Round the Island Race

The Round the Island Race is an annual yacht race around the Isle of Wight. It starts and finishes in Cowes, and is organised by the Island Sailing Club.[1] The course is about 50 nautical miles (93 km) long.[2] It was first held in 1931[3][4] and since 2005 has been sponsored by JP Morgan Asset Management. The race is generally chosen to be the Saturday in June with the most favourable tides; a date in late May or early July may be chosen if there is no suitable date in June.

Round the Island Race 2008 from Blackgang viewpoint
The Round the Island Race 2008, seen from the viewpoint at Blackgang, viewed north-west towards the Needles.
Yachts racing during Round the Island Race 2010 5
Yachts participating in the 2010 event


The race was the idea of Major Cyril Windeler, who commissioned a gold Roman-style bowl as prize for the winner.[3] The first race, in 1931, had 25 entries.[4] The silver bowl second prize was introduced a few years later when Chris Ratsey impressed Windeler with his good sportsmanship.[3] The last race before World War II, in 1939, attracted 80 entries.[3]

In 2005 JP Morgan Asset Management began sponsorship of the event in a deal lasting until 2010. This sponsorship was later extended to 2014.[5]

In 2008 a total of 1750 boats took part.[6]


The course runs all the way round the Isle of Wight.

The course runs all the way around the Isle of Wight, with a total distance of 50.1 nmi (92.8 km).[7]

The course has varied slightly with buoys tried at the Needles and a requirement to leave No Man's Land Fort to port.

Race record

Multihull/outright race record

It was in 1961 that multihulls first entered the round the island race and the record has since fallen considerably.

Year Time Boat type Boat name Crew Ref
2016 2 h 23 m 23 s MOD 70 Phaedo^3 Lloyd Thornburg
2013 2 h 52 m 15 s AC45 catamaran J.P.Morgan BAR Ben Ainslie, helm/skipper [8]
2001 3 h 08 m 60 ft trimaran Dexia Eure et Loire Francis Joyon, skipper
Rodney Pattison, navigator
1986 3 h 05 m 60 ft trimaran Paragon Mike Whipp
Rodney Pattison
1985 4 h 04 m Nigel Irens 60 ft trimaran Apricot Tony Bullimore
1963 5 h 50 m Catamaran Snowgoose of Wight Don Robertson
1961 6 h 00 m Catamaran Snowgoose of Wight Don Robertson
1932–1960 Various Monohulls
1931 9 h 51 m Monohull Thomas White Ratsey

Monohull race record

Year Time Boat type Boat name Crew Ref
2006 3 h 20 m 9 s 98 ft Super Maxi ICAP Maximus Bill Buckley, Charles, St Clair Brown, Harold Cudmore [10]
2013 3 h 43 m 50 s 100 ft Farr design canting keel ICAP Leopard Mike Slade [11]
2008 3 h 53 m 100 ft Farr design canting keel ICAP Leopard Mike Slade [11]
2001 4 h 5 m 40 s Reichel Pugh 92 ft maxi Skandia Life Leopard Mike Slade [12]
1931 9 h 51 m Thomas White Ratsey

Outright record

The outright record as recognised by the World Speed Sailing Record Council on behalf of International Sailing Federation has in the past also been the race record.

Year Time Boat type Boat tame Crew Notes and ref
June 2017 1 h 17 m 17 s Catamaran Red Jet 6 Howard Ray

Casey Sheargold Ben Candy

August 2012 2 h 21 m 25 s MOD 70 Foncia Michel Desjoyeaux Set during Cowes Week[13]
November 2001 2 h 33 m 55 s Catamaran PlayStation Steve Fossett, skipper

Stan Honey, navigator

Standalone record attempt[14]
June 2001 3 h 08 m 60 ft trimaran Dexia Eure et Loire Francis Joyon, skipper
Rodney Pattison, navigator
Set during round the island race[9]
1994 3 h 35 m Trimaran Lakota Steve Fossett, skipper Set during round the island race[9]



Some of the 1700 boats in the 2010 Round the Island Race.

