059025Around 1,700 yachts of all shapes and sizes will set out from Cowes early on the morning of June 1 for the annual spectacle that is the Round the Island Race.

Entries have been coming in from all around the world for the 50 nautical-mile event which starts and ends from outside the Royal Yacht Squadron. The 2013 Race entry list already includes boats from Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria and France and there are boats competing with crew members who are flying in from Australia, South Africa and the USA.

The massive fleet heads anti-clockwise around the Island, many taking much of the day to complete the course, depending on wind and sea conditions.

However, there will be teams challenging the existing course records, which stand at three hours, 53mins and five secs for a monohull, set by Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard in 2008; and three hours, eight mins and 29secs for a multihull set by Francis Joyon in 2001, aboard Dexia Eure et Loire.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, one of the world’s most eminent and respected yachtsmen and the first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, is skippering one of 10 Clipper entries, CV 21, in this year’s Race.

Sir Robin has also agreed to present this year’s prizes at the Island Sailing Club at midday on Sunday June 2, and he could end up armed with silverware and shaking his own hand as a Class winner!

Entries opened on January 4 and the first entry to be approved and processed was Redshank, a Devon-based Evolution 26, owned and raced by Stuart Palmer from Teignmouth, Devon.

“When I got the call to say we were the first entry I was really excited. We race at our home club and at the Torbay Regatta but the Round the Island Race is the biggest event for us to compete in. Even the delivery trip from Devon is a big adventure,” said Stuart.

Conceived as a quick and easy way to increase communication throughout the Round the Island Race community, people can help raise funds for the official Race charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, by tweeting using the hash tag #raceforall.

For every tweet using the approved hashtag, J.P. Morgan will donate 10p to the charity, until the ‘Tweetometer’ target of £3,000 is reached. You can view the latest fundraising tweets at http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk/raceforall