Entries for the world-famous Round the Island Race opened at 00.01 this morning (Friday). Organised by the Island Sailing Club (ISC), the Round the Island has always been one of the UK’s largest participation sporting events and regularly attracts over 1,500 boats and thousands of sailors. This year the race will be held on July 3, and celebrates its 90th anniversary, and with so many high-profile events being cancelled, it is being tipped as one of the biggest events to be staged since the UK’s first lockdown a year ago.
One of the unique attractions of the race is its even-handedness and the opportunity for Olympic and World champion sailors to compete on the same racecourse with amateurs, families and club sailors of all ages. Whilst the majority of the crews will simply enjoy the challenge of getting all the way round, there will be many teams aiming to beat course records. The current monohull record is held by Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard, who in 2013 posted an time of 3 hours 43 minutes and 50 seconds. The multihull class, introduced in 1961, can achieve even faster times, as shown in 2017 when Ned Collier Wakefield’s Concise10 flew round in just 2 hours 22 minutes and 23 seconds.
Rob Peace, Rear Commodore for Sailing, ISC said “The Island Sailing Club are delighted to launch the 2021 Race. Sailors are desperate to get back out on their boats, and our race is perfectly timed and definitely provides a unique and thrilling experience for all of the crews. Over the past 90 years approximately 500,000 sailors and 70,000 boats have been challenged by this race – those are some impressive statistics!”
David Atkinson, Race Director said “The focus for 2021 is on organising a great race on the water. While the government’s roadmap out of lockdown suggests we will be able to run some of our usual social activities ashore, we are very mindful of the possible need to avoid large gatherings over the race weekend. No decisions have been taken at this stage, and we will be updating our plans in line with the easing of restrictions over the coming weeks and months.”
Spectators can enjoy the action from many points around the Island’s coastline. The organisers are working with Visit Isle of Wight to produce a comprehensive guide to the best ‘fresh air’ viewing spots with associated public transport, parking, facilities and refreshment information.
The race’s official charity will once again be the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. The Trust’s work is focused on rebuilding confidence of young people after cancer, through sailing and adventure.
To find out more or enter the race, go to the event website roundtheisland.org.uk.