Round the Island Race 2014 - Sir Ben Ainslie to present prizes

Race photographer Paul Wyeth captures some close racing action in last year’s RTI Race - J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014
Paul Wyeth
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014 organisers, The Island Sailing Club (ISC), are delighted to confirm that Sir Ben Ainslie, who is already committed to compete on June 21st, has accepted an invitation to present the prizes at the ISC's Race Prizegiving event at 12 noon on Sunday 22nd June.

So, for anyone still wondering whether to compete this year, the opportunity to attend the prizegiving, and shake the great man's hand, should not be overlooked!

Last year's Round the Island Race will almost certainly be regarded as one of the best ever held since it was first run with 25 entries in 1931. On June 1st 2013, the weather was fabulous, the wind was just windy enough to produce exhilarating and competitive racing, there was a brilliant buzz throughout Cowes and in the Regatta Village in Cowes Yacht Haven.

The memorable moments were numerous and more people than ever followed the 'as live' Race progress on the website, through the live tracking and the Blog. The excitement was palpable right from the early morning gun, as the two Race records - fastest rounding in a multihull (the course record) and fastest rounding in a monohull, were being fought for as the rest of the UK was just waking up.

The current monohull race record set by Mike Slade on the 100ft ICAP Leopard on 1st June 2013 stands at 3.43.50. This is 9 minutes and 45 seconds inside ICAP Leopard's own race record set back in 2008.

The multihull race record set on 1st June 2013 by Sir Ben Ainslie on JP Morgan BAR, his AC45, stands at 2.52.15 beating by an impressive 16 minutes the previous multihull race record set by Francis Joyon in 2001 aboard Dexia Eure et Loire of 3.08.29.

Can anyone beat these superb record-setting achievements in 2014?

Adrenaline rush from the Leopard...
The adrenaline-fuelled Leopard (GBR1R), the Farr 100 and current holder of the Round the Island Race monohull record, will be back on the start line again this year with London-based property developer Mike Slade at the helm. Her name has reverted to Leopard and she's on the hunt for a new sponsor!

Leopard's professional yacht racing team comprises 20 talented and high profile crew members. A mix of America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors, along with her permanent crew, many have been sailing on the Leopard programs for a number of years in between other high profile racing commitments. Boat Captain Chris Sherlock has been with Leopard for 20 years and, as ever, he oversees the superb preparation of this magnificent yacht and her team before Mike Slade takes the helm on 21st June.

...and the holder of the Land Speed Record!
Whilst on the subject of records, Andy D. Green OBE BA RAF is a Wing Commander and fighter pilot and the World Land Speed Record holder! Andy was the first person to break the sound barrier on land.

Andrew Murdoch - 2015 Finn Gold Cup
© Robert Deaves

On 25 September 1997, he was in Black Rock Desert in the USA and beat the previous record in ThrustSSC, reaching a speed of 714.144 miles per hour (1,149.303 km/h). On October 15, 1997, 50 years and 1 day after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in aerial flight, Green reached 763.035 miles per hour (1,227.986 km/h), the first supersonic record reaching Mach 1.016.

Things should be a tad more sedate for Andy as he and his wife race his Catalina 30 Mk3 Pickle (6432) round the 50nm Isle of Wight course.

In a class of her own?
Racing under IRC, EAT, SLEEP, J, REPEAT (GBR8888X) is a J/88 owned by Paul Ward from London, a brand new class of boat and winner of Yachts & Yachting's Best New Boat under 40ft in 2014. She's 29ft, a mid-size family speedster with stability, style and sailing comfort. The boat has received numerous plaudits in her media tests and she's definitely one to watch!

Charity begins at home
The Race organisers are delighted to welcome back Belle Serene (GBR1069L). Owner Christopher Barker raised more than £5,000 for Breast Cancer Care in his first Round the Island Race in 2007, shortly after his wife Zoe had been diagnosed with breast cancer. []

Now, seven years later, the couple from Haslemere in Surrey, will be joined by their young daughters, Annabel 12, and Serena, 10, after whom their Beneteau Cyclades 39.3 is named. The family is used to sailing together. Christopher reports the girls are looking forward to this year's event. 'They both enjoy dinghy sailing and racing on their own. But this is a big grown-up race and quite a spectacle, as we have explained to them.'

Clearly you are never too old to take part in the Round the Island Race. One competitor has listed his age as 773, speaking of which, next month we'll take a look at some of the classics already entered.

The Island Sailing Club is grateful for the continued support of the Race Title Sponsor, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and the Race Partners for 2014: Dream Yacht Charter, Haven Knox-Johnston, Henri Lloyd, Nautica Watches, Old Pulteney Whisky, Raymarine, Red Funnel, Volvo Car UK.

Event website: Click here