Yachts racing during Round the Island Race 2010

Yachts flying spinnakers during the 2010 race

Round the Island Race 2009 off St Catherine's Lighthouse

The fleet rounding St. Catherine's Lighthouse in 2009

Round the Island Race 2009 off The Needles

The 2009 race, with yachts seen racing off The Needles

Round the Island Race 2009 off The Needles 5

The 2009 race, with yachts seen racing off The Needles

Round the Island Race 2009 off The Needles 4

The 2009 race, with yachts seen racing off The Needles


  1. ^ "Island Sailing Club". Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  2. ^ Fisher, Bob (20 June 2009). "Round The Island Race proves frustratingly slow going". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Neville, By Martin (20 May 2011). "Round the Island in 80 years". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b Ayles, James (26 June 2015). "Get set for popular Round the Island race". The News. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  5. ^ "J.P. Morgan Asset Management extends race title sponsorship to 2014". Cowes: Round the Island website. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Rotarians to rescue in race capsize". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Round the Island Race – The Course". Round the Island Race. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Race Record Broken". BAR Racing. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  9. ^ a b c
  10. ^ "ICAP Maximus sets new Round the Island race record". Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Race Record Broken". Round the Island Race Event Media. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Round the Island Race Results Book 2001" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Passage Records". World Speed Sailing Record Council. Archived from the original on 25 May 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Paralympic Sailing". Retrieved 7 January 2018.

External links

Bloodhound (yacht)

Bloodhound is a 19.2-metre (63 ft) ocean racing yacht. She was designed by Charles E. Nicholson and built by Camper and Nicholsons in 1936. From 1962 to 1969 she was owned by the British Royal Family and in January 2010 she was purchased by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust.

Egypt Point

Egypt Point is the northernmost point of the island county of the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, and was one of Queen Victoria's favourite places during her time on the island. According to the Post Office at the 2011 Census the point population was included in the civil parish of Northwood, Isle of Wight.

Egypt Point lies in between the town of Cowes and the village of Gurnard. Between 1897 and 1989 a lighthouse was maintained there by Trinity House. Initially lit by paraffin, in 1925 it was converted to run automatically on acetylene; then in 1969 it was converted to run on electricity. Though the light no longer functions, the structure remains a landmark for yachtsmen.

Egypt Point derives its name from a nearby gypsy encampment from the 16th century. It is now a popular vantage point for the annual Round the Island Race which starts and ends at Cowes.

ICAP Leopard 3 (yacht)

ICAP Leopard 3 is a 30-metre IRC maxi yacht owned and skippered by Helical Bar plc CEO Michael Slade, who has owned maxi yachts for over 22 years. She features a canting keel, water ballast and twin daggerboards amidships.

ICAP Leopard 3 holds several records for powered sailing monohulls (WSSRC rule 21c), including the transatlantic passage from Ambrose Light to Lizard Point in 2008 and Round the Island Race in 2013 (all surpassed by records for manual power monohulls set by other vessels in compliance with WSSRC rule 21b). She won line honours in the Middle Sea Race in 2009 and the Fastnet race in 2009 and 2011.

The yacht's homeport is Southampton and she is available for charter for races, cruises and corporate events, mainly in the English Channel.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.

J-class yacht

A J-Class yacht is a single-masted racing sailboat built to the specifications of Nathanael Herreshoff's Universal Rule. The J-Class are considered the peak racers of the era when the Universal Rule determined eligibility in the America's Cup.


Kebony is a Norwegian wood producer. The company has its roots in Wood Polymer Technologies (WPT), which was founded in 1996 and changed its name to Kebony in 2007. Kebony has a factory in Skien (Norway) and offices in Oslo (Norway).

Keith White (yachtsman)

Keith White was a British yachtsman. In October 2015 he set out on a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the world in his yacht, the Marathon, in part to raise funds for charity. White, who is disabled, lost the use of his left arm in 1991 due to a road traffic accident. A sailor since he was 16 years old, he has achieved some significant firsts with his circumnavigation of the UK and Ireland, and his circuit of the Atlantic.

