Cowes will host the start and finish of this year’s Sevenstar Race, around Britain and Ireland, leaving Cowes on August 7.
A record 15 IRC Two-Handed vessels will be taking part, with around 40 boats in total.
Cowes-based Olympic sailor, Shirley Robertson, will be taking part with Dee Caffari, a regular Island visitor. Shirley made history becoming the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal at consecutive games. Dee has sailed around the world six times and was the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions.
The duo will be racing together on a Sun Fast 3300 RockIT (GBR). Shirley’s strength is sailing the boat hard, keeping up the intensity of speed. Dee’s strength is her knowledge and confidence of the course, as this is the fifth time she will be joining the race.
“This race has a different kind of intensity, racing for 2,000 miles is new to me,” Shirley commented: “We need to be well prepped, think about everything in advance and have real confidence in the boat.” It will be Shirley’s first time racing around her native Scotland, “I have this romantic image that we would be racing around the beautiful Scottish coastline, but I am sure the reality will be very different.”
Dee added: “The course is full of obstacles and challenges and it is really testing, and that is its attraction. Assuming a traditional clockwise direction, the first part is really good sailing in open water; past the Fastnet and onto the West Coast of Ireland is the enjoyable part, but then you get the stress. You are getting more tired when you reach the top of the course, Muckle Flugga. After that you come down the North Sea, scattered with oil rigs, wind farms, sand banks and shipping lanes. The pressure is really on when you are really tired, and probably a bit frustrated.”