Setting the Scene for Round the Island Race

Published on June 29th, 2017

Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK (June 29, 2017) – How best to describe the annual Round the Island Race in one word, one that neatly encapsulates the passion, competition, thrills and enjoyment shared by thousands of sailors each year? It’s always exciting.

The Race Management team led by Rear Commodore Sailing Dave Atkinson at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, is making last-minute preparations to welcome 1,342 yachts to eleven individual starts first thing on Saturday morning, July 1, 2017. The first start is scheduled for 0530 and the starting sequence will be completed by 0710 as the fleet heads west from Cowes to the Needles.

Among those signed up to race are last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner, Bernard Langley’s TP52 Gladiator with (fresh from his Land Rover BAR America’s Cup debut), David ‘Freddie’ Carr on board. The Race also welcomes back the Greig City Academy Sailing Team, the inspirational and ultra-competitive North London inner city state school entry Scaramouche.

Last year’s runner-up to the record-breaking MOD70 Phaedo^3 who took Line Honours, with the distinctive blue hulls of Concise 10 is back aiming to achieve that accolade this year. The record set by Phaedo^3 was an astounding 2 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds, smashing the Multihull race record time set by Sir Ben Ainslie in 2013 by a stunning 28 minutes.

Somewhat more sedately but equally competitive, the Cloudy Bay Brand ambassador Ben Fogle is racing with the race sponsor’s guests on board the Farr 52 Bob by Cloudy Bay, skippered by Stephen Durkin.

Racing for the FAST40+ Class continues with Round Two of the FAST40+ Race Circuit, consisting of one day of Windward Leeward racing tomorrow (Friday) followed by 11 FAST40s racing around the Island on Saturday for the FAST40+ Cloudy Bay Trophy.

Having previously raced his own boats, a Hustler 35, an SB20 and a J109, this year Rob Bellfield is skippering a Starlight 35, Sea Nymph III, to give a multi-national crew the experience of the Round the Island Race. Rob is Chairman of the GBR 420 Class Association as well as being a serving Royal Navy Captain. The boat has been chartered by the Royal College of Defence Studies YC, an international defence staff college located in Belgrave Square in London. Course members are 75% from foreign nations and are in the UK for a year to learn about strategy formulation at the national level. The crew is multi-national, with British, Norwegian, French, Israeli, Dutch and Spanish members.

The organizers are hosting their popular pre-Race press conference tomorrow (Friday) at the Island Sailing Club, followed later by the all-important Raymarine Weather Briefing at 1800hrs with meteorologist Simon Rowell. There promises to be a marquee overflowing with interesting competitors and a great line-up of stage guests including three members of the British Youth Squad, the 420 sailors Vita Heathcote and twins Milly and Charlotte Boyle, racing a chartered J/70 called Rita on Saturday.

All the information you may have forgotten that you might need – whether ashore or racing, and the all-important weather forecast, is on the comprehensive race website at www.roundtheisland.org.uk.

About the Round the Island Race
The 2017 Event marks the 81st actual Round the Island Race & the 86th Anniversary of the first-ever Round the Island Race held in 1931 (no races were held during WW2).

The first race had just 25 entrants. The top trophy awarded then – as now – was the coveted Gold Roman Bowl, a replica of a Roman bowl dredged up from the River Thames. Today the Round the Island Race is one of the largest one-day participation sporting events in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs, with regular annual entries exceeding 1,500 yachts and upwards of 12,000 sailors.

The Race is an all-encompassing event that caters for and embraces first timers, families, amateurs and professionals competing at the highest level. The 50 nautical mile westabout Race starts and finishes in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the centre of British yachting.

Race records
Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard currently holds the Monohull record at 3 hours 43 minutes and 50 seconds set in 2013. In 2016, Lloyd Thornburg’s giant MOD70 trimaran Phaedo^3, tore round the course in 2 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds, smashing the Multihull race record time set by Sir Ben Ainslie in 2013 by a stunning 28 minutes.

Charity
Charity fundraising plays an important part with the competitors who raise funds for personal charities and the organisers and sponsors also work closely with the official race charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, to help raise funds.

Race details: http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk/

Report by Event Media

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