Extreme heat and little wind made this year’s Round the Island Race in association with Cloudy Bay one of the slowest on record, if not the slowest ever.
In 2017 Concise, a MOD70 foiling trimaran, beat the record for multihulls and it was this boat – now Concise Fling – with Ned Collier Wakefield as helm which was the first boat to finish Saturday’s race, finally crossing the finish line at Cowes at 15:14:09.
Having had one of the first starts of the day at 06:30 the elapsed time of 8:34:09 makes this one of the slowest line honours times recorded in the Island Sailing Club’s annual 50nm Round the Island Race.Of the 1,204 boats entered over 470 retired and dusk was setting in when the last finishers crossed the line.
Although their sail from Cowes to the Needles had been very slow by their standards, their progress was hindered further as they passed through the Forts when the wind shut off completely leaving them floundering and a ‘traffic jam’ building up behind.
Following in their wake was the first monohull to finish, Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator with an elapsed time of 8:56:47.
Very light fitful winds led to many having to make the reluctant decision to retire from the race even before reaching the Needles and returning to Cowes from the Needles was a challenge, but the turning tide helped somewhat. Those who successfully rounded the Needles before the tide turned made slow progress and were tested to the limits especially as the hours slipped by.
This year’s race marked the 87th anniversary of this annual event which is organised by the Island Sailing Club (ISC).
ISC Commodore Dave Atkinson has been connected with the event for 38 years and Dave maintains that without the help of some 150 volunteers the race could not be held. He said that each race is different even though people think it is the same – it was certainly different this year.
Ben Fogle, Brand Ambassador for Cloudy Bay recently climbed Mount Everest and took on a challenge once again being aboard ‘Cloudy Bay’ (Farr Carroll Marine 60). In past years Ben has sailed the race about 6 times in other boats.
Official charity for the race was the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which to date the trust has raised £267,000 via the RTI Race. Dame Ellen has competed in the race herself since 1997 and this year she was on board ‘Solent Hero’ along with official race starter Katie Schuhster, who when 11-years-old and having battled cancer sailed a short trip on an EMCT boat in 2003.
After hours at sea for most of the competitors on Race Day it was back to dry land on Sunday for the Prizegiving at the ISC. Presentations were made by round the World sailor and Cowes resident Brian Thompson.
The race was won overall by ‘High Potential’. Ross Applebey and his team, based in Lymington, sailed an impressive race and after 8:30:03 ‘High Potential’ was deemed the overall winner of the Gold Roman Bowl on corrected time.
Commenting on his team’s win Ross said:
“We are absolutely delighted with the result! It was an amazing day of sailing and, this year, everything we did seemed to turn to gold with things ultimately turning in our favour as we approached Ryde. We’ve had a great atmosphere on board all day with my wife, Sarah, and our good friends.
“After doing a dozen or so Round the Island Races in the past, and the last three of those in High Potential, we are so happy that our hard work has paid off.”
In fourth overall position was ‘Mandarin’, an Island based folkboat skippered by Paul Dunston. Mandarin helped the ISC secure one of the club prizes as well as getting an individual prize.