Sailing prowess spans the generations as sea salts mix it up with young guns in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race
Entries have closed at 1,533 for the 2016 Round the Island Race, sponsored for the 12th and final year by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
The annual one-day race around the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, will be taking place this Saturday, 2 July.
The boats will cross the starting line at Cowes in 11 separate groups, starting every 10 minutes from 0830 until 1010 and heading in a westerly direction towards Yarmouth.
The course passes round the Needles Lighthouse, along the south-west coast of the Island to St. Catherine’s Point and then up across Sandown Bay to round the Bembridge Ledge Buoy. The fleet will then make its way either side of No Man’s Land Fort and across Osborne Bay to the finish line back at Cowes.
Organised by the Island Sailing Club (ISC), the event regularly attracts around 16,000 sailors of all abilities, in yachts of all different shapes and sizes. It’s one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
This year’s line up
The oldest boat competing in this year’s race is almost certain to be Thalia (Sail #11). Built in 1888, she was one of the last yachts by George Wanhill of Poole who was boatbuilding from the 1850s onwards.
In the 1890s Thalia went to Cork and was raced from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, returning to the south coast of England in 1918. After a more recent stint in the Caribbean, she was bought by David Aisher in 2010, and returned to England for a refit at the Elephant Boatyard in Hamble where a new mast was fitted with new standing and running rigging and sails. She was also re ballasted, rewired and replumbed.
David’s Thalia won’t easily be mistaken for another Thalia racing again this year; a Hanse 385 built in 2012. She is owned by Andrew Banks and there are five members of the family on board ranging from his 91 year-old father Ken down to his two sons aged 21 and 19.
More than 60 prizes are awarded for Round the Island (RTI) and every boat taking part in the race receives a memento of the occasion.
A veritable powerhouse of racing experience and RTI know-how is Jock Wishart who describes himself as “Adventurer/America’s Cup/Past Holder Round the World Powered Record/Rowed to North Pole/Winner Queens Cup Thames A- Raters”. His 2015 JPK 10.80 boat Shaitan is entered for the Commodores Cup as part of the Celtic Team as well as for this year’s RTI.
Jock has recruited some serious sailing talent including Thomas Lundquist as Helmsman, a Finn Gold Cup Winner and Olympic Gold Medallist, plus Julian Smith, co-Helm and the 2014 National Finn Champion; Andy Sinclair, Trimmer and Red Bull Youth America’s Cup helmsman; Jamie Joel, rigger, instructor etcetera and then these three musketeers, Ruaridh Wright, Peter Cameron and Angus Grey Stephens, all three of whom are Scottish Student Sailing Champions.
Girls for Sail have entered two boats this year with all-female crews, many of whom have never raced before – and in some cases, have never even sailed before. Hot Stuff, a Beneteau 40.7 and Diamonds are Forever, an Elan 37 are competing.
Celebrating their 16th Round the Island Race this year and with two all-female boat crews entered, Girls for Sail are hoping to encourage even more women to get involved.
Their youngest crew member is 18 and they will be joined by ladies of all ages and levels of experience. The most recent apprentice, Georgi, is training towards her RYA Yachtmaster Offshore ahead of starting a career in the sailing industry.
The Class 40 Concise 2 features a highly experienced all-girl crew on a fast boat with good pedigree, and as proven time and time again they can mix it up with the front of the fleet. Already confirmed for 2 July are Skipper Joy Fitzgerald, Sammie Evans, Hannah Diamond and Annabel Vose.
Raymarine Weather Briefing
The Raymarine Weather Briefing, Chris Tibbs addresses a packed ISC marquee. Image: Patrick Eden
Competitors are invited to the Island Sailing Club at 18:00 tomorrow, Friday 1 July, for the live Raymarine Weather Briefing, presented by meteorologist Chris Tibbs.
Experienced sailor Chris will share his tactical advice, giving competitors the latest weather and tidal information. If you can’t make it to the ISC the Briefing is also being streamed LIVE to the Royal Southern YC, the mainland HUB Club, or sign up at www.raymarine.eu/rtir-weather and watch the Raymarine Weather Briefing streamed live to you!
Free Water Taxis
Once again, there is a free water taxi service for competitors running between 3pm and midnight on Friday 1 July and between 2pm and 1am on Saturday 2 July, courtesy of J.P. Morgan Asset Management and the ISC. All the details are listed on the race website: rtir.me/berthing
A dedicated outside-broadcast production unit will provide live, commentated coverage of the starts and early finishes on race day. This live coverage will be broadcast on EventTV in Cowes, at the Royal Southern Race Hub in Hamble and on the event website for viewers around the world to watch.
The live show will feature pre-race interviews with key competitors and officials, full coverage of each of the race starts, action from key parts of the racetrack, audio interviews with leading competitors during the Race and live coverage of the first winning boats, along with fleet tracking graphics, key results, weather updates and other features. Two commentators will anchor the show and keep viewers updated with the latest race progress information and news from the Race.
Cruise ship spectators
The 200m cruise ship Saga Sapphire will be moored off Hamstead for her 750 passengers to view the racing, tethered fore and aft as close to the shore as they can get. With expert commentary on board.
The ship is outside the controls of the various authorities involved in the race but organisers have been assured that the ship will be tethered as close to the Island shore as possible to avoid any mishaps. This is the widest point of the western Solent.
Ways to follow the Race
Website (www.roundtheisland.org.uk): On the day there will be news on the hour – brought to you by expert sailor and yachting journalist Rupert Holmes.
Tracking – if you’re racing and you have registered your mobile for tracking (once this service has gone live), your family and friends can follow your progress as you race. It also really helps the comms team and race management to see where you are!
RTI TV – broadcasting live with on-water and shoreside commentary from the Island Sailing Club covering the starts and first finishers. Supplemented by the Race Control Blog reporting from race headquarters at the ISC. On air from 0800 and interspersed with interviews with competitors, race partners and experts.
LIVE Blog – the organiser’s team of bloggers will once again be interacting with competitors, family, friends and media around the world to bring you the colour, atmosphere and a sense of the sheer scale of the yacht race.
Race Village: On Saturday, the Race Village will be showing RTI TV live on the big screen so that spectators can keep in touch with the action.
Royal Southern Yacht Club: The mainland Race ‘Hub Club’ in Hamble will be showing live RTI TV from Friday night’s Raymarine Weather Briefing, held at the Island Sailing Club, through Saturday’s live starts and first finishers.
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