Stars line up for Round the Island
Ellen MacArthur will be competing on board her trimaran B&Q Castorama, this time racing with a full crew, in the Grand Prix Multihull class. The race record has stood since 2001 at 3 hours 8 minutes and 29 seconds, held by French skipper Francis Joyon, whose round the world, solo record Ellen broke earlier this year. The start time is planned for 7am. The course for the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race starts on the Royal Yacht Squadron line but finishes a few hundred yards east of Cowes harbour entrance. If conditions look suitable, B&Q/Castorama could continue west to recross the line for a complete circumnavigation (of the island). The Island Sailing Club has an official timer ready so that any record may be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Records Council.
New this year is a separate class for the Open 60s, taking the first race start at 6.40am. Entries come from many heroes of the recent Vendee Globe Race including Mike Golding on Ecover, Conrad Humphreys in Hellomoto and Nick Moloney sailing Skandia. The ISC is also delighted to welcome the French Open 60s Sill et Veolia (Roland Jourdain) and Virbac-Paprec (Jean-Pierre Dick).
Property developer Mike Slade has held the monohull race record since 1991, in three different boats. The record was established in 2001 by Skandia Life Leopard at 4 hours 5 minutes and 40 seconds. He will be defending his title again this year in Leopard of London, following completion of the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge. Giving Leopard a run for her money will be the Reichel Pugh maxi sled Nokia Enigma owned by Charles Dunstone, CEO of Carphone Warehouse. Further down the IRC ratings, Shirley Robertson skippers the Farr 45 Volvo for Life. Her crew includes Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers, whose uncle Jeremy has carried off the top trophy Gold Roman
Bowl on two occasions, sailing Rosina of Beaulieu, a Contessa 26.