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Sailing to Cowes

Cowes is directly across the Solent from Southampton.

As well as recreational craft, there are a large number of commercial movements with high-speed ferries, vehicle ferries, and commercial shipping up to 100m in length moving in and out of the harbour and river. In this busy marine environment it is essential for everyone's safety and enjoyment that all water users understand how to navigate safely in a crowded river and harbour, and know the local regulations. In addition to checking out the key Local Notices to Mariners highlighted in our documents area, we recommend you refer to the Cowes Harbour Commission website ››.

Red Funnel Ferries Logo 200Arriving on the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel to Cowes

Passenger Vehicle Ferry Service

The Red Funnel Car Ferry Service operates an hourly crossing between Southampton and East Cowes, Isle of Wight, journey time approximately 55 minutes.

Red Jet

The Red Jet Hi-Speed Passenger Service operates half-hourly between Southampton Town Quay and West Cowes, Isle of Wight. The catamarans carry foot-passengers only, and the crossing takes under 25 minutes.

NEW - Red Funnel Offers

Cowes Classics Week 2018 sponsor Red Funnel has kindly offered to give all competitors a discount on their Red Funnel car and passenger ferries crossing.

Vehicle Offer

Red Funnel have set up a private vehicle return of £80, valid for travel between 18 July and 15 August 2018. The rate will cover cars, and cars towing trailers up to a length of 13m. An additional metre rate per leg of the journey of £10 will apply to vehicles longer than 13m. Any vehicle taller than 2.7m, will also pay a height supplement of £10 per leg of the journey.

As far as exclusions go, the offer will be widely available on most sailings Tue/Wed/Thu/Sun, but Red Funnel have put travel restrictions in on Mon/Fri/Sat to avoid clashing with their busy freight sailings. Customers booking online, will see when there is availability of the special rate or not.Red Funnel’s coupon code will be available on your registration document once you have entered Cowes Classics Week 2018.

Foot Passenger Offer

Foot passenger travel is valid on either Red Funnel’s Hi Speed service or Vehicle ferry service, £10 for an Adult Day Return, and £15 for a Period Return, valid for travel between 18 July and 15 August 2018. This will need to be purchased at one of their ticket offices on the day of travel.

You will need to show a copy of your entry confirmation to CCW 2018 to Red Funnel staff in order to obtain this discount.

Youth Sailing Offers 

Red Funnel Youth Tile v1Regatta sponsor Red Funnel are getting behind youth sailing with offers specific to young sailors aged 16-25 wishing to sail at major events, including Cowes Classics Week.

Full details of the great discounts on Red Jet period return travel can be found online at:

Those who book ahead will benefit from a discount of 33% off our regular priced foot passenger fares on departures from Southampton to West Cowes.

  • Standard period returns are just £19.35
  • Off-peak period returns are just £13.95 

The offer is valid for one return journey between 13th July and 15th August 2018. 

A few quick notes:

  • Standard period returns are valid for travel on any day / any time.
  • Off-peak period returns are valid for travel after 18.15hrs Mon-Fri and anytime at weekends.
  • The offers are available online only and must be pre-booked prior to travel.
  • All other pertinent T&C’s and details can be found on the booking page referred to above.

Alternative travel to Fishbourne or Yarmouth

Wight Link

Passenger Vehicle Ferry Services are operated by Wightlink from Lymington to Yarmouth and from Portsmouth to Fishbourne.

Crossing from Cowes to East Cowes and back again

The towns are connected by the "floating bridge", a Chain Ferry that operates 365 days a year and is in service to convey passengers and vehicles on the short crossing between Cowes and East Cowes. The ferry only takes a couple of minutes, across the fast flowing tides in the narrow mouth of the River Medina estuary. It is in operation for approx 18 hours each day.

Arriving by public transport

Bus Services

The Isle of Wight's bus company Southern Vectis operates a regular sevice to Cowes and East Cowes from various parts of the Island. It's also a great way to see more of the Island if you have arrived in Cowes or East Cowes.

Air Travel

You can fly to Cowes via Southampton International Airport which is only 50 minutes away from the Island and offers a range of services to the UK and worldwide. Cowes is also reached easily via the international airports at Bournemouth, Gatwick and Heathrow. All airports are served by excellent rail, coach and taxi services from the Isle of Wight.

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