"This decision has not been taken lightly, and there has been a significant amount of discussion between the race organisers and the weather experts, Coastguard, RNLI and other support services", say Round the Island Race organisers as several classes are cancelled ahead of tomorrow's anticipated strong winds.

The excitement is building for the world-famous Round the Island Race around the Isle of Wight tomorrow, Saturday 15 June.

The annual ‘Race for all’, which this year has 939 entries, regularly attracts a diverse range of sailors, from Olympians and professional race teams, to keen amateurs and groups of families, ready to enjoy an exhilarating day out on the water.

Tomorrow’s forecast is looking particularly challenging, both in terms of strong winds and sea state, and all participants are being reminded to take measures to stay safe.

Round the Island Race - Fleet at The Needles. Credit: Paul Wyeth

Fleet at The Needles. Credit: Paul Wyeth

The race team and the Island Sailing Club have been closely monitoring the conditions, both in terms of wind and sea state, over the past weeks.

A spokesperson said: “After much discussion with our weather team, it has been regrettably decided that the following classes will be cancelled from this year’s race:

  • Classic Racing Yacht (ISCRS) LOA under 9.6m
  • Diam 24
  • Gaffer (Division 3) LWL under 23ft
  • J/70
  • Multihull (Bridgedeck Catamaran) LOA 9.15m and over
  • Multihull (Bridgedeck Catamaran) LOA under 9.15m
  • Multihull (Grand Prix and MOCRA Racing) LOA under 9.15m
  • Sportsboats (IRC)
    More information can be found on the event website: https://tinyurl.com/2kk4a5c2.

This decision has not been taken lightly, and there has been a significant amount of discussion between the race organisers and the weather experts, Coastguard, RNLI and other support services.

Race safety officer Mark Southwell said: “We will only cancel fleets where there is a significant chance that the majority of the fleet could get into difficulties and risk injury to the crew, a situation that could quickly overwhelm the support services. For other fleets, with a wide range of crew experience and boat types, it is each skipper’s sole responsibility to evaluate the capability of their crew and the suitability of their boat to handle the expected conditions (including wind and sea state) and make the decision as to whether their boat should take part.”

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Competitors are reminded of the Risk Statement (Section 16) included in the Notice of Race.

There will also be a requirement that all competitors taking part in the race will be required to wear lifejackets for the duration of the race.

Round the Island Race Shoreside race venue timing and map 2024

Shoreside race venue timing and map

Withdrawal and retirements

It is very important that competitors let the organisers know if they decide to withdraw from the race or retire after starting.

In advance, please contact the Island Sailing Club: rir@islandsc.org.uk or 01983 296 621 (this phone will be manned until 2000 today, Friday 14 June, and from 0330 tomorrow, Saturday 15 June).

On Race Day, simply use the automated declaration text system by sending “DNC” (Did not compete) or “RET” (Retired) to 02380 001 802.

The incident telephone line – 01983 249439 – is for enquiries about specific incidents (not for a competitor to report an incident on the racetrack). Available from 0600 to 2100 on Saturday 15 June.

What’s new for Round the Island Race 2024?

Round the Island Race - LIVE Race Leaderboard map

New for 2024 is a live race leaderboard map

The Island Sailing Club (ISC), based on the Isle of Wight, is proud to have organised this globally renowned race for more than 90 years.

All fleets follow the same 50-mile course, which circumnavigates the island in an anti-clockwise direction. Starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes at 0600, the fleet race westabout to The Needles, pass St Catherine’s Point, round Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.

To follow the race online, visit the event website and watch the “easy-to-use race viewer”. As well as seeing the full race unfold live and following the text commentary, specific boats can be highlighted and tracked as they progress around the course.

New this year is a ‘LIVE Stage Leaderboard’ tool which tracks the progress of the fleets (IRC and ISCRS) and shows individual boat positions on handicap within their fleet after each of the four main race stages. Also, follow on social media for all the latest updates.

It’s a spectacular sight watching the hundreds of boats sailing around the stunning Isle of Wight coastline.

There are many excellent vantage points on the Island shoreline including the start in Cowes, The Needles, Chilton Chine, St Catherine’s Point, Ventnor and Ryde Pier. On the mainland shore – Hurst Point and Gilkicker Point are great spots.

A Spectator Guide provides details of all the shoreside activities and a handy map, with a table of times at which the boats will pass different points during the race.

Round the Island Race - Shoreside crew bar on The Parade. Credit: Paul Wyeth

Shoreside crew bar on The Parade. Credit: Paul Wyeth

This year, the race team and the ISC are staging an official hospitality venue on The Parade in Cowes. It’s free to enter, everyone is welcome, and it will be open with live music , a large bar, food court and stalls, throughout the race weekend from 1400 on Friday 14 June to Sunday 16 June evening.