More on Saturday's bonanza
Top of the ratings
IRC0 is headed by current race record holder Mike Slade’s 30m super maxi ICAP Leopard. The crew comprises Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup and Admiral’s Cup sailors headed by Mike Slade’s professional boat captain of 18 years, Chris Sherlock. The 24-strong crew includes Jason Carrington, Matthew Richardson, Jeremy Robinson and Paul Stanbridge. Mike will be helming and sharing tactics. He is the previous owner of Ocean Leopard, Longobarda and Leopard of London all of which have held the Round the Island Race record since 1991.
Tony Todd’s Performance Yachts 100 Liara is a very new kid on the block. Built by Southern Ocean Marine to a Dixon Yacht Design concept, she was launched in New Zealand in February this year. Skipper Ross Appleby, a graduate from Southampton University, has taken Tony Todd’s previous yachts to success in the ARC, Guadeloupe to Antigua Race and Nelson’s Pursuit Race. In the Round the Island Race his amateur crew are local, with approximately 190 total Round the Islands under their belts. For Jeff Dakin, tactician, this will be his 26th race. Given Liara’s 5m draft, he will be denied some traditional tide cheating manoeuvres, presenting an interesting challenge. On handicap, ICAP Leopard is rated 25% higher than Liara so if Leopard finishes the race in four hours Liara can finish in five and still beat her.
Top of the Island Sailing Club Rating System is Alex and Alison Fortescue’s Discovery 67 Tilly Mint. The couple have sailed out of Lymington with their three children for several years. Hull No 1 and launched earlier in June, this is virtually a maiden voyage before making passage for the Canaries to participate in this year’s ARC. Tilly Mint is a Ron Holland design built in Southampton, taking into account the requirements for short-handed sailing. The Fortescues have a long term plan for a complete circumnavigation. Next in the class is Meteorite, a Beneteau 523 owned and skippered by Hugh Bishop CEO of a marketing agency.
First out of the blocks
At 0730 the boats in IRC0 are joined by the Open 60s and Clipper 68s. Sailing hero Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has raced in the event many times including recently on Suhaili, the yacht he built himself and went on to be the first to sail solo, non-stop round the world in 1969. This year he rejoins Grey Power, the Open 60 in which he completed his second solo circumnavigation in the Velux 5 Oceans. He and Admiral of the Island Sailing Club Robin Aisher are old friends and will be enjoying each other’s company once again. BT comes from the Offshore Challenges team. Skipper Sebastien Josse is a former Figaro sailor who went on to the Vendee Globe in 2004. Sadly, hitting a growler in the Southern Ocean compromised his chances of reaching a podium place. Fellow OC team member Dame Ellen MacArthur will be joining Josse. Artemis was built in New Zealand and was used in the 2002/3 Around Alone Race. She won her class in the Round the Island Race in 2007, a result skipper Simon Clay will be glad to repeat. Steve White completed the most recent Vendee Globe on a shoestring budget, finishing eighth when so many had retired. Steve once again supports the services charity aboard Toe in the Water.
Ten Clipper 68s will be on the start line. This fleet is preparing for a round the world race later this year. Blue Peter presenters Helen Skelton, Joel Defries and Andy Akinwolere will be joining three of the Clippers.
Ten minutes later, at 0740 it’s the turn of the multihulls. French skipper Francis Joyon has held the race multihull record since 2001. This year he returns in the giant trimaran IDEC. This start is shared with the Extreme 40s. Ben Ainslie heads an all-star cast on JPMorgan Asset Management/TEAMORIGIN with Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper Mike Sanderson calling the tactics. Russell Coutts has his first taste of this race on Team Aqua whilst three more highly respected X40s complete an ultra-competitive class.
Solent racing favourites
The J/80 one-design class has extracted results for the first time in the race. The 20-strong fleet includes teams from UKSA. On Sail Number 1054, one crew member will be taking particular note. Richard Beardsall is hoping to be the first Isle of Wight resident to swim around the island two months later, raising funds for children to attend sailing courses.