London Corinthian Sailing Club

The London Corinthian Sailing Club is based on the river Thames at Hammersmith. Its activities include Dinghy sailing and racing on the river, and yachting in the Solent and further afield, as well as an active social side including 'Club Nights' every Tuesday evening.

An RYA-approved offshore training establishment with a full training programme is provided, including RYA theory and practical courses for Competent Crew, day skipper, coastal skipper and yachtmaster.

Dinghy racing takes place most weekends throughout the year and some evenings during the summer. Mostly dinghies raced are Enterprises and Lasers. In addition to sailing at Hammersmith, there are regular events against other dinghy clubs on the Thames and clubs further afield.

The yachting programme includes cruises (around the UK, cross-channel, in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean), training weekends, treasure hunts and races organised by the club. The club also participates in winter and spring series racing in the Solent, Cowes Week, Round the Island Race, Cork week, offshore JOG races, RORC races, the Fastnet race and some member-organised events.

The clubhouse is a Georgian building with river views and full facilities.

Mersea Island

Mersea Island is an island in Essex, England, in the Blackwater and Colne estuaries to the south-east of Colchester. Its name comes from the Old English word meresig, meaning "island of the pool" and thus is tautological. The island is split into two main areas, West Mersea and East Mersea, and connected to the mainland by the Strood, a causeway that can flood at high tide.

The island has been inhabited since pre-Roman times. It was used as a holiday destination in Roman Britain for occupants of Camulodunum (Colchester). Fishing has been a key industry on the island since then, particularly oysters, and along with tourism makes up a significant part of the island's economy. The Church of St Peter & St Paul in West Mersea is thought to have existed since the 7th century, while the Church of St Edmund in East Mersea dates from around the 12th or 13th centuries. The island became popular with smugglers from the 16th to the 19th century. It became a focal point for troops in both world wars, and a number of observation posts can still be found on the island. Tourism remains popular, and there are a number of beach huts and holiday parks on the island. A week-long festival of boat racing, Mersea Week, takes place every summer.

North 26

The North 26 is a boat designed by Julian D Everitt in 1982, Cowes UK, designer of the very successful E boat. Big brother to the E-boat, intended for Yacht racing Inshore and in Junior Offshore Group races to rate under Channel now IRC measurement rule. Examples race the English Channel and have a wide flat sole plate that enables them to sit the mud in English ports with the keel retracted. This feature also enables safe beach sitting whilst cruising and use as a Trailer yacht.

Quarter Ton class

Quarter Ton Class is an offshore sailing class of the International Offshore Rule racing the Quarter Ton Cup between 1967 and 1996 and from 2005 till now. The class is sailed by smaller keelboats of similar size and is likely the worlds most produced keelboat class.

Red Jet 4

MV Red Jet 4 is a passenger catamaran ferry operated by Red Funnel on their route from Southampton to Cowes on the Isle of Wight, along with sister ships Red Jet 6 and Red Jet 7.

She was built by North West Bay Ships in Hobart, Tasmania. After her launch on 20 February 2003 the catamaran was placed aboard a heavy lift ship to be transported to Southampton which arrived on 9 May 2003. She was officially named by Dame Ellen MacArthur on 18 June 2003 and entered service five days later. During those 5 days the ship was used for a number of excursions including following the Round the Island Race.On 11 November 2008 Red Jet 4 was used on a number of sightseeing trips to view Queen Elizabeth 2 before it left Southampton for the final time.Red Jet 4 is featured in the 2008 video game Ship Simulator 2008 with the MV Red Eagle as a sailable ship.

Robin Knox-Johnston

Sir William Robert Patrick Knox-Johnston * (born 17 March 1939) is a British sailor. In 1969, he became the first person to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. Along with Sir Peter Blake, he won the second Jules Verne Trophy, for which they were also named the ISAF Yachtsman of the Year award. In 2007, at the age of 67, he set a record as the oldest yachtsman to complete a round the world solo voyage in the Velux 5 Oceans Race.

