Each year amateurs and professionals compete against each other in the Round the Island Race. It is one of the few races where amateurs and complete novices can race alongside Olympic gold medallists like Ben Ainslie and around the world racers like Alex Thomson. The Round the Island Race attracts worldwide interest and is covered in media from Hungary to New Zealand, Japan to Brazil.All sorts of people take part in the race and you will see a huge variety of sailing boats: Classic J class yacht like Velsheda, small cruising yachts, large cruising yachts, state of the art single handed and Volvo round the world racing yachts, famous yachts like Gipsy Moth Vi and Suhaili.
The Round the Island race this year is on 30th June.
The course is simple. Starting outside the Royal Yacht Squadron off Cowes on the Isle of Wight yachts race around the Isle of Wight leaving it to Port. The finishing line is off Cowes. Usually there are in excess of 1800 yachts taking part. The sight of all these boats, particularly when running downwind with colourful spinnakers bellowing out is truly spectacular.
The distance is about 60 miles. The fastest yachts do it in under 4 – 6 hours. The record is just under 4 hours. The yachts First Class Sailing enter, Challenger 72s, did it last year in about 6 hours and came within the top 1/4 of all the entries. These Challenger 72s were built to race around the world with amateur crews and a professional skipper.
After the race lots of boats head for Cowes where there is all sorts of entertainment laid on and a real festive atmosphere.
Whilst previous experience is very useful it is not essential. The people that join us for the race do so for a number of reasons: some want an exciting day out. Actually it’s a 3 day event. There is a training day on the Friday, the race on Saturday and a leisurely sail back to base on the Sunday; some people want to see what racing is like – the race offers a taste of the thrill and excitement of close quarters yacht racing; others come to learn about racing and to experience what sailing a big 72 foot yacht is like.
If you would like to know more or would like to take part in this year’s Round the Island Race have a look here.