While the race records stayed intact for another year, this year's fleet was the largest yet. There was also a huge jump in online interest from sailing fans around the world.
by Peta Stuart-Hunt
After a day dominated by the weather which threw everything it had to offer at the record-breaking fleet that competed in Saturday’s 80th Anniversary J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, the last of the 1900+ yachts home, Pendragon of Dartmouth, a Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40, made it across the finish line a mere three seconds before the line closed officially at 2200hrs, bagging themselves the ‘Tenacity Trophy’ at today’s Prizegiving at the Island Sailing Club.
Some 16,000 sailors faced wind speeds of up to 28 knots and there were huge swells to contend with off the Needles and at St. Catherine’s as the record-breaking fleet of 1,900 yachts undertook this most famous 50 nautical mile westabout Island circumnavigation on Saturday. A number of incidents were reported to the Coastguard, including ‘Man Overboard’ reports and capsizes as well as dismastings. There was a lot of sail damage across the fleet that ranged from high tech racers through to many smaller boats competing. However, a spokesman for the Race Management team at the Island Sailing Club, stressed that some of these incident reports were not attributable to the Race and were involving spectator boats rather than competitors.
Dave Atkinson, Assistant Principal Race Officer of the day said, 'It was a successful race for the Island Sailing Club and we have received many compliments on running a great but challenging event. We’re looking forward to welcoming competitors in 2012 for another record-breaking year.'
Thousands of weary but generally happy sailors returned to Cowes and the marinas along the South Coast of England from mid afternoon yesterday, all feeling justifiably proud of their immense achievement in getting round the Island safely in tough conditions for even the most experienced and hardened sailor.
Nick Rogers, who usually sails a 470 with partner Chris Grube, helmed the Contessa 26 Sundowner to victory at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.
Line Honours went to French skipper Lionel Lemonchois and his 50ft multihull Prince de Bretagne who were first to cross the finish line in 3hrs 49m and 58s.
The final number of boats to cross the finish line in Cowes was 1,302 and there were 438 retirements and 16 DSQ (disqualified) and/or OCS (on course side).
The Race has become progressively more high profile as enhanced technology and communications has helped spread the scale and excitement of the Race farther and more widely around the globe. On Race Day, the total number of page impressions on the Race website amounted to 393,000 which is 100,000 up on 2010’s site visitors. The Race Viewer, allowing online spectators to track boats of their choice, was downloaded by over 32,000 people. The interactive Race Progress Blog produced by the Media Centre and Race Control attracted 17,762 visitors over the course of twelve hours with appreciative comments coming in from as far away as Australia, the Philippines, Mexico and the US.
The Island Sailing Club, the Title Sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and the Race Partners Britannia Events, Haven Knox-Johnston, Henri Lloyd, Nautica Watches, Old Pulteney Whisky, Raymarine, Red Funnel, Small Luxury Hotels of the World & Volvo Car UK, look forward to welcoming everyone to next year’s Race taking place on Saturday 30th June.
For full results and trophy winners, plus all the news, click here?nid=85279
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9:12 AM Wed 29 Jun 2011 GMT
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