With entries now closed at 1,342, this year’s Round the Island Race looks to be as good as ever and for Island residents and visitors there are numerous viewing spots, although remember that 05:30 start!
All the boats cross the start line at Cowes in 11 separate groups, starting every 10 minutes from 05:30 until 07:10 and heading in a westerly direction towards Yarmouth. Boats pass round the Needles Lighthouse, along the south-west coast of the Island to St Catherine’s Point and then across Sandown Bay to round the Bembridge Ledge Buoy. All 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 Cloudy Bay announced as the Presenting Sponsor, the race includes amongst its entries the Farr 52 Bob, entered as Bob by Cloudy Bay, skippered by Stephen Durkin. Amongst the crew this year is Cloudy Bay Brand Ambassador, adventurer and storyteller, Ben Fogle.
Another famous adventurer is the man who discovered the source of the Nile in Rwanda in 2005 under the most horrendous of circumstances, Neil McGrigor from Lymington. He also has several other high-profile expeditions under his belt, usually in a rigid inflatable boat but on 1st July will be racing his J/109 BOO, a 35ft cruiser/racer, with 9 members of his family on board aged from 16 years up.
This year’s Round the Island will see the maiden voyage for both the yacht Mr. Blue Sky – a Hanse 385 – and its crew, a mixed bag of people including a Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and a Yachtmaster. Also on board they have ex-Gloucestershire and England off spinner and Chairman of Cricket for The Lords Taveners, Martyn Ball, for his very first taste of yacht racing.
Returning to the UK fast foot from The America’s Cup in Bermuda is David ‘Freddie’ Carr. ‘Freddie’ has taken part in the RTIR several times before especially remembering the X40 in 2011 as a highlight.
As well as trophies for individual boats the race also features team competitions for boats from affiliated yacht clubs. 3 boats are needed to form a club team and enter for 1 of the team trophies. The entry fee is £30 per team and each club can enter more than 1 team if it wishes.
The prizes up for grabs are:
• The Methuselah Trophy awarded for the Overall IRC Team
• The Jeroboam Trophy awarded for the 2nd Overall IRC Team
• The Arun Yacht Club Team Challenge Trophy awarded for the Overall ISCRS Team
• The Jeroboam Trophy awarded for the 2nd Overall ISCRS Team
Now for that important weather; predicted are winds NNW 10-15 at the start backing to WNW 10-15 at noon.
As the race’s official Technical Partner, Raymarine will play a key role in providing competitors with essential weather updates ahead of the event, culminating with a live Weather Briefing and pre-race strategy on the race eve. For this year’s Weather Briefing, Raymarine has enlisted the expertise of the British Sailing Team’s meteorologist, Simon Rowell who will share his tactical advice and present the final pre-race weather strategy.