Question Time presenter David Dimbleby causes a stir by stripping to show off his scorpion tattoo...

stars are gathering on Cowes, Isle of Wight ahead of tomorrow’s Round the Island (RTI) Race 2014.

This year’s event, dubbed the Race for All, looks set to attract around 16,000 sailors of all abilities and more than 1,500 diverse boats. Big name participants include Sir Ben Ainslie and Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year and light winds are
forecast. Television presenter David Dimbleby joked;
‘This year every boat will be carrying breakfast, lunch and dinner by the
sounds of it.’

As the official race starter, Dimbleby will be sounding the canon before being whisked off with his son Fred to sail on a Farr 65 yacht with Olympian and Team Volvo Sailing member Luke Patience and his British Sailing teammates Elliot Willis and Mark Andrews.

It will be the second time Dimbleby has competed in RTI; 50 years ago he sailed with a girlfriend and two friends and spent three hours below deck being seasick, in conditions likened to the Atlantic seas.

The Question Time presenter, who also starred in the programme ‘Britain and the Sea’, caused much laughter at the press conference by stripping off his shirt when asked by presenter David ‘Freddie’ Carr about the scorpion tattoo on his shoulder, which he had done while making the sailing series.

Dimbleby said: ‘It wasn’t until after it had been done that I realised it only had six legs instead of eight. I’m very proud of it.’

Sir Ben Ainslie

world’s greatest Olympic sailor and America’s Cup contender Sir Ben
Ainslie and his BAR team will be competing on the Farr 45
Rebel (IRC 0) after his previous ride, Leopard, was forced to pull
out last minute due to rigging failure.

said: ‘It’s a fantastic race. The first time I raced was 1999 and
every year since I’ve been back.

‘What makes it so special is its inclusiveness – from professionals like us to people who have never been sailing before, it makes it really special, especially with the charity aspects.’

Charity boost

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, is organised by the Island Sailing Club with the support of 160 volunteers. Over the past 10 years it has raised £130,000 for charity.

For every Twitter post with the hashtag raceforall, J.P.Morgan will donate £1 to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

Dame Ellen MacArthur said RTI was ‘a race I’ve done many times. The first was in 1997 in a Mini Transat, I’d never been part of a race like that before, with so many people on the water, it’s really something quite special.’

She said the Trust yachts would be taking out young people who are recovering from cancer and leukemia. Dame Ellen added: ‘It’s all about enjoying time on the water.’

Find out more and follow the race tracking live at



David Dimbleby and Sir Ben Ainslie out on the water practising for the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014. Credit onEdition

David Dimbleby stripping off at the press conference to show off his scorpion tattoo, with Olympian Luke Patience and presenter David ‘Freddie’ Carr.

The Ben Ainslie Racing team.

Dame Ellen MacArthur with Freddie and Andrew Graham of the JP Morgan Bournemouth fundraising team.

PBO News Editor Laura Hodgetts and Mini Transat contender Lizzy Foreman, who will be competing in the 2014 event with a crew of two.