J.P. Morgan Round the Island Race - Increase in first time entrants

Friends, families and first timers all take something special away from competing in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. Photo: Patrick Eden 2013 - J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014
Patrick Eden
There has been a distinct upturn in the number of first timers entering the annual J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race since entries opened on January 3rd compared with a few years ago.

Early Bird entries have now closed and currently entries stand at over 600. The Standard entry fee now applies until midnight on Saturday 7th June. You can enter securely online here: rtir.me/entries

This year's Race takes place on Saturday 21st June.

First family
American Chris Palmer has entered J Taime, his J/109 (GBR6709R) into her fourth Round the Island Race although Chris has raced the annual 50-nautical mile course a few times on other boats. He lives in London and moved to the UK in 1995 for the weather and the sailing!

Weather permitting it will be the family's first Round the Island Race together, but they have done some inshore IRC racing with Chris in the past, and have cruised J Taime and other yachts. This year is a particularly special race though as the family has agreed to race with Dad to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Chris says that he is hoping that Maddy (13) will be able to steer some sections when the boat is not under too much load. Chris's son, Christopher 'Chip' Palmer, will be aged nine on Race day and also on board is big sister Isabella (15) and Mum Gaby (Mexican-British) together with some friends.

First IRC entry
The first IRC entry was Geoff Gritton's Quarter Tonner Panic (GBR7299), a first timer this year. Geoff, from Brightlingsea in Essex, has sailed across the Atlantic twice and sailed dinghies and SB20s.

'MyQuarter Tonner is fully optimised for IRC and is a Peter Gimpel one-off design. I sailed on the boat in 1986 and then bought her in 2011. Since then we have put a new mast and rig and completely replaced the deck gear. I feel very lucky to own this fantastic boat.

'We are a bunch of Essex men just really enjoying our sailing and the banter both on and off the boat. Just because we laugh a lot, that doesn't mean we aren't serious about our racing. We win most races we enter on the East Coast but we love coming to the sailing mecca that is Cowes to learn how to become even better,' writes Geoff on his entry form.

First overseas entry is VIP
Another first time entry from M Fabrice Sobczak from Mons in Belgium is actually named VIP (FRA37835), a Beneteau First 35. Fabrice is joined for the Race by friends coming from the Belgium Rugby Club of Mons (former players and supporters) who appreciate sailing together.

The generation game
As one of the highlights of the annual yacht racing calendar, competing in and completing the Round the Island Race is a noteworthy achievement for sailors of all ages to add to their sailing CV and Race entries span every age group and level of experience and ability.

A J/80 called J-Wife (GBR751) has been entered by first timer Simon Watson from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. Three generations are racing J-Wife; grandfather Roger (78), his son Simon (46) and grandson Angus (15) and there's not a wife in sight. We're guessing that the boat demands rather more of their time than the women in their lives!

Fundraising for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust
Ocean Odysea (GBR3490L) is a Bavaria 45 entered by Duncan Smith, RYA, YM Instructor and Principal of Waterfront Sailing Academy based in Brighton and is the first entry to declare that they are fundraising for the official Race charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust (EMCT). The boat will be crewed by a group of students undergoing RYA training. Duncan's son Darran, is skippering Med Odysea (GBR3491L), a Bavaria 39 and is also fund-raising for the EMCT.

Don't forget that in the lead up to and during the Race weekend, everyone can help raise funds for the EMCT by simply using the hashtag #raceforall and Race Title Sponsor J.P. Morgan will donate £1 per tweet to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. rtir.me/tweetometer

You can also link your Justgiving fundraising page to our event page, see here for details:
http: www.justgiving/roundtheisland

Event website: click here