A total of 1,342 yachts of all different shapes and sizes turned out to compete in the 2017 Round the Island Race yesterday, in association with Cloudy Bay.
The 70ft trimaran Concise 10 achieved a thrilling race record, when Ned Collier Wakefield steered the MOD70 across the finishing line, exactly a minute faster than the time set by Phaedo3 in 2016.
Concise 10 owner Tony Lawson said: ‘It got pretty tense for me when we did 44 knots off St Catherine’s [Point]’ he said. ‘That is as fast as you would ever want to go I can promise you that. That is faster than Sir Ben [Ainslie in the America’s Cup] by the way…’
That will be the second boat in so many months that Giles Scott, tactician on Land Rover BAR (and sailing yesterday on Concise) will have achieved 40+knots.
Scott was not alone in terms of sailors from the upper echelons of the sport, with some of the finest sailors the world has to offer taking up the challenge of the 50nm classic. Alongside them were families sailing for fun, first timers and everyone in between.
Adam Gosling’s JPK10.80, Yes! stormed round in IRC1 to take the biggest prize of the day, the coveted Gold Roman Bowl, awarded to the overall winner of the race on corrected time in IRC.
The 2017 edition of the race was full of stories and excitement quite literally from dawn to dusk.
A NNW wind in the high teens and some rain showers greeted the earliest starters, who were due to set off west, down the Solent and towards the Needles at 05:30.
At least the wind and rain helped wake the competitors up a little and perhaps wash away some of the excesses from the night before.
The early weather also conspired to give the 1,342 racers a fast start, close reaching down the Solent with the tide beneath them; there were personal best times recorded to the Needles across the board.
Concise 10 started at 05:40 and made the Needles by 6:10 and went on to make St Catherine’s Point at around 06:50. But it was not just the multihulls romping in the conditions, the monohulls were lifting their skirts and flying too.
The first monohull to round the Needles was the Volvo70 Sanya Lan at a little after 06:30. By the time 06:50 rolled around, some 200 boats had already passed the Needles, setting their spinnakers and heading off to St. Catherine’s Point.
By the time most fleets had reached the Needles the winds had moderated, the clouds parted and the sun was shining, if intermittently at first.
For a long time it looked as though Irvine Laidlaw’s Reichel-Pugh 82, Highland Fling XI would take the coveted Gold Roman Bowl after they took line honours for the monohulls. But, ultimately no-one could match the might of Yes! who managed to take victory by just shy of seven minutes on corrected time.
With a fast reach to the Needles and a moderating breeze, retirements were few and far between. Tribute should be paid to the Island Sailing Club race management team, along with the huge volume of volunteers bring the race to fruition.
The finish remained open until 10pm yesterday evening.
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Cloudy Bay Brand ambassador, Ben Fogle who was out racing on the Farr 52 Bob by Cloudy Bay, said: ‘I love the outdoors and have spent the best part of 20 years exploring the world and exploring what we can do in it.
‘There is something so beautiful about the sport of sailing and working with the weather. So much of modern life is about what man is doing to destroy it and yet here we are showing the complete opposite. When you combine that with the heritage and the great social aspect, well, that is just a wonderful thing.’
Don’t forget to nominate any worthy recipients of the MS Amlin Seamanship Award direct to the Island Sailing Club. This is not restricted to sailors, but can be open to anyone who has shown exceptional seamanship or onshore assistance during the Round the Island Race.
Sir Keith Mills, owner of Invictus and founding Shareholder of the Land Rover BAR America’s Cup team, is due to attend today’s prize giving ceremony at the Island Sailing Club at midday.
A full list of results can be found on the event website.
Whilst patrolling the western Solent during the annual Round the Island Race yesterday morning, the RNLI’s Yarmouth all-weather lifeboat was called to two injured sailors, a suspected burst appendix and a grounded yacht.
The volunteer Yarmouth crew received the first request for help at 7.18am from the yacht Quokka, which had hit a submerged object just east of The Needles resulting in one of her crew members sustaining a broken shoulder and another, minor head injuries.
Once on scene, with assistance from the RNLI’s Lymington lifeboat, two Yarmouth lifeboat crew were put aboard the yacht to assess the casualties and assist in their safe transferral to the Yarmouth lifeboat, which then returned them to Yarmouth harbour and an awaiting ambulance.
The second call for assistance came at 8.05am from the 48ft yacht Marathon reporting the collapse of a crew member. The lifeboat came alongside the yacht just off Hurst Castle and the casualty, with a suspected burst appendix, was transferred to the lifeboat from where they were airlifted to hospital by the UK Coastguard’s Search and Rescue Helicopter.
Lastly, at 10.41am the lifeboat was tasked to assist yacht Ajax which had run aground on Atherfield Ledge, however when the lifeboat reached the scene the casualty vessel was found to have re-floated without assistance and was then able to proceed with the race.