The annual Round the Island Race will be be taking place bright and early tomorrow, with 1,342 yachts expected to line up from 0530 to race around the Isle of Wight.
The race management team led by Rear Commodore Sailing Dave Atkinson at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, is making last-minute preparations to welcome 1,342 yachts to 11 individual starts first thing tomorrow morning, Saturday 1 July.
The first start is scheduled for 0530 and the starting sequence will be completed by 0710 as the fleet heads west from Cowes to the Needles.
PBO’s editor David Pugh and deputy editor Ben Meakins will be taking part on their yachts. David will be racing with his brother and uncle aboard their Contessa 26 Red Dragon, while Ben will be skippering his Impala 28 Polly.
Among those signed up to race are last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner, Bernard Langley’s TP52 Gladiator with (fresh from his Land Rover BAR America’s Cup debut), David ‘Freddie’ Carr on board.
The race, which this year has news sponsors Cloudy Bay, also welcomes back the Greig City Academy Sailing Team, the inspirational and ultra-competitive North London inner city state school entry Scaramouche.
Last year’s runner-up to the record-breaking MOD70 Phaedo 3 who took Line Honours, with the distinctive blue hulls of Concise 10 is back aiming to achieve that accolade this year. The record set by Phaedo 3 was an astounding 2 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds, smashing the multihull race record time set by Sir Ben Ainslie in 2013 by a stunning 28 minutes!
Somewhat more sedately but equally competitive, the Cloudy Bay brand ambassador Ben Fogle is racing with the race sponsor’s guests on board the Farr 52 Bob by Cloudy Bay, skippered by Stephen Durkin.
Racing for the FAST40+ Class continues with Round Two of the FAST40+ Race Circuit, consisting of one day of Windward Leeward racing tomorrow (Friday) followed by 11 FAST40s racing around the Island on Saturday for the FAST40+ Cloudy Bay Trophy.
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Having previously raced his own boats, a Hustler 35, an SB20 and a J109, this year Rob Bellfield is skippering a Starlight 35, Sea Nymph III, to give a multi-national crew the experience of the Round the Island Race.
Rob is chairman of the GBR 420 Class Association as well as being a serving Royal Navy Captain. The boat has been chartered by the Royal College of Defence Studies YC, an international defence staff college located in Belgrave Square in London. Course members are 75% from foreign nations and are in the UK for a year to learn about strategy formulation at the national level. The crew is multi-national, with British, Norwegian, French, Israeli, Dutch and Spanish members.
The organisers hosted their pre-race press conference from midday today at the Island Sailing Club. This will be followed by the all-important Raymarine weather briefing at 1800hrs with meteorologist Simon Rowell.