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With so many events cancelled or postponed for 2020 it is good to welcome a new event onto the sailing calendar for this Summer.

‘Race the Wight’-a race around the Isle of Wight on Saturday 1st August – will see the return to competitive racing at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This race will replace the originally scheduled Channel Race and is open to COVID-19 compliant crews following Government regulations in both the Two Handed and family/same-household classes.

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Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the 50-nautical mile race will adhere to the latest Government guidelines and advice from the RYA and World Sailing.  Safety of all competitors, staff and volunteers are of primary concern as the RORC continues to monitor the Coronavirus outbreak carefully.

Yachts will race anti-clockwise, heading westwards towards Yarmouth, leaving the Solent and rounding the Needles Lighthouse before making their way along the South West coast of the Island to St Catherine’s Point before crossing Sandown Bay to round Bembridge Ledge. The fleet then makes its way either side of No Man’s Land Fort and across Osborne Bay to the finish line back at Cowes.

With the Island Sailing Club’s Round the Island race postponed in May this will be the first opportunity in 2020 to view a large fleet sailing off the Island’s shore. However, numbers for this race are restricted to 150 boats.

RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone comments:

“It’s been extremely difficult to know what changes to racing will allow us to go back to our original programme; taking into consideration the current regulations and social distancing measures, plus the need to protect the integrity of the season pointscore. It is our belief that the Channel Race may be a little too early to allow fully crewed racing and would potentially be difficult with regulations not permitting overnight racing. We therefore think a race around the Isle of Wight (for those who can), is a great compromise as crews can enjoy a distance race with an offshore element whilst still remaining close to the Solent.

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“We have some Musto prizes for the class winners and for our overall winner, and with entry fees going to the Scaramouche Sailing Trust and the NHS, we could not be happier about the whole event. It’s a great way to start the season.”

Brian Thompson’s ratified World Sailing Speed Racing Council record for an around the Isle of Wight voyage of 2h 2m 31s in Phaedo3 in September 2016 is a time to be beaten, but all will depend on weather conditions on the day.

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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