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Round the Island Race - Ainslie to co-helm Big Class yacht Eleonora

by Peta Stuart-Hunt on 23 Apr 2012
The Big Class yacht Eleonora will be co-helmed by Ben Ainslie. - J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2012 Franco Pace
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is being held on Saturday 30th June 2012. It has been confirmed by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, title sponsor of the event and title sponsor of triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie CBE, that Ben's final public racing appearance prior to his bid for a fourth Gold medal in his Finn, will be on board the Big Class yacht Eleonora, a schooner with some impressive vital statistics which has entered this year’s Round the Island Race.

Length overall : 49,50 m / 162,40 ft
Length on deck : 41,50 m / 136,15 ft
Length on waterline : 29,30 m / 96,13 ft
Beam : 8,20 m / 26,90 ft
Draft : 5,20 m / 17,06 ft
Displacement : 214 tons

The Big Class yacht Eleonora is an exact replica of the schooner Westward which was launched on March 31, 1910 as hull number 692 at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA. She was arguably one of the most famous and best known racing schooners in the world.

Eleonora was built at the Van der Graaf shipyard in Holland and was launched in March 2000. Since then, she has successfully participated in a number of classic sailing regattas and hosted on board a number of high profile guests during her charter activities. She was last seen in the Solent in July 2010 when she competed in the inaugural Westward Cup and she will be returning to compete in the 2012 Event just prior to the Round the Island Race.

During the Round the Island Race, Ben will co-helm with Eleonora’s owner, with the assistance of Eleonora’s captain Mike McMillan. Sharing the 25- strong crew duties will be a number of J.P. Morgan Asset Management guests alongside guests of the owner. They will undoubtedly enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

Ben, who was originally entered on a Beneteau First 40, is delighted to have this amazing opportunity commenting, 'When I was asked to sail on-board the 49.5 metre schooner Eleonora in this year’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, it was an offer that was too good to turn down. This will be my seventh Round the Island Race and I’ve competed in everything from an Open 60, Extreme 40, Kerr 40 to an SB3 – but nothing is going to match sailing the 50 mile course on this beautiful classic and I would like to thank her owner Mr Zbynek Zak and J.P. Morgan Asset Management for making this happen.'


Hannah Mills, one of the country’s most outstanding young sailors and top medal hopefuls this summer, will take time out of her busy training schedule to start this year’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. She will be competing in the annual Race alongside fellow Team Volvo sailors Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison and her 470 sailing partner Saskia Clark on one of the Volvo Car UK Farr 45 entries. The 2012 Race is her second attempt to race around the Island after last year’s tough weather conditions forced her team’s Laser SB3 to retire at the Needles.

'It’s a privilege to be starting the 2012 Round the Island Race; such an exciting event with a great atmosphere and I’m really looking forward to taking part again. The aim this year is to not only make it past the Needles but to also be the first Team Volvo boat back to Cowes!' said Hannah Mills, the 23 year-old from Cardiff.

Hannah’s sailing career began at the age of eight in the Optimist dinghy and she is still the only British sailor to have won the Optimist Girls' World Championships, after becoming the first ever girl to win the British National title a year earlier. Since teaming up with Saskia Clark in the 470 dinghy a year ago the team have enjoyed a number of successes including a silver medal at the 2011 pre-Olympic Test Event, Weymouth and Portland.

Latest Entry News: Entries currently stand at 844. Standard Entry closes at midnight on 2nd June. Round the Island Race website

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