nearly 25 years the Royal Navy has provided a guard ship for Cowes Week, one of the world’s largest sailing events.

The honour went to HMS Ledbury, a vessel commanded by a previous competitor there.

The regatta’s management board designated one day of the event as Royal Navy Day.

To honour the memory of The Duke of Edinburgh, who competed keenly at the regatta, a minute’s silence was observed before racing began.

Ledbury is the oldest frontline vessel in the Royal Navy and took a break from operations in UK waters to moor by the racing start line.

To maintain effectiveness, not all the 45-strong crew were permitted ashore during the week but the order for hands to bathe went out on Tuesday when racing was delayed due to low wind speeds.

've had a wonderful spot, just off the Royal Yacht Squadron starting line. It's a great vantage point to watch the racing,” said the minehunter’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Sam Stephens.

"It's been lovely being here - but it's slightly frustrating not to be racing. I came to the Royal Navy from being a competitive yachtsman and competed here many times.”

The tradition of a warship moored off Cowes for the regatta week was familiar to spectators and competitors, acting as guard for HMY Britannia which last brought the Royal Family to the regatta in 1997.

"We're following on with that tradition - reigniting some of the important links between the Royal Navy and the sailing and maritime community," added Lt Cdr Stephens.

The Royal Naval Sailing Association has also represented the Senior Service at Cowes Week with two yachts.

It's been lovely being here - but it's slightly frustrating not to be racing. I came to the Royal Navy from being a competitive yachtsman and competed here many times

Lieutenant Commander Sam Stephens, HMS Ledbury

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