WHAT’S IN A NAME? J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race

WHAT’S IN A NAME? J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race

Friday May 14 2010 Author: PRPETA Location: United Kingdom

Peta Stuart-Hunt reports as, with 36 days to go and entries numbering 1,071 and climbing, Britain’s favourite yacht race looks set to be another cracking event this year Boat names, not unlike people, can be packed full of character - charming, mysterious, personal, weird and just plain perplexing! Britain’s favourite yacht race certainly plays host to an extraordinarily eclectic mix of boat designs, boat names, and characters.

Take for example Rapscallion of Suburbia, a Sigma 33 racing in IRC. What does the name say about its owner Les Stagpool racing in his 4th J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race? Then there’s Woozle Hunter Too and skipper Andy Mead who will be pitting his racing wits again Les, amongst the hundreds of others racing in IRC.

Another sweetly named IRC entry is Bumblebee, a Mini 6.50 Prototype (21.5ft). These smallest offshore racing boats were introduced in 1977 together with their favourite race, the Mini Transat, created by an Englishman, Bob Salmon. Every odd year, the Minis race on their favourite playground, the Atlantic. It is a growing class still dominated by the French although there have always been a number of British sailors making their names in the class and continuing to do so.

There are two ISC rated Splinter 21s racing this year, named Dragonfly and Whisper, who have more of a connection than their designer.

A carpenter and father of two, Sean Fallon, has owned Dragonfly for 10 years. He is suffering from early onset Parkinsons disease and is raising funds for Parkinsons UK. He finished 4th in ISC in 2009. Whisper first entered the ‘Ratsey & Lapthorn Round the Island Race’ in 1969 and came 1st in Div B. She was then owned by a certain Tony Fallon of Poole Yacht Club. It is Tony’s son Sean who is entered this year in Dragonfly.

Whisper is skippered by Steve Curtler from Christchurch in Dorset who has owned the boat for three years. Look out for some friendly rivalry between these two!

The fabulously named Gollywobbler II, a Rustler 36 owned by Mrs Ann Fraser from Richmond in Surrey, is competing with the Commodore of the London Corinthian YC on the helm, Martin Richmond-Coggan. Her co-skipper Ann Fraser ‘is of advanced years’ and still an active sailor. She has sailed extensively in both this boat and her previous boat a Contessa 32 across the Atlantic and in West Africa, the Caribbean and on the East and West Coast of the USA, Canada and Alaska. Most of the crew are members of London Corinthian Sailing Club. Ann Fraser has been a member of this club for over 50 years and was formerly an International 14 sailor on the River Thames.

Crew jibes!

Jeronimo is a J/133, a 43ft cruiser/racer with attitude and a crew of up to 14 on board. Her owner/driver has plenty of attitude too according to her entry. Jackie Dobson who owns the boat with husband Robert, says she’s ‘a blonde woman driver, so be afraid!’ She also says she loves seeing all the men running round on deck in front of her and describes her crew as a very brave bunch of mainly middle aged girls and boys who like to sail hard and party hard.

Skippers frequently enjoy making amusing comments about their crew members when it comes to filling out the Race entry forms.

Westerly Nocturne is a Westerly Fulmar built in 1986. Skipper Phil Stone has been sailing for over 20 years but this is his first Round the Island Race. He says he is looking forward to it with ‘fear and anticipation’ His crew, Paul and Kevin, are described as ‘two grumpy 50 somethings’! I respectfully suggest that Phil would be well advised to do some major buttering up of his crew before the big day!

Martin Hawkes from Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire is racing his Grand Soleil 343 Breakthrough and he’s clearly a bit of a joker as well. Under information about the skipper we read that he is ‘very good looking’ and under information about the crew? Well, sorry to say… ‘not so good looking’.

Keith Lovett and his crew who sail out of Parkstone Yacht Club, are racing Haven Knox-Johnston Firestarter in this year’s Race. She’s a production Bavaria Match 35, optimized for IRC. The skipper and crew all have a long association with one of our Race Partners, Haven Knox-Johnston, part of the Amlin Group. Keith is himself a director of an insurance brokers and hence he supports Amlin on a daily basis. The boat has proved herself consistently as the first Bavaria Match 35 in IRC in the past three Round the Island Races.

A reunion between a skipper, Phil Lightbody, and this Race will unfold as Phil returns to Cowes to take on this most famous of Island circumnavigations again after a 20-year gap! The former Lymington Sea Scout is returning to race Reunion, a Bavaria 46 and she’s never been raced before so it will be interesting to watch their progress.

It’s got to be magic

Merlin is an Oyster SJ27, a Quarter Tonner designed by Stephen Jones in 1982, and built by Oyster in 1982. She is skippered by London solicitor James Watthey. Also on board is her co-owner Richard Bundy, writer and publisher of Cowes Yachting magazine, so we will be expecting a fabulous write-up thanks Richard. The guys are fundraising for Help for Heroes.

A mere seven entries later comes a rare and magical yacht indeed, named Excalibur. She is apparently one of only three Tamara 30s ever built. She actually competed in the Race several years ago with a different owner and performed well although her present owner and skipper Jeremy Moore from Exmouth, Devon, says this will be her first chance to prove to him whether she’s still got what it takes! He runs his own business as a boatbuilder and repairer, so the right man is at the helm.

The Ker 39 Antix is skippered by Antony O’Leary from Co. Cork who has been an Irish Commodores’ Cup participant in 2006, 2008 and hopes to be back in Cowes (with a sprinkling of Irish magic) for the Commodores’ Cup in August 2010!

To keep abreast of all the latest Race news you can now follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RoundtheIsland and keep checking the website for new postings at http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk 

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