Spectator's guide

Jo Grindley points out where to watch the spectacle and join in the fun
If you're not one of the 5,000 competitors racing on the water, there's no need not to be involved. Here are all the top tips on where to catch all the racing, entertainment and fun of Skandia Life Cowes Week 2001. The Royal Yacht Squadron is the place to see the start of the first race of the day at 10.25. From that moment on you'll need to put your fingers in your ears as a cannon is fired a cannon every five minutes to start each of the 34 classes. If you hear two cannons, that means at least one of the boats has jumped the start. The last start of the day is for the X-Boats at 12.35. You can expect almost 100 boats on the start line - the biggest fleet of each day. An exceptional day will be on Tuesday, when three classic and beautiful J-Class Yachts - Velsheda, Endeavour and Shamrock - are expected to race in Cowes Week. Their start will be at 1000. How can you find out where the boats will be going? Simple: look at the board on the front of the Royal Yacht Squadron. If there's a large green square displayed it means the yachts will start and then head west towards Gurnard and Lymington. You can watch the close-quarter racing by walking west along Cowes Green and the seafront towards Gurnard. If the tide is against the boats, watch them as they hug the shore to keep out of the adverse current. There will be a few close shaves, if not collisions, shouting and jostling for position. Another hazard is the hidden rocks just off the beach along Cowes seafront. You'll be sure to see a few frustrated faces as some boats hit the rocks and bounce off it they're lucky or