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

Wildwind 2016 660x82Protector - 660 x 82Zhik Dinghy 660x82

Related Articles

EFG Bank Monaco wins Leg 3 of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
Reigning champions EFG Bank Monaco tightened their grip on the overall lead with a victory in the third offshore leg Reigning EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour champions EFG Bank Monaco (MON) today tightened their grip on the overall lead with a victory in the third offshore leg of the race around the Arabian Gulf.
Posted today at 3:40 pm
Abnormal weather for the RORC Caribbean 600
This year the weather is dominated by a front that extends very far south reaching the race course. Wouter has competed in the Barcelona World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race on numerous occasions and is Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics.
Posted today at 2:07 pm
Vendée Globe – Alan Roura takes twelfth place
Race rookie Roura’s elapsed time for the 27,700 mile course is 105 days, 20 hours 10 mins and 32 seconds. Roura’s finish reflects his exceptional drive and tenacity and belies the very tight budget which the young sailor ran his programme on.
Posted today at 9:16 am
Vendee Globe - From Conrad Colman this evening
I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. Indeed, never have I worked so hard to go so slowly! The problem is that I am sailing upwind in light winds which is never a recipe for breathless speed and certainly not now! Going downwind on a slow boat, the wind pushes against the windward side of the sail
Posted today at 4:34 am
SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Sam Heck and Robert Marcus in action
Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. They wanted to race it, right away. So they entered the 2017 SCYA Midwinter Regatta through Long Beach Yacht Club, which hosted their class, and won in the first racing sailboat that they have ever owned.
Posted today at 4:05 am
Overall winner crowned at Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg
The first event of 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. The first event of the 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. After a weekend of close competition in the Lightning division, the class winner — Steve Hayden, 49, of Lake Mary, Fla. — was awarded the regatta’s overall prize.
Posted today at 2:41 am
The Bay Regatta 2017 wraps with a picture postcard final day
The fourth and final day of The Bay Regatta, Chang Beer Race Day, saw all fleet sail a short loop around islands The fourth and final day of The Bay Regatta, the Chang Beer Race Day, saw all the fleet sail a short loop around islands off Krabi’s Railay Beach before heading out for a straight shot back to the southern end of Koh Yao Yai with the racing boats doing a slightly longer course than the cruisers.
Posted on 19 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 race kicks off tomorrow
The light air forecast is not good news for the Italian ocean racing trimaran which is designed for much stronger winds. Soldini’s men have been monitoring the weather situation closely after the formation of a low-pressure storm system far to the north of Antigua disrupted the normal strong trade wind conditions.
Posted on 19 Feb
Vendée Globe – Roura to finish Monday morning with Super Superbigou
Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race. Seven solo racers were still at sea this Sunday afternoon. Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race.
Posted on 19 Feb
Spectacular opening for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
The highly acclaimed Antigua Band 1761 took to the stage and lit the blue touch paper. Sailors enjoyed a traditional Caribbean welcome with the Panache Steel Orchestra opening the musical entertainment, complimentary drinks and fine Caribbean fayre.
Posted on 19 Feb