Round the Island Race: Now open for 2021 entries

Sailors are desperate to get back out on their boats and the Round the Island Race is being tipped as one of the biggest events to be staged since the UK’s first lockdown a year ago

Round the island Race from the air by the Needles - lots of boats in the water

Entries for the world-famous Round the Island Race opened at 00.01 this morning, Friday 19th March.

Organised by the much-respected Island Sailing Club, 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.

One of the biggest events
This year the race will be held on 3rd July and celebrates its 90th anniversary, and with so many high-profile events being cancelled, the Round the Island 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.

Record breaking
Whilst the majority of the boats will simply enjoy the challenge of getting all the way round, there will be many teams aiming to beat the existing course records.

The current monohull record continues to be held by Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard, who in the near-perfect conditions of 2013 posted an elapsed time of three hours 43 minutes and 50 seconds. The multihull class, introduced in 1961, generally achieves even faster times, as shown in 2017 when Ned Collier Wakefield’s Concise10 flew round in just two hours 22 minutes and 23 seconds.

Peace: Sailors desperate to get back out on boats
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!”

Uncertainty about onshore activities
David Atkinson, Race Director said,

“The focus for 2021 is on organising a great race on the water. While the UK 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. Naturally, we expect those taking part to follow all of the current guidelines in place for the race, and we will be providing a summary of guidance from relevant authorities through a dedicated page on the event website.

“We will be asking everyone to check this regularly, familiarise themselves with the information and help make the event safe for us all.”

A ‘Race for All’
The ethos of a ‘Race for All’ continues at pace this year with the first Windeler Cup competition to set sail after the main fleet departs from Cowes, allowing small keelboat racers from the Daring, Dragon, Etchells, Flying Fifteen, Mermaid, Redwing, Sunbeam, Swallow, Sonar, Squib, RS Elite, Victory and XOD classes to join in the fun with an exciting Solent Race.

Also, the race weekend is extended to welcome competitors from the rowing and kitesurfing worlds, who will enjoy their own Round the Island on the Thursday and Friday before the main sailing race on Saturday 3rd July.

Best ‘fresh air’ viewing spots
Spectators can enjoy a fantastic view of all the action from many points on the Island’s breath-taking 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 continues to be supported by official partners Chelsea Magazines, Helly Hansen, Haven Knox-Johnston (previously MS Amlin Insurance) and Raymarine. Helly Hansen, the Official Clothing Partner, are launching a capsule collection in partnership with the Island Sailing Club.

There are openings for new partners in this year’s race and beyond; email [email protected] to start the conversation.

Fundraising
Meanwhile, the Round the Island Race continues to support and fundraise for its official charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. The Trust’s amazing work is focused on rebuilding confidence of young people after cancer, through sailing and adventure.

Enter the race
To enter Britain’s favourite race, go to the event Website. For all the latest news follow on social media and please use hashtags #RIR21, #90years and #RaceForAll.

Image: © Paul Wyeth

Friday, 19th March, 2021 12:26pm

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