Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark’n’Stormy achieved an historic triple triumph at Saturday’s Round the Island Race.
The yacht took the Monohull Line Honours, winning IRC Zero and the race overall under IRC handicap rules, lifting the coveted Gold Roman Bowl. The triple triumph was last performed by Simon Le Bon’s Drum in 1988.
After five hours of racing, runner up by just 63 seconds, was Reichel Pugh’s GP42 Khumbu sailed by Christian Hamilton and Guy Gillon.
GP Zero Class boats dominated the event, both in terms of elapsed and IRC corrected time. Third was the De Graaf family racing Ker 43 Baraka GP. Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Johnny Poortman, and Bertie Bicket’s IC37 Fargo, also made the top 10 after IRC time correction.
More than 1,100 boats competed in the 91st edition of the 50-nautical mile race. The event started with a bang from the Royal Yacht Squadron’s starting cannons in Cowes at 8am, fired by The Marathon Watch Company president, Mitchell Wein.
Ian Walker, tactician on ‘Dark’n’Stormy’, said: “The race is a one-off. It’s sailing’s London Marathon and is our chance to get as many people out on the water as possible to enjoy a fantastic day.
“We had a pretty tidy race, a good start with clear air and were the leading monohull at The Needles, which saves a lot of time when you’re in the pack with boats everywhere. Our boat is good downwind, and we were fast reaching to St Catherine’s and under a lot of pressure from Khumbu, the other Fast40.
“We swapped places a few times at St Cat’s, got the spinnaker up, and it was then a question of whether we could hold it all the way down to Bembridge. In fact, we broached a few times and had to drop the spinnaker with only a 300m lead.
“Khumbu did a great job of going inside us at the fort, and then we were bow to bow coming up the Solent. Fortunately, we got ahead of them with the Code Zero just before Ryde Bank and then held it to the finish, getting line honours. It was a great race and huge thanks go to the fantastic organisation of the Island Sailing Club.”
Race director, David Atkinson, said: “The race started under perfect race conditions with a south-westerly 15-knot breeze. The Class 0 yachts headed down The Solent to the west and showed some close racing. It was a fantastic sight to watch the huge fleet of all types of boat, families and professionals, following at 10-minute intervals.”
The Island RNLI and Independent lifeboats were kept busy throughout the event attending a variety of rescue incidents.