Wednesday March 24 2010 Author: PRPETA Location: United Kingdom

Peta Stuart-Hunt reports


The Race organisers, Title Sponsor and Race Partners are always delighted to watch the Round the Island racing exploits of such high profile sailors as Dame Ellen MacArthur, Mike Golding, Alex Thomson, Dee Caffari and an array of superbly talented Olympic medallists such as Triple Olympic Gold medal winner Ben Ainslie and Double Olympic Gold medallist Shirley Robertson. This year is no exception and we will announce details of their race plans in due course.

Who’s Who?

Over the years there have been many famous faces and ‘names’ racing in this one-day annual yacht racing extravaganza. Some you would expect to see competing in ‘Britain’s Favourite Yacht Race’. However, occasionally the Race plays host to some of the international greats, such as America’s Cup skipper Russell Coutts and we also welcome sportsmen and women from other sports such as Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton who sailed on board Hugo Boss in 2008.

There is usually a sprinkling of actors and TV personalities, High Court judges, the great and the good from British industry and a politician or two spread throughout the fleet of 1700+ boats competing.  If you enjoy your sailing combined with a healthy dose of competition and you want to be a part of a unique event, then this is the sporting occasion for you, whoever you are!

The more famous faces usually prefer to protect their anonimity and simply enjoy a fabulous day’s racing with friends and family followed by some entertainment at the Island Sailing Club who first introduced, organise and have managed the Race with great discretion every year since 1931.

So, taking a closer look at entries that I am at liberty to flag up:

TV Chef cooks up a challenge for teenage adventurer

A South Devon seafood TV chef, Mitch Tonks voted Tatler's restaurateur of the year, and labeled by The Independent as "a fishmonger for the 21st Century", is sponsoring a teenage sailor, Henry Bomby, 19, in his quest to sail single-handed around Britain this summer aboard his 1969-built Contessa 26 The Seahorse.

Henry, who has only this month gained his Yachtmaster, is making his challenge tougher by climbing the three peaks of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, taking in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and competing in the J/80 European Championships in the Solent during his voyage.

He sets off from Dartmouth on June 12th.  His boat was purchased with his life savings of £2,000 and a £7,000 loan secured from a local boatyard, Baltic Wharf, without whom the project could not have begun. Mitch, who runs The Seahorse Restaurant in Dartmouth, is staging a series of fundraising dinners for Henry and is also planning to compete against Henry in this year’s Race, sailing in his new Contessa 26 Nellie. He said: “Henry is an incredible guy, young, ambitious and with a lot of potential ahead to do great things.

Today’s Specials

At the time of writing, the only David Thomas-designed Hunter Sonata entered is Pintsize being raced by the Moore family, Alan, Maggie & their twins Sam and Zoe from Cherhill in Wiltshire. Alan has been offshore racing for 35 years and achieved his best result around the Island in 1989 when he came 2nd overall.

The only registered Viper 640 in the UK (pictured) hasn’t had to travel far as she’s based on the Isle of Wight and owned by Glyn Locke who founded Artigiano, the UK's leading Italian fashion brand. The main fleet is in the USA and there are a few boats in Switzerland and Australia. The sea and figurative painter Myles Mence helms Fer de Lance and Glyn's younger son Alex will do the bow for the Round the Island Race.

Christopher Barker has raced Belle Serene, his Beneteau Cyclades 39.3, in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race since 2007, when he entered her in support of a breast cancer charity while his wife Zoe was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Happily this year Christopher and Zoe are both racing her along with family members.

Michael Struebel has recently trailered his Waarschip 600 Passaat over from Andijk in the Netherlands to Cambridge (UK), to practice sailing her at Grafham Water Sailing Club before competing in this year’s the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

Having sailed around the Island as crew last year now Michael will be competing in the Traditional Gaffer class as Passaat’s skipper with crew Tom, a keen 15 year-old sailor, and Chris, an experienced sailor on this boat loaned to him by his American sister-in-law and her Dutch husband, who recently had a stroke and is therefore unable to race her this year. Passaat has been in the family for the last 12 years in the Netherlands and is believed to be number 8 out of the Dutch boat yard in 1962 in Holland. They are raising funds for Stroke, Cancer and Arthritis Research and we wish them well.

