The Best of Summer Yachting Events

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Ritzy Mediterranean locales, sun-soaked coastlines, crisp white sails—you don't need to be a yachting expert to appreciate the pleasures of a good race. Here, we've pulled together the most exciting European yachting events to attend this summer.

Summer is an excellent time to take in yachting competitions in some of Europe’s chillier coastal locales (like Portsmouth and Gothenburg) as well as its pristine Mediterranean ones (like Cannes and Saint Tropez). Spectators enjoy not just the competition but also the parties, happy hours, and seaside attractions nearby. Here are our picks for six upcoming events not to miss.

Giraglia Rolex Cup
With three Mediterranean locations and 63 years of history, the Giraglia Rolex Cup is a must-see summer event and the first in Rolex’s European yachting calendar. The contest begins in Sanremo, Italy, stops in Saint-Tropez for three days of competition, and ends in Genoa, Italy via Giraglia, a small outpost off the coast of Corsica. Professional and amateur sailors compete in the Giraglia for a chance to win trophies and, of course, Rolex watches. June 12-20;

Superyacht Cup Palma
The site of the longest running superyacht regatta in Europe, the weather in Mallorca is perfect for racing. The city of Palma provides a beautiful backdrop for three days of yacht races, offering world-class restaurants, hotels, and museums. The 2015 regatta will attract at least twenty of the most prestigious yachts in the world. At night, DJs and live music entertain visitors, and on Thursday, the popular disco-themed Dock Party gives out Champagne prizes for the best-dressed crew. June 17-20;

America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth, United Kingdom
In 2015 and 2016, Portsmouth will host two of the preliminary events leading up to the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. Part of the eight to ten regattas known as the America’s Cup World Series that are meant to determine standing for the 2017 final, Portsmouth’s events will undoubtedly draw large numbers of tourists to the city’s galleries, museums, cathedrals, and shopping destinations. July 23-26;

Cowes Week, Isle of Wight
One of the most important British summer sporting events, Cowes Week is the largest sailing regatta in the world, with 40 races per day and 1,000 participating boats. More than 100,000 people regularly attend the week’s races, watching from shore. The event also includes parties, entertainment, and fireworks, not to mention the shopping, restaurants, and sightseeing available in Cowes. August 8-15;

America's Cup World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden
Like Portsmouth, Gothenburg will host some of the preliminary races leading up to 2017’s 35th America’s Cup. Most of the races will take place on the centrally located Gota River. Visitors to Gothenburg are sure to enjoy the city’s excellent seafood and hip music scene. August 28-30;

Cannes Yachting Festival
For those looking to buy or admire the best yachts in the world, the Cannes Yachting Festival is the place to go. Five hundred and fifty boats will be on display in two ports, with 100 world premieres. Potential buyers are welcome to take the yachts for a test drive with “sea trials” in the Mediterranean. Visitors can reach the festival from Nice via a seven-minute helicopter ride. September 8-13;