With so many high-profile events being cancelled, the Round the Island is being tipped as the biggest mass participation event to be staged since the UK’s first lockdown a year ago.
Run by the Island Sailing Club, this year is the 90th anniversary of the race and after so many months of yacht racing being halted in the UK, it’s a welcome return for many fired-up competitors. Renowned sailor and Helly Hansen Ambassador Pip Hare will be firing the cannons at the Royal Yacht Squadron for the first start at 06:30 and then jumping on a RIB to join the crew on quarter tonner ‘Belinda’.
David Atkinson, Race Director said:
“The focus for this year is organising a great race on the water. Saturday’s weather is currently looking good, but everyone should check the up-to-date forecast available on our event website. Entries have surpassed our expectations, and this clearly demonstrates the popularity of the race and the appetite for sailing in general after the latest lockdown.
“The entire race team of 130 people are working hard to ensure that all of our competitors have a fantastic day on the water. We look forward to hearing everyone’s stories and seeing your pictures.”
A pre-race weather briefing will be given by the race’s official weather guru, Chris Tibbs, and will be available online from 18:00 this evening via the event website www.roundtheisland.org.uk.
Chris Tibbs, said:
“It looks like it is going to be a slow start to the race until a weather front passes through late morning, then we will get a nice southwesterly wind with some sunny spells. This should get spinnakers flying on the south side of the island and a good finish to the race.”
The prize-giving for the Gold Roman Bowl (overall IRC winner) and Silver Gilt Roman Bowl (overall ISCRS winner) will take place at The Island Sailing Club on Sunday. All other trophies will be awarded on Saturday 7 August at 1100, after Cowes Week, by when COVID restrictions will hopefully be lifted. A full list of winners will be available on the event website.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has been the official race charity since 2005 and over £300,000 has been raised to help inspire hundreds of young people to believe in a brighter future. Their boat ‘Solent Hero’ will be competing tomorrow as the Trust ramps up their preparations to get young people #BackOnboard this summer.
The Trust crew includes 4 volunteers, who were themselves supported by the Trust living through and beyond cancer. To support the Trust, visit their fundraising page www.justgiving.com/campaign/RoundTheIsland2021.