Jump 2 is a J/29 that was decaying in a Welsh Yacht Club yard and was thankfully rescued from destruction by the present owner. She is now a family crewed boat that is being sailed from Rhyl in North Wales to Cowes and back for the race. Skipper Brian Dixon is a converted dinghy sailor and has been sailing for 40 years. The mainly family crew comprises mum and dad, youngest son aged 13, daughter aged 15 and a niece aged 14. They are joined by friends Colin, a triathlete who navigates, Jonathan, a fell runner who does mainsheet, Rex a rugby and water ski coach who makes everyone laugh and looks after the Genoa, and two other guests to be decided. Sounds like a fun boat!

Spitfire (GBR912) is a J/80, recently purchased and skippered by Wing Cdr Simon Ling RAF and crewed entirely by RAF servicemen (3 serving and 1 reserve). In a year that represents the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain they have formed Team RAFBF Spitfire and have commenced a three-year campaign towards participation in the 2012 J/80 World Championships in Dartmouth, Devon. In this year’s Round the Island Race they will be flying the distinctive heart roundel of the RAFs principal charity, The RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF).

Tom Brown, the skipper of the fiberglass Nordic Folkboat, Hannah, is an RYA Yachtmaster who divides his time between northern summers in Yarmouth when he races his Folkboat in and around the Solent and southern summers in Cape Town, South Africa when he races his 9m cruiser/racer. One of his crew, Tony Hall, also gets about a bit, having spent this past winter in Antarctica and South Georgia as a member of a UK research team.

The last wooden classic yacht built by Moody of Swanwick in 1970, is racing. Swan Dancer was built for the then finance director of the company. Designed by Fred Parker, Swan Dancer has in recent years crossed the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Antigua, competed in two Antigua Classic Regattas and sailed the East Coast of the USA. During the last two years she has sailed in the Canaries and the Med returning to the UK last summer.

This year Swan Dancer is being crewed by the somewhat romantically named Frere de la Cote, an International sailing organisation of people who love the sea. Members are judged by just two criteria, namely that of their qualities as a person and their experiences as a sailor, coupled with a respect and love of the sea. Their organisation is based (for fun) on the ancient Buccaneers!

Limbo Up is one of five Limbo 6.6’s entered this year. This one has a skipper and a crew competing in their first ever Round the Island Race. The Limbo 6.6 was designed in 1975 by Andrew Stewart as a small, fast coastal cruiser with potential for competitive racing as a one design 'mini-tonner'. A Limbo 6.6 was raced transatlantic in 1979, and completed the course. Let’s hope Limbo Up makes it round and provides an everlasting happy memory for the skipper and crew.

It’s all about the numbers

Ninette, a Moody S31, boasts a combined crew age of 227 years from Rod at 73, down to Peter, the skipper’s son at 31 years old. The Skipper (who doesn’t actually mention his own age!) is Martin Ralph Halversen, a retired Air Traffic Controller who has sailed for over 40 years.

Then there’s 4 PLAY, an Etap 20, whose skipper David Annakin has been set a 50th birthday challenge to skipper his first ever race. He hasn’t named his crew yet which makes me wonder whether any of his friends has dared to put their hand up!

Entry number 500, Juno 2, a Jupiter 30 boasts a skipper from Cheam in Surrey and crew whose combined ages total 210 years. The skipper Ian Wilson has completed a transat crossing and is aged 79. His crew is made up of friends Don, aged 68 and Geoff, aged 63.

Anyone still wishing to enter this year’s Race has until midnight on Saturday 29th May to do so at the standard rate of £72 (£106 with advertising). After that deadline there is a two-week period of late entry that expires by noon Sat 12 June. Late fees apply thereafter at £205 (£302 with advertising).


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