Light winds turned the 2014 event into an endurance test with the slowest ever winner; 715 finishers and 791 retirees

Extremely light winds, at times recording zero knots, turned the 2014 J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race into an endurance test for its participants.

Held yesterday on Midsummer’s day, the race was one of the longest in the history of the 83-year-old race.

There were 715 finishers and 791 retirees; race organisers said it is always regrettable to have more
retirees than finishers but there was a very positive response from the majority
of competitors nonetheless.

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The slowest elapsed time for a line honours boat ever recorded in
the race’s history was 08.51.37 achieved by Team Richard Mille on their
GC32 foiling multihull – almost three times slower than last year’s winning time of 02.52.15, set by Sir Ben Ainslie’s AC45 catamaran team.

Most of the
1,585 entries started the race around the Isle of Wight in around three
knots and bright sunshine and as the hours went by, temperatures rose
but wind speed dropped leaving hundreds of boats becalmed and a large
proportion of the 16,000 crew desperately seeking ways of making their
boats go faster or resorting to stretching out on deck to enjoy the
sunny conditions.

There were several standstills for many boats during the race, and other times when it was the tide, rather than the wind, that powered the yachts along.

to the Needles was Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore’s Swan 45 Eala of Rhu
but the going was slow and Sir Ben Ainslie, racing on the Farr 45 Rebel
with members of his BAR America’s Cup crew, took longer to complete the
first 13 miles than the record-breaking time he took to
finish the entire race last year.

very quickly became involved in a match race with rival Farr 45 Toe in
the Water
crewed by injured servicemen and women who had served recently
in Afghanistan and the lead swapped several times over the 50nms
course though it was Capt Lloyd Hamilton’s ecstatic crew who nudged
across the finish line ahead of Ainslie and his team of professionals.

‘This means everything to us,’ he said recording a time of 8 hours 51 minutes 39 seconds.

He added: ‘The
guys are ecstatic at beating Rebel. They don’t know many of the
America’s Cup sailors but they know and love Sir Ben Ainslie, so are

Racing debuts pay dividends

big battle to ensue on the water was between the brand new
high-performance catamarans, the GC32s Team Richard Mille and Spax
making their racing debuts in the Solent.

Former line honours
winner Pete Cumming had gathered together a professional crew for Team
Richard Mille
, including helmsman Paul Campbell-James and proved
consistently faster than their rivals.

took five long hours to reach St Catherine’s Point where the sea breeze
kicked in to give the leading boats a big push over the next two hours
towards the finish but just as they were within sight of the line, the
wind in Stokes Bay died and their final flourish was delayed by a
further hour to record a finish time of 8 hours and 51 minutes.

Cumming said: ‘It
wasn’t the easiest race but these boats are superb – very fast even in
light airs and fun to sail.’

First monohulls in battle royale 

monohull across the finish line was Dutch boat Tonnerre de Breskens,
with a time of 9 hours 56 minutes 13 seconds but they too had a battle royale to
gain an advantage over Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe II, which trailed
in just 22 seconds later after one of the biggest tests of endurance and
patience since the Round the Island Race started in 1931.

The first Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust yacht, Scarlet Oyster, crewed by PBO News Editor Laura Hodgetts, trust volunteers and six young people crossed the finishing line at 5.57pm – almost 10 and a half hours after setting off at 7.30am.

A total of 24 teenagers took part on the trust’s five yachts. Dame Ellen and a crew aboard the trust’s flagship yacht Moonspray were forced to retire, after becoming becalmed off Dunose.

hours after the first start, 246 boats had finished and a further 445
had retired but the rest were still out on the course valiantly trying
to make the finish before the cut off time of 10pm.

Prize giving

The Gold Roman Bowl was awarded to a
Folkboat, Madelaine, skippered by Edward Donald, who hasn’t quite
achieved the record four wins of the Gold Roman Bowl by Edward Heath but
he’s nearly there, having won it individually three times and the
Donald family has collected this famous trophy four times.

The Tenacity Trophy, awarded annually to the skipper of the last boat home. This year it fell to Stuart Whitmore to win the
applause. He crossed the finish line on his Sigma 33, Sixes and Sevens,
(IRC3) at 21.51.35, having started his race at 0730 – 14 hours,
21 minutes, 35 seconds later.

Event organiser, the
Island Sailing Club, runs the event with support from title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management and the race partners for
2014: Dream Yacht Charter, Haven Knox-Johnston, Henri Lloyd, Nautica
Watches, Old Pulteney, Raymarine, Red Funnel, Volvo Car UK.

Find the full results here:

Pictures: Team Richard Mille celebrating their line honours victory, and the catamaran in action at the 2014 Round the Island Race; Boats sailing around the Isle of Wight landmark, The Needles.

All credited to onEdition