JPMorgan Round the Island Race update
Australian teenage sailing supremo Jessica Watson, who celebrates her 18th birthday in May, will be crewing alongside Britain’s Michael Perham, 19, on a Bavaria 37 called Cold Play, skippered by Phil Baughen in this year’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Saturday 25th June.
Watson has recently announced that she is to skipper a boat with the youngest ever crew to enter the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on Boxing Day, and reciprocally her crew in that race will include Mike Perham. The Race organisers at the Island Sailing Club are looking forward to welcoming them to Cowes and to watching their progress on Race day.
School’s out & we welcome the Freshers
Tonbridge School is entering the Race with a trio of Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 43s crewed by Old Tonbridgians on Tonbridge Forrader, current students on Tonbridge Sparkling Spirit and parents who are racing Tonbridge Vantage.
Xepha is an MG 34 RS built in 1984 and owned and driven by Simon O’Loughlin from Weybridge, Surrey. Simon is relatively new to racing and comments, “Hopefully this year will see us improving after entering for the first time last year. We’re looking forward to the challenge of the race, the companionship and ethos of this event.” The crew complement is also fairly new to the boat and brings a variety of skills and experience. They’re fundraising for the RNLI.
“Small boat, novice crew and hopefully not disgracing ourselves by coming last!” pipes up first timer Jamie Clark who owns Artisan, a 1970-built Jaguar 22. Jamie is a farmer from Oxfordshire and he’s sailing with his son Sam and his best friend and sailing buddy Jonathan Nash.
Entered as a Classic Racing Yacht racing under ISCRS is Camellia of Rhu, also competing in her first Round the Island Race. She’s an 8 metre McGruers International cruiser racer, owned and skippered by Bryan Robinson from Rye in East Sussex. She was built in 1959.
Popping across the county to West Sussex we welcome another first timer, Peter Evans entering Muritai, a Vancouver V27.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust (EMCT) is the official Race charity in 2011 and 2012 and it’s good to see some entries coming in who support the work of the Trust. John Donaldson and his crew on the aptly named Ghost, a Mirage 28 Mk II, are raising money for the EMCT in this, their first time out in the Round the Island Race.
The exquisitely named Thomas Thistlethwayte has chartered a Laser SB3 named KingsofEngland and is entering his first Round the Island Race with his son and some of his son's friends who are all new to yacht racing. Thomas has raced dinghies for a couple of years and has recently sailed a Laser around the Isle of Wight to get in some practice.
Another SB3 is Heart of Gold driven by Natalie Jobling who is a Trustee and Director of the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy and 2012 sailing venue. She is a former national champion crew in the Firefly class and her crew is husband Tom Hayhoe who also races National 12 and offshore with Natalie. Tom is a former RORC vice-commodore.
It’s fantastic that so many converts to sailing result from having taken part in this event – the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK. There are plenty of first timers with little or no experience, or practiced skippers pulling together a crew of novices to give them a taste of the Race. Many of the entries are from individuals who have previously crewed for others and now own their own boat.
There are also the sail training boats e.g. Beyond Reality, a Baltic 37 that is owned and skippered by Les Rant from Great Staughton in Cambridgeshire. He will use her voyage from the East Coast down to Cowes to train an inexperienced crew who will then crew for the Race.
John Howieson is skippering the Montague Whaler Westerman, built in 1965. She’s owned by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT) and was built by dockyard apprentices at Devonport. Ex-Royal Navy John is a volunteer with the Historic Boat Section of the PNBPT. All the crew are also volunteers with the Trust.
Racing demons & winning ways
French skipper Marc Lepesqueux has entered Les Conquerants de Normandie, a Class 40 Jumbo 40 Evolution that finished 12th out of 45 in the last solo transatlantic Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale 2010. He has a lot of racing experience under his belt having raced in the La Solitaire du Figaro seven times and finished second in the Mini Transat.
I'm sure Marc will be as delighted as we are to welcome Lionel Lemonchois, a former winner of the Route du Rhum in 2006 and 2010, to the start line. He is racing in this year's J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on the Multi50 trimaran Prince de Bretagne. Lemonchois was part of Franck Cammas' Jules Verne Trophy winning team on Groupama 3.
The Firebird 8m multihull Orion capsized while in the lead during the 1996 Round the Island Race but made up for it by winning her class and taking line honours in 1997. She’s been a class winner since and won against Playstation in 2002. Owner/skipper Harvey Bowden from Looe in Cornwall, has entered 14 RTIs along with his son, Roy who is back with his dad for this year’s event.
Last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner, the Nordic Folkboat Nordic Bear that is owned and skippered by Brian Appleyard, is back to defend her title. We’re also delighted to see Ed Donald back racing his Nordic Folkboat Madelaine. He first entered 30 years ago and has won the GRB twice, in 1999 and 2007.
Forethought of Gosport is a Westerly GK24 owned by Mike and Shirley James from Hamble in Hampshire who first entered the Race in 1997. The yacht has twice won the Round the Island GK24 Trophy but has also collided with the Sconce buoy having drifted sideways into it at 3.5 knots on the tide.
Brett Dingwall has returned to sailing after suffering from Leukaemia four years ago. Not only is Brett, from Bricket Wood in Hertfordshire, sailing in this year’s RTI Race on an Omega 34, Promises, but he is then going on to compete in the Flying Fifteen World Championships hosted by Hayling Island SC in July.
Aragorn is a Mystery 35 that serves as home to Robert Jollye and Caroline Watson and, as Robert quips: “We’re always carrying the kitchen sink wherever we go so it’s a good thing that Stephen Jones designed her to sail so well!"
Sopranino is a Laurent Giles Santander, built at Wootens at Crookham Dene on the Thames in 1950. She was the boat that founded the Junior Offshore Group (JOG) with Patrick Ellam as its first captain. In September 1951 she left Falmouth to sail the Atlantic, with Patrick Ellam and Colin Mudie as crew. A book, simply entitled Sopranino, was written about her exploits. In 2000 the then captain of JOG, Brian Yeomans and