Round the Island in 80 Years Exhibition was officially launched from J.P. Morgan’s Great Hall in London yesterday (Tuesday, 1st March) at a preview event co-hosted by the Race organisers the Island Sailing Club and title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Over 100 guests were treated to a feast of imagery, anecdotes and characters representing the last eight decades of the Race.
Sailing photographers have been central in recording the spectacular history of the Race. Superb examples can be found within the Exhibition starting with Frank and Keith Beken, Alistair Black and Eileen Ramsay who captured the Race from the 1930s through to the 1960s up to the more recent work of Ken Beken, Peter Mumford, Rick Tomlinson, Thierry Martinez, Hamo Thornycroft, Paul Wyeth, Patrick Eden, Mark Lloyd, Cristel Clear and onEdition.
Thierry Martinez brings a special perspective from the air, using a long lens to compact the fleet: 'To see nearly 2,000 boats going round the Needles is always impressive from above. You never know what you are going to get, but it is always colourful.'
In researching the Race history a long lost photo archive has also been unearthed. A photograph from the 1932 Race was found framed on the wall of another Cowes-based photographer leading to the re-discovery of the Kirk of Cowes archive and the unfolding of a fascinating story. William Umpleby Kirk lived in Cowes, Isle of Wight from 1870 – 1928. It was here that he captured the first perfect image of Queen Victoria’s yacht, earning him a Royal Patronage. After his death, his son Edgar carried on the family name and captured images of the Race in the 1930’s. The Exhibition has brought their archive back to life!
As well as featuring the images and stories of sporting, political and sailing legends who have competed in the Race, the Exhibition maintains the Race ethos ‘A Race for all’, by showcasing the memories and pictures of the everyday sailors who make this Race so unique. http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk