Round-The-Island-Race

The 4th largest sporting event in Britain after the London Marathon and the Great North and South runs

The Island Sailing Club (ISC) has announced that entries for this year’s 80th Anniversary Race open on Friday January 21st. The Race is taking place on Saturday 25th June with the first start at 0600.

‘Round The Island Race, the annual J.P. Morgan Asset Management event organised by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island  off the south coast of England.

Here’s the amazing bit – the race is so popular that it regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK.

2010 Documentary Preview

It’s a 50 nautical mile race and sailors from the UK, Europe and even as far as America take part. The idea was originally born in the fertile mind of Major Cyril Windeler who might well have been enjoying a quiet joke at the expense of the Royal Yacht Squadron – the race that Major Windeler suggested was for small boats of between 5 to 25 tonnes… the Royal Yacht Squadron was closed to anyone with a boat of less than 30 tonnes!

The first race was held in 1931 with 25 entries and it was indeed won by a small boat – the 7 tonne 22 foot Cornish fishing boat “Merry Conceit” skippered by Peter Brett. He had bought the boat from the builders in Looe, for the princely sum of £45. O the times they have-a changed!

The race was suspended throughtout the war years but continued in 1946. Entry numbers steadily increased from 105 in 1950, to 1,309 in the mid 1980s and it’s been exponential since then. Until the mid-1970’s there was no time limit and many’s the race official who remembers that lonely vigil until long after dark, waiting for the stragglers. Three green lights on a pole, powered by a car battery, marked the finish line.

Record breaking has become an important feature of the race, especially since a multihull class was introduced in 1961. The course record in 1962 was set by Don Robertson at 5 hours 50 minutes. On the 50th anniversary of the race in 1986, things had speeded up and ‘Paragon’, sailed by Mike Whipp and Olympic medallist Rodney Pattison, flew round in 3 hours 55 minutes and 28 seconds, creating a new record. Francis Joyon holds the current multihull record of 3 hours 8 minutes and 29 seconds which has stood since 2001 and Property Developer and current mono-hull record holder, Mike Slade has repeatedly broken his own record to take the prize 4 times. His current record is 3 hours 53 minutes and 5 seconds in ‘ICAP Leopard’.

2011 is the 80th Anniversary staging of the Round the Island Race.  Registration for this race begins today… send an email to: rir@islandsc.org.uk (Entries)

And best of luck!

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