Photo: Beken of Cowes

Impressive Round the Island 80th anniversary photo exhibition

Images for sale in aid of the Ellen MacArthur Trust

Wednesday March 2nd 2011, Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt, Location: United Kingdom

The 'Round the Island in 80 Years’ Exhibition was officially launched from J.P. Morgan’s Great Hall in London yesterday at a preview event co-hosted by the Race organisers the Island Sailing Club and title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Over 100 guests were treated to a feast of imagery, anecdotes and characters representing the last eight decades of the race.

Sailing photographers have been central in recording the spectacular history of the Round the Island. The finest examples are to be found within the Exhibition starting with Frank and Keith Beken, Alistair Black and Eileen Ramsay who captured the Race from the 1930s through to the 1960s up to the more recent work of Ken Beken, Peter Mumford, Rick Tomlinson, Thierry Martinez, Hamo Thornycroft, Paul Wyeth, Patrick Eden, Mark Lloyd, Cristel Clear and onEdition.

Thierry Martinez brings a special perspective from the air, using a long lens to compact the fleet: “To see nearly 2,000 boats going round the Needles is always impressive from above. You never know what you are going to get, but it is always colourful,” he says.

In researching the Race history a long lost photo archive has also been unearthed. A photograph from the 1932 Race was found framed on the wall of another Cowes-based photographer leading to the re-discovery of the Kirk of Cowes archive and the unfolding of a fascinating story. William Umpleby Kirk lived in Cowes, Isle of Wight from 1870 – 1928. It was here that he captured the first perfect image of Queen Victoria’s yacht, earning him a Royal Patronage. After his death, his son Edgar carried on the family name and captured images of the race in the 1930’s. The Exhibition has brought their archive back to life.

As well as featuring the images and stories of sporting, political and sailing legends who have competed in the Race, the Exhibition maintains the Race ethos ‘A Race for all’, by showcasing the memories and pictures of the everyday sailors who make this Race so unique.

A number of former winners and Olympic yachtsmen attended the launch as did the top prize itself, the Gold Roman Bowl (GRB). The GRB is won by the crew with the best corrected time using a handicap system – this means however big or small, professional or amateur, every IRC entry has the opportunity to win the grand prize.

Notable attendees at the lunch included British Olympic sailing legend Rodney Pattison, the current multihull record holder as part of Francis Joyon’s winning crew aboard the ORMA 60 trimaran Eure et Loire in 2001, and triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie who has competed in the Race on numerous occasions. Both will be back on the start line on 25 June.

Guests were treated to a number of richly recalled Race anecdotes and generous words about the Race from speakers including Ian Lallow, winner in 1972, 1973 with Sir Edward Heath aboard Morning Cloud II & III. Lallow, who built the two yachts said: "It’s a great privilege to be invited to be part of this launch and all the Exhibition photos have brought back a lot of memories. It’s great that this Exhibition has been put together for both J.P Morgan Asset Management and the Island Sailing Club. It’s the Island Sailing Club’s Race and it takes a lot to organise every year. Ever since hanging up my oilskins I’ve tried to give to give something back by helping out on committee boats and my boat is used as one of the finish boats. Whatever they ask me to do I will always try to help because it is an event that has given me so much.”

Additional previous GRB winners in attendance included:
· Peter Nicholson, the famous boat builder and winner in 1964 on Rocquette
· Hamish Wilson 1965 on Firebrand
· Peter Bruce author of ‘Solent Hazards’ and winner in 1978 on The Goodies
· Ernest Juer GBR winner in 1979 on Blizzard
· Julian Everitt who designed and built the yacht Green Onion for his late wife Julia Dane, the second female winner back in 1982
· Robin Aisher, Admiral of the Island Sailing Club and winner in 1985 on Yeoman XXV
· Peter Morton winner in 1984, 1986 and 2001
· John McIntosh 1998 on Dynamite
· The Rogers family, who have won three times in 2002, 2003 and 2006 with their previous family yacht Rosina of Beaulieu

To get a feel for the Race history and this remarkable Exhibition download the ‘Round the Island in 80 Years’ Exhibition booklet or preview 8 of the 30 Exhibition images here and listen to what some of the Race VIPs and media guests think via the Launch Podcast here, while a video depicting the history of the race can be viewed here.

The Exhibition will be shown on the Isle of Wight at the Quay Arts Gallery over 14-19 June and in the Race Village, Cowes Yacht Haven on 24-26 June over the Race weekend.

Exhibition images are available for purchase, with proceeds being donated to the Official Race Charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

A selection of the images can be viewed below - click on them to enlarge



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