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An update on progress with this year's JPMorgan Round the Island Race

Thursday April 14th 2005, Author: Flavia Bateson, Location: United Kingdom
At the end of the early entry rate, 260 skippers had already made Saturday 18 June a firm date on their racing calendar for the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

Both current record holders will be on the starting line. French sailor Francis Joyon, holder of the multihull record at 3 hours 8 minutes and 29 seconds since 2001, will compete on board his 90ft trimaran Idec. Joyon is currently standing by to atempt the New York to The Lizard record, narrowly missed by Ellen MacArthur last year.

London property developer Mike Slade will compete in his maxi Leopard of London following the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge in May. He has held the monohull record since 1991, breaking his own record twice in different boats.

Olympic medallists Nick Rogers and Shirley Robertson will team up with top Laser sailor Paul Goodison and the Volvo RYA Keelboat team to race on a Farr 45. Rogers has competed in the race before, joining his cousins aboard their Contessa 26 Rosina of Beaulieu, twice winner of the top trophy. Shirley last year swapped her Yngling for a Laser SB3 in the Sportsboat Rules class to compete against fellow Olympic medallists Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie.

While many spectators gather at vantage points round the Island and in the Solent, the Island Sailing Club, with assistance from BT, will be ensuring those unable to watch live can keep in touch. BT Rich Media will enable extended website coverage and there will also be regular relays of updates, news and action footage to selected sites in Lymington, Southampton, Hamble and Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth. Competitors will be interested to watch the live weather briefing by expert meteorologist Chris Tibbs, in conjunction with Raymarine, which takes place on Friday 17 June at 5pm.

Over 1,600 boats are expected to enter the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race - an early start for competitors and spectators alike. With this in mind, Red Funnel will be running an extra early Hi-Speed ferry service leaving Southampton at 5.20am for West Cowes.

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