Rosemary Bamforth

Rosemary Bamforth (19 October 1924 – 17 April 2018) was a Scottish pathologist who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. She was born to Isobel Ince and Douglas Ince, a director of a Glasgow firm. Working as a consultant at Southampton Hospital, she made an early link in her research between ship workers dying of mesothelioma and asbestos exposure on ships, before the cause of this illness had been fully determined. She took part in the Round-the-Island race at Hayling Island in her sixties.

Royal Yacht Squadron

The Royal Yacht Squadron is one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world. Its clubhouse is Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. Member yachts are given the Suffix RYS to their names, and permitted to fly the White Ensign of the Royal Navy rather than the merchant Red Ensign flown by the majority of other UK registered vessels. The club's patron is Queen Elizabeth II and the club's admiral is Prince Philip who is also a former club commodore.

SS Varvassi

SS Varvassi is a wrecked ship just off the Needles lighthouse, which is at the western end of the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight is off the South coast of England, near Southampton.

Varvassi was a 3,875-ton Greek merchant steamship that was wrecked on the Needles rocks in 1947. It was carrying a cargo of tangerines from Algiers to Southampton. The ship became wrecked after an engine failure in stormy weather, and drifted onto the rocks. When an attempt was made to haul the ship off the rocks, she flooded and sank. All 36 crew were rescued unharmed, as was approximately one third of the cargo of tangerines and wine.

There are still remains of the wreck lying just below the surface. Some parts of the wreck can be seen at very low tides. The wreck constitutes a hazard to small craft that attempt to sail too close to the lighthouse.

Tour de Belle-Île

The Tour de Belle-Ile is a nautical event created in 2008 by eol (French sports marketing company) and open to all sailing yachts measuring 6,50m or more.

The Tour de Belle-Ile measures around 41 nautical miles: starting from the middle of the bay of Quiberon (Brittany, France), rounding of Belle Île leaving the island to port and returning to the departure/finish line.

During the event, which takes place traditionally on the weekend of the 8th of May, the tent village of the race is put up on the harbour of La Trinité-sur-Mer.

The special feature of this event is to welcome professional skippers as well as amateur sailors who are not used to take part in sailing races.

The Tour de Belle-Ile brought together 115 sailing yachts in 2008, 281 in 2009, 329 in 2010 and 486 in 2011, becoming the first sailing race in France (in terms of number of boats participating) ahead of the Spi Ouest France and Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.

In 2011, the round of the race is modified and the yachts have to sail via the channel of La Teignouse on the way out and on the way back, due to environmental obligation.

In 2011, the organisation rewarded the 1st monohull of the scratch ranking with a special prize, the trophy Michel Malinovsky. This trophy pays tribute to Michel Malinovsky, who was famous for his 2nd position in the Route du Rhum 1978 on his monohull Kriter V, 98 seconds behind Mike Birch on a small multihull, and died in August, 2010.

The Tour de Belle-Ile has a reputation to be the French equivalent of Round the Island Race.


Ullswater is the second largest lake in the English Lake District, being approximately nine miles (14.5 kilometres) long and 0.75 miles (1,200 m) wide with a maximum depth of slightly more than 60 metres (197 ft). Many regard Ullswater as the most beautiful of the English lakes; it has been compared to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland and it is a popular tourist destination. It is a typical Lake District narrow "ribbon lake" formed after the last ice age when a glacier scooped out the valley floor and when the glacier retreated, the deepened section filled with meltwater which became a lake. A total of three separate glaciers formed the lake. The surrounding mountains give Ullswater the shape of a stretched 'Z' with three distinct segments (or 'reaches') that wind their way through the surrounding hills.

For much of its length Ullswater forms the border between the historic counties of Cumberland and Westmorland.


The J-class yacht Velsheda was designed by Charles Ernest Nicholson and built in 1933 by Camper and Nicholsons at Gosport, Hampshire. She was built for businessman William Lawrence Stephenson and between 1933 and 1936, she won many races and competed with other great yachts such as Britannia, Endeavour and Shamrock V.

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