The buzz of anticipation on England's South Coast is reaching a crescendo...

The buzz of anticipation on England?s South Coast is reaching a crescendo. The 150th anniversary celebrations of the America?s Cup, in Cowes and the Solent, and the second International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth are two of the biggest maritime events ever staged anywhere in the world ? and they are stacked up back-to-back in the calendar for August.

You will, of course, be able to walk from Hampshire to the Isle of Wight and across Portsmouth Harbour on the decks of the spectator fleets, but a better bet is to get onto the water yourself and join the throng. You?ll probably never face a stiffer test of your seamanship. All South Coast and Solent-based boat owners have been getting in a right lather of excitement for some months now, but if you?re planning to visit from further afield ? and you certainly should, as there?s absolutely nowhere else to be this summer ? it might be an idea to sort out a berth in advance and be prepared to ?commute? if necessary. Remember that in a fast cruiser Cherbourg is actually a lot closer than you think.

In the America?s Cup anniversary the spectator fleet itself is likely to be as big a magnet for many of the spectators as the competing yachts, as it will comprise a multitude of magnificent vessels that are simply never seen this far north, Antibes and Antigua being their natural habitat.

In Portsmouth the vibe will be different in that the things you?re there to look at will not, for the most part, be trying to run you down. And it?s hosted by the Royal Navy ? probably the best navy in the world, although rapidly becoming one of the smallest.

See you out there ? I?ll be the one looking the wrong way.