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Photo: Island Visions Photography


Roundtheislandlogo2024It was certainly a Round the Island Race to remember this year with crews battling the adverse conditions on Saturday, especially around The Needles and St Catherine’s Point.

Wet, windy conditions greated those that made the 06:00 start on Saturday morning, with many competitors either withdrawing or being told their class had been cancelled due to the sea state being deemed too dangerous for many. Of the 939 boats originally entered, only 153 completed the race.

Drama unfolded when a man went overboard near The Needles. Lymington RNLI responded to the emergency but thankfully the yacht had already recovered their crew member upon arrival.

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There are another man overboard incident too, as captured by local photographer Jamie Russell of Island Visions Photography. The yacht Walkabout 4, managed to recover their crew member after 8 or 9 minutes of very tense and difficult manoeuvring.

In total, there were just 9 incidents connected to the race, less than in previous years. Among them was a yacht – with 8 people on board – that had to be towed to safety after losing its steering on the starting line. Later in the day a yacht with 7 people on board had lost its steering gear on the finishing line.

Race Director, Dave Atkinson said:

“This race was a challenge for both the competitors and the Race Team at the Island Sailing Club, with the safety and well-being of the crews being the main priority.

“We would like to thank the RNLI, independent lifeboats and coastguard teams for their assistance and co-operation before and during the race on Saturday. Despite the challenging conditions we only had nine incidents connected to the race which is less than previous years, this shows the seamanship of the crews and the correct decision making that went into undertaking of the race.”

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Race Safety Officer and Station Manager at Cowes RNLI, Mark Southwell said:

“The sailors who competed made the right call and had a challenging but no doubt enjoyable race they’ll remember. Those who cancelled or retired as they sensed conditions approaching the Needles also made the right decision.

“Sailing is a safe sport undertaken by responsible individuals more than capable of weighing up: wind, sea state, boat and gear condition, crew experience and the ability to then decide whether it is right to put to sea or continue to race. Yesterday was a good day for safety at sea. This is a race for everyone and everyone made the right call, we thank you for that.”

The battle for the coveted Gold Roman Bowl was won by Peter Morton and his crew on TP52 Notorious who also won the Observer Trophy for Monohull Line Honours.

02 Rir Notorious Paul Wyeth
Photo: Paul Wyeth

Local Cowes resident Peter Morton, owner and skipper of Notorious said:

“This is one of the world’s greatest races and every year I look forward to it. I’ve not had the boat that long but I’ve competed in Round the Island Race many times over the last 50 years in various boats I’ve owned. Yesterday was special and the toughest one I’ve done. It’s 40 years ago since I won the Gold Roman Bowl on a little 25ft boat called ‘Odd Job’ which was the smallest boat in the fleet, so this year was very special for me.”

The first boat to cross the finish line was the multihull Highland Fling 18, which completed the race in 3 hours, 39 minutes and 5 seconds and wins the Freedom Challenge Bowl (Line Honours for Multihull Grand Prix & MOCRA Racing Classes).

Fleet Image - 03 Rir Highland Fling 18 Paulwyeth
Photo: Paul Wyeth

Irvine Laidlaw, owner and helm of Highland Fling 18 said:

It was the first event for us in 2024 and we’ve travelled over 3,000 miles from Palma to be here but it’s worth it! I thoroughly enjoyed the race – it is such a great race and I like the fact we go around an island with the start and finish in the same place, it’s rather satisfying.”

The 2025 edition of the race will be on Saturday 21st June.

Yarmouth RNLI Lifeboat was one of many RNLI crews helping provide rescue cover.

Yarmouth lifeboat and her crew launched in the rain and poor visibility at 07:30 and made their way to a point between Hurst Castle and the Needles Lighthouse to begin their essential safety cover as the main fleet made their way through the course. However, from the offset the weather had taken a turn for the worse, and saw many of the competitors retire early on in the race between Cowes and Alum Bay, but there were larger vessels in different fleets who managed to navigate and make passage to complete the course back to Cowes.

Yarmouth lifeboat were first tasked a 07:50 to a mayday from a sailing yacht 1 nautical mile off Yarmouth Harbour, who had reported being in a collision and had begun to take on water. Once on scene, Lymington Lifeboat was already assessing the situation and the casualty vessel’s tasking was handed over to them. Lymington lifeboat then escorted them back to the mouth of Yarmouth Harbour.

Yarmouth’s second tasking at 10:00 was for a sailing yacht that was reported to have broken its rudder 5 miles south of Atherfield Ledge. Once on scene, Yarmouth Lifeboat waited with the casualty vessel providing safety cover in 3-4m swells until a safety boat from the Island Sailing Club arrived on scene to take them back to Cowes via a towline.

And the third tasking came in just after 11:00 from HM Coastguard, where Yarmouth Lifeboat was required to help in a search after a man overboard call located close to The Needles. Whilst on route, the tasking was stood down due to the casualty being recovered from the water prior to the lifeboat’s arrival.

Yarmouth Lifeboat crew completed the course themselves as it was deemed necessary that they followed the fleet around the south and east of the island due to the poor weather conditions, and once the majority of the main fleet had returned to Cowes, they made passage back to station in Yarmouth and were marked ready for service at 14:30.

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Mr M
Mr M
9 hours ago

Shouldn’t be difficult for sailors, migrants Dinghy’s travel to the
UK safely on a daily basis in worse conditions

Reply to  Mr M
1 hour ago

Sea kelp. .


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