In 1827 George IV presented the first cup for the Cowes Regatta on the Isle of Wight. In the same year the architect John Nash commissioned Turner to paint two pictures of the regatta. Turner painted nine oil sketches on two rolls of canvas, probably sometimes working outdoors.
This sketch was used as a basis for one of the pictures painted for Nash and exhibited in 1828 (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum). It was probably painted on the morning of the Regatta, as yachts appear on the left.