IT was founded in 1824 just two years before the first ever Cowes Week regatta was held – and for the first time the RNLI has been adopted as the event’s official charity.

Today hundreds of visitors who flocked to Cowes threw their support behind the lifeboat charity on its official day at the week-long regatta.

A host of events were planned for the day, including the ever popular Get Your Kit On competition, when members of the public try to put on the RNLI crew kit in the shortest possible time.

A simulation of a real rescue off the Isle of Skye was due to take place on Cowes Parade while in Cowes Yacht Haven the winch-grinding competition was expected to pull in the crowds.

Patrick Crowe, senior corporate fundraising manager for the RNLI, said: “We are thrilled to be the official Cowes Week charity,” says “As the RNLI was invited to take over responsibility for the operation of Cowes Lifeboat Station in July 2008, our fundraising activities during the event will now have a direct positive impact on the Cowes sailing community by contributing towards upgrading facilities for the RNLI crew at Cowes lifeboat station.”

Cowes Week Limited CEO Stuart Quarrie added: “The RNLI works tirelessly in support of the marine community and they have synergy with our event at many different levels. We are thrilled to have them onboard as the official charity for Cowes Week 2009.”

The charity day will culminate in a fundraising dinner featuring a live ceilidh band as well as an auction held at Cowes Yacht Haven from 7.30pm.

Top solo yachtsman Pete Goss, who is giving a guest speech at the evening event, said: “The RNLI Cowes Week Supper is a wonderful opportunity to support the RNLI. I have first hand experience of the RNLI and they were there for me in my hour of need.”