One designs are well represented including 26 Sigma 33s, 11 Contessa 26s, 28 Laser SB3s and 22 Folkboats. Triple Gold Roman Bowl winner Jeremy Rogers joins the Contessa 32 class with Gigi while the SCODs include runner up in the entire ISCRS fleet last year Marbella. The Nicholson 32s will once again be vying for the Halmatic Trophy.
GBR Olympians and Paralympians
Double Olympic 470 silver medallist Nick Rogers swaps a dinghy for a keel boat and will skipper the TP52 Volvo for life 1. Nick has teamed up with his childhood crew Pom Green to campaign the 470 during 2009. The pair go back a long way, having won the Volvo ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in 1995. Sailing runs in the Rogers family blood. Nick’s uncle Jeremy and cousins will be racing on their Contessa 32 Gigi. Nick became a father for the first time in May this year. Perhaps young Dirk Rogers will be the next generation of Olympic sailors. Volvo for life 2 is a Farr 52 with fellow 470 silver medallist Joe Glanfield helming. Joe’s crew includes Paralympic sailor Helena Lucas. Triple gold medallist Ben Ainslie does a different kind of swap – one hull for two. He competes in the Extreme 40 catamaran class on JPMorgan Asset Management/TEAMORIGIN. 49er medallist Chris Draper crews on the X40 Oman Sail Masirah.
Gaffers and classic racing yachts
Ocean Pearl was built in Scotland in 1933 and fished out of Peterhead until the 1960s. She was then taken south and found by her current owner, Nick Gates from Emsworth, in a disused tarmac works in Staines in 1998. She is one of several yachts in the race that have been found in a derelict state and brought back to life. The 1958 classic racing yacht Cherete was about to be burned as a wreck when shipwright Brian Haugh decided to restore her. So far the project has taken 18 months.
The oldest boat in the race is Rosenn owned by yachting journalist Bob Fisher and Barry Dunning. She was built in 1896 and is the last remaining Solent one-design of the 22 built. The gaff-rigged classic was built locally on the Medina and has been fully restored. Barry has assembled an awesome crew including one of the world’s leading sailing coaches, Jim Saltonstall and RORC CEO Eddie Warden-Owen. Rosenn is a regular racer at Lymington.
Charities enjoy a challenge
Sponsors JPMorgan Asset Management and Beneteau are offering four charities the opportunity to raise awareness and funds whilst racing. Macmillan, Prostate UK, Breast Cancer Care and The Ellen MacArthur Trust will compete in identical new Oceanis 37s. The yachts are crewed by those helping to support the fight against cancer, including many who have undergone or are undergoing treatment. Ambassadors for the charities will also be afloat including comedian Dave Spikey and singer Jonathan Ansell. Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson is the skipper aboard the Ellen MacArthur Trust entry.
In 2008, a total £100,000 was raised for charity through the race. Edward Donald on the Folkboat Madelaine supported Leukaemia Research and topped the donations table. He combines fundraising with an outstanding record in the race – two Gold Roman Bowl wins, four second places and two thirds.
This year’s Round the Island Race sees the Sigma 38 Offshore One Design Class Association coming of age. There will be 31 out racing, demonstrating the continued popularity of this highly competitive design. After finishing, the 21st birthday celebrations continue at the Max Aitken Museum in Cowes where designer David Thomas will be a guest of honour.
The RAF Benevolent Society is celebrating its 90th anniversary and to mark the occasion the RAF Sailing Association’s J/109 Red Arrow will fly a new spinnaker. The crew represents a cross section of today’s RAF from pilots in training to decorated officers recently seeing action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lady Belle’s sail number might give a clue as to her age. It’s 1909. The Falmouth Quay Punt is 100 years old and returning to racing after a 15 year gap.
The classic racing sloop Danegeld celebrates 50 years since last winning the Round the Island Race. She has been renovated over the last four years, converting from cruising mode back to racing trim.