Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Round the Island Race - Sun shines on Cowes, excitement rises

by Peta Stuart-Hunt on 1 Jun 2013
JP Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race, 2012. Part of the fleet under spinnaker near Ventnor Thierry Martinez © http://www.thmartinez.com
On the eve of this year's Round the Island Race, the competitors are unanimous in their excitement as they look forward to tomorrow's rounding of the Isle of Wight in the iconic event.

At today's packed pre-Race press conference at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes, there was a mix of guests interviewed on stage by MC Tracey 'TC' Clarke, ranging from Dame Ellen MacArthur to 90-year old competitor Ray Moxley and Emily Sarsfield, Britain's Ski Cross Champion who is sailing for the first time! Here's an overview with some of the highlights.

One of the more distinctive boats entered this year is Collective Spirit, a 30ft sportsboat built as an arts project for last year's Cultural Olympiad out of hundreds of wooden objects donated by the public.

'This is the first race Collective Spirit has entered,' says Gregg Whelan of Lone Twin, creator of the project. 'We're really excited that she is doing the race - parts of more than 140 different boats were incorporated in her construction, including the Mary Rose, Victory and Ark Royal, as well as former Prime Minister Ted Heath's Morning Cloud lll, which won the race three times.'


The Round the Island Race has always attracted sailors from different backgrounds and from across the generations - hence the 'Race for All' tag line and Twitter hashtag #raceforall. Ray Moxleywill be racing RA, a new 40ft catamaran of his own design. 'This is a really exciting occasion,' he says, 'the people you meet are a wonderful crowd and you make friends wherever you go. It's a breeding ground for friendship, sharing and being nice to everyone.'

The formal press conference at lunchtime was sadly overshadowed by the funeral of Olympic and America's Cup sailor Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, a good friend and colleague of many of the professional sailors that will be racing tomorrow. Tracey led a tribute, during which the Island Sailing Club's ensign also flew at half-mast.

Over the event's eight years of sponsorship by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, more than £500,000 has been raised for charity. This year, J.P. Morgan's ninth year of sponsorship, the official charity is once again the Ellen MacArthur CancerTrust.'This is a very special race and it's extraordinary to be part of it,' says founder and Patron Dame Ellen MacArthur.

'It's a great adventure and from the Trust's perspective, for the young people to come back to us and sail around the Isle of Wight is a great experience that brings a huge amount to them. They are the most inspirational people you'll ever meet.'


'We absolutely love the race' adds Jasper Berens, Head of UK at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. 'It's an amazing race to do, yet it's achievable for anyone who's never raced before. We will have 300 staff and clients racing on Beneteau 40.7s - they all want to win as much as Ben [Ainslie] or Alex [Thomson].'

As well as the many thousands of amateur sailors, the race is also one that attracts the top professionals in the sport. Alex Thomson took third place earlier this year in the gruelling Vendée Globe non-stop single-handed round the world race, will be skippering his Open 60 Hugo Boss.

'The Round the Island is a bit like the London Marathon,' Thompson says, 'It allows amateurs to compete in exactly the same race as professional sailors. I'm feeling at least as nervous as before the start of the Vendée Globe Race. It's really tough with 1,000 boats on the start line - my biggest goal is not to hit any other boats!'

While the forecast winds look too light for ICAP Leopard to break the record she set five years ago, it looks more promising for Sir Ben, the most successful Olympic sailor ever, who will be racing his 45ft wingsail America's Cup catamaran JP Morgan BAR. We will know more at 0545 tomorrow morning - that's the time at which Ainslie needs to reach the Needles to match the initial speed of the current record holder, Francis Joyon's Dexia Eure et Loire
in 2001. There's all to play for.
Round the Island Race website

Related Articles

From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted today at 7:26 pm
Pantaenius – Smooth sailing is more than a favourable weather forecast
Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia As Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia, we get to see why they continue to grow their happy crew of customers. Sitting down with Pantaenius Australia’s MD, Jamie MacPhail, you immediately get a sense that the smooth sailing is a direct result of both their unique product and the marketplace’s willingness to embrace the better mousetrap
Posted on 27 Apr
100 days to Rio, are there potholes and bumps ahead?
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for most crews.
Posted on 26 Apr
Is George Lucas a sailor?
He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic, which has been instrumental in the making of many of the special effects that have made the digital world so impressive. Gone are the smears of Vaseline along the bottom edge of the clear filter to hide the trolley that was actually transporting Luke Skywalker’s Speeder, for instance.
Posted on 25 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Can World Sailing learn from dear old Oz?
Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint Some time ago now, Sail-World proposed that ISAF had a really good opportunity at hand when it morphed into World Sailing (WS). Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint, when you could bring out the jackhammers and do a proper reno??? A call was issued for 200,000 sets of goggles and earmuffs to be supplied and for the real work to be commenced.
Posted on 11 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
TeamVodafoneSailing nosedive and win double before heading offshore
TeamVodafoneSailing has had more than their share of action over the past month TeamVodafoneSailing has had more than their share of action over the past month, involving both high-performance multihulls in their stable.
Posted on 9 Apr
Ensign 660NaiadInSunSport - NZ