There's a new ride for Sir Ben Ainslie in the Round the Island Race

Sir Ben Ainslie will be swapping boats when he joins thousands of sailors competing in the 2014 Round the Island Race this Saturday, 21 June.

Leopard, the largest boat in Saturday’s Round the Island (RTI) Race, at 30 metres, and due to be co-helmed by owner/driver Mike Slade and Sir Ben Ainslie, has been pulled from the race owing to rigging failure.

Last year Leopard broke her own monohull record, achieving 3hrs 43mins 50secs.

The Island Sailing Club, organisers of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, say Sir Ben will instead be racing on the Farr 45 Rebel (IRC 0) in the first start at 0630 on Saturday.

Sir Ben says that despite his regret at not having the chance to go for both RTI course records, having broken the multihull record last year rounding in 2hrs 52mins 15secs, he is delighted that he can still enjoy racing with his fellow Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team members and is looking forward to a more relaxing ride than he had last year.

What will be happening?
This year’s event, held on the longest day, marks the 83rd edition of the race. There will be in excess of 1,580 yachts competing.

Skippers are encouraged to sign up to live tracking, whilst families, friends and followers around the globe can follow the race progress on a live blog on the event website.

Organisers say this year has seen a 7% growth in the number of ‘first timers’ signing up to experience one of the most iconic yacht races in the world.

The Round the Island Race is the largest yacht race of its kind in the world and one of the largest participation sports in the UK. Participants range from professionals to amateur sailors, across the generations and level of ability.

Alongside Sir Ben, big names taking part this year include Dame Ellen
MacArthur and Sir Robin
Knox-Johnston, David Dimbleby, our
Race starter, Olympians Luke Patience and Elliott Willis, Pippa Wilson
MBE and the foiling talents of the GC32 Team Richard Mille
amongst others.

There’s a forecast of sunshine and light winds.
Weather guru predicts good sailing conditions
Race meteorologist Chris Tibbs says: ‘We’re expecting a light NNE-ENE wind, with a light sea breeze developing in the afternoon. There will be plenty of sunny spells, and temperatures should be in the high teens or low 20’s ashore and 16°C on the water.’

On-shore action

Activities will be on offer to keep family and friends of all ages occupied over the race weekend. The Red Funnel Food Festival with its cookery theatre and the Festival of the Sea being celebrated by businesses all over the Island.
On Saturday, Volvo will have 2012 Silver medallist Luke Patience and his 470 team mate Elliot Willis (2 x World Champion) who are campaigning for Gold in Rio 2016 in the Men’s 470 class on their stand signing autographs from 3pm.
Sir Ben Ainslie will also be making a special appearance on the Henri Lloyd stand in the Race Village between 5-6pm on Saturday.
Free Water Taxis will be operating again, throughout Cowes, during Friday afternoon and evening and Saturday afternoon and evening.

The Folly Launch will also be free from midday Friday to midday Sunday – all the details are here.

Pictures: Ben Ainslie and his team broke the multihull course record in last year’s Round the Island Race. Credit: Lloyd Images

In 2013, photographer Ian Roman captured the vast Round the Island Race fleet rounding of The Needles