The ever-popular Round the Island Race is once again preparing to welcome thousands of competitors from the UK and across the world to race the 50 nautical miles around the Isle of Wight, with the first start scheduled for 0800 on Saturday July 1, from the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes.
The Island Sailing Club in Cowes, which has run the event since 1931, expects over 7,000 sailors and 1,200 boats to be enjoying the challenge of this iconic yacht race. Spectators can enjoy incredible views of the fleet from vantage points on the Island or mainland coastlines.
This ‘Race for All’ is a unique event in the sporting calendar – encouraging enthusiastic amateurs to compete against elite pros and Olympians of a sport, all on equal footing and around the same racecourse.
Although the majority of the fleet will take many hours to complete the race, the record holder for the fastest lap in a monohull stands at 3h 43m 50s, set by Mike Slade on ‘ICAP Leopard’ in 2013, and 2h 22m 23s for a multihull boat, set by Ned Collier Wakefield on ‘Concise 10’ in 2017. Local Cowes boat ‘Eeyore’, an Alacrity 18 Bilge Keel built in 1964 and only 18 feet, secured back-to-back overall victories in 2019 and 2020, winning the top prize – the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl.
The race has supported the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust for many years and this year Dame Ellen MacArthur will take the helm of their flagship boat ‘Solent Hero’ – 26 years since she first took part in Round the Island Race.
She said: “I have wonderful memories of Round the Island Race. My first participation was in 1997 on a Mini Transat boat, and I’ve raced many times since, the most memorable perhaps was winning line honours in an Extreme 40.
“But the most meaningful has been sailing with the young people with the Trust, I absolutely love it and I can’t wait to be on the water”.
For race information, the best vantage points and to enter visit www.roundtheisland.org.uk. For all the latest news follow the race on social media – @roundtheisland and #RoundTheIsland #RaceForAll.