It will take over 90 minutes to safely get the racers underway from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes at 07:00 before they head West to The Needles before turning towards St Catherine’s, Ventnor, Bembridge and back to Cowes. The inspirational Isle of Wight-based ‘sip & puff’ sailor Natasha Lambert BEM is firing the first gun.
Likely to attract much of the attention is Prince de Bretagne, the 80ft Multihull prototype driven by Lionel Lemonchois with Roland Jourdan and Gurloës Merrien on board, and the MOD70 Concise 10 team including Ned Collier-Wakefield with Jean-Pierre Dick and Paul Larsen amongst other crew helping them to try and break the current multihull race record set by Ben Ainslie on 1st June 2013.
In the Monohulls, look out for the 100ft Farr Leopard, with owner Mike Slade on the wheel who already holds the monohull race record on 1st June 2013, standing at 3.43.50. This is 9 minutes and 45 seconds inside ICAP Leopard’s own race record set back in 2008.
Amongst some better-known names taking part this year and racing on an IMOCA 60, are Giles Scott, Olympic Sailor, part of the British Sailing Team and a member of Team Volvo and Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills who is currently campaigning for Rio 2016 with sailing partner Saskia Clarke in the 470 Womens class. The Race is also delighted to welcome an equestrian Olympic star and medallist Mary King, joining a crew for her first-ever Round the Island Race.
Live pre-race interviews with key competitors and race officials, full coverage of each of the 11 starts, as-live action from key parts of the racetrack, audio interviews with leading competitors during the Race and live coverage of the first winning boats, along with high-quality graphics (including live race tracking of the fleet), key results, weather updates and advertorial features from some of the race sponsors will be shown on the website www.roundtheisland.org.uk.
Armchair spectators can also follow the day’s action using the online Tracking facility and the popular Live Blog run by the Event media team, as well as reading the hourly news summaries, all of which will be on the official website.
Dave Atkinson on behalf of the Race Management Team is looking forward to a great day, commenting:
“This is my 30th RTI working alongside the ISC and our 170 volunteers and it’s shaping up to be one of the best. After two years of light conditions, the weather this year is looking very good for Saturday and we’re hopeful that we’ll get most of the boats across the finish line before it closes at 2200hrs.”
Everyone racing or spectating is encouraged to tweet news and images to @roundtheisland using #raceforall.
A spectator guide can be located at: