The annual Round the Island Yacht Race is organized by the Island Sailing Club. Since 2005, it has been sponsored by JP Morgan Asset Management. Beginning and ending in Cowes, the date that it takes place depends on the tides. It is usually held during the month of June, although it may be held in late May or early July if the sea refuses to cooperate with the traditional timetable.
Round the Island Yacht Race 2014
This year, the Round the Island Yacht Race will be held on 21 June 2014. It will begin and end at Cowes. The event is expected to attract around 16,000 sailors and more than 1,700 vessels. Whether they are watching in person or via the live commentary on the website, spectators will have the opportunity to watch world-class racers in action.
Most craft will take several hours to complete the course. The current record for a multihull boat is held by Sir Ben Ainslie on JP Morgan BAR in 2013 and stands at 2 hours, 52 minutes and 15 seconds. For a monohull craft, the current record is three hours, 43 minutes and 50 seconds, set by Mike Slade on ICAP Leonard, also in 2013.
The first race took place in 1931 with 25 entries. It was run at the suggestion of Island Sailing Club Member, Major Cyril Windeler, who proposed an event suitable for craft in the 5 to 25-ton category. The Gold Roman Bow, as the trophy is known, was lifted by Peter Brett, who competed in a 22-foot Cornish fishing boat he purchased for £45.
Two years later, the 1933 race was punctuated by drama when the Rosemary IV, leading the race under Isaac Bell, lost her mainsail right before the finish line. The crew frantically raised a trysail and finished 46 seconds ahead of the Felise. Not far away, the Enid, a 32-year-old cutter captained by Dr RT Cooke, sprang a leak and ultimately sank off Alum Bay, near the southwest corner of the IOW near the delicate rock formation known as the Needles.
The race provides an opportunity for spectators to donate to the official race charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Supporters may also sponsor their favourite crew via the JustGiving website.