THE sun was out, the wind was up and the conditions were perfect for the start of one of the greatest sailing regattas in the world.

The 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week got off to a smooth start at the weekend as thousands of sailing fans descended on the Isle of Wight town to catch a glimpse of the action both on and off the water.

Today the annual event will receive not one but two royal visitors as both Princess Anne and Prince Philip enjoy the spectacle.

Daily Echo: PORTLAND VISIT: Princess Anne at the sailing academy

Princess Anne will visit Cowes today

The Duke of Edinburgh will be meeting staff at boat-builders Clare Lallow and viewing demonstrations of their work.

He will also take in a photographic exhibition in Cowes before meeting representatives from Aberdeen Asset Management.

Princess Anne will visit Medina Valley Centre for a tour of the waterside facilities before enjoying a reception at the Royal London Yacht Club.

In the evening she will attend a vigil at the Chapel of St Nicholas in Castro in Carisbrooke Castle to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

Ashore the fun continues with live music from noon at the Parade, while there is also a chance to try your hand at sailing, climb the mast of the Gipsy Moth clipper and the opportunity to take in all the festivities from a bird’s eye view on the big wheel at Northwood House.

Although the fun continues tomorrow the yachting teams will also remember the 100th anniversary of the first shot at sea in the First World War with a sail past by the Royal Navy and a one minute silence to honour all of those who have served and died for their country.

A single cannon shot will be fired from the Royal Yacht Squadron at 10am to mark the start of the silence.

Meanwhile this year’s race for the Britannia Cup will also mark the centenary of the Great War at Sea.

So far organisers are delighted with this year’s event.

Visitors packed out restaurants and bars over the weekend to grab a good vantagepoint to see the action on the water.

While early grey clouds had caused some concern they soon dispersed and the fun in the sun got under way – with Family Day proving a big hit yesterday as more than 300 teams signed up to fly the Family Day flag.

Daily Echo:

Graham Farrow and Sarah Bradford enjoy the sun

There were also plenty of activities on offer, including flag-making, colouring competitions, a circus and theatre workshops.

Cowes Week is this year supporting charity UKSA, which supports youngsters in school and beyond through sailing and watersports.

Its aim throughout this week is to raise enough money to ensure all 1,600 Year 6 pupils on the Island have the opportunity to take part in water-based sports.

Daily Echo:

Signal man Peter Scott at the starting line