Organised by the much-respected Island Sailing Club, the Round the Island has always been one of the UK’s largest participation sporting events and regularly attracts over 1,500 boats and thousands of sailors.
This year the race celebrates its 90th anniversary and with so many high-profile events being cancelled, the Round the Island is being tipped as one of the biggest events to be staged since the UK’s first lockdown a year ago.
Whilst the majority of the boats will simply enjoy the challenge of getting all the way around, there will be many teams aiming to beat the existing course records. The current monohull record continues to be held by Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard, who in the near-perfect conditions of 2013 posted an elapsed time of 3 hours 43 minutes and 50 seconds. The multihull class, introduced in 1961, generally achieves even faster times, as shown in 2017 when Ned Collier Wakefield’s Concise10 flew round in just 2 hours 22 minutes and 23 seconds.
Rob Peace, Rear Commodore for Sailing, ISC said:
“The Island Sailing Club are delighted to launch the 2021 Race. Sailors are desperate to get back out on their boats, and our race is perfectly timed and definitely provides a unique and thrilling experience for all of the crews. Over the past 90 years approximately 500,000 sailors and 70,000 boats have been challenged by this race – those are some impressive statistics!”
David Atkinson, Race Director said:
“The focus for 2021 is on organising a great race on the water. While the UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown suggests we will be able to run some of our usual social activities ashore, we are very mindful of the possible need to avoid large gatherings over the race weekend. No decisions have been taken at this stage, and we will be updating our plans in line with the easing of restrictions over the coming weeks and months.
“Naturally, we expect those taking part to follow all of the current guidelines in place for the race, and we will be providing a summary of guidance from relevant authorities through a dedicated page on the event website. We will be asking everyone to check this regularly, familiarise themselves with the information and help make the event safe for us all.”
Spectators can enjoy a fantastic view of all the action from many points on the Island’s breath-taking coastline. The organisers are working with Visit Isle of Wight to produce a comprehensive guide to the best ‘fresh air’ viewing spots with associated public transport, parking, facilities and refreshment information.
To enter, go to the event website www.roundtheisland.org.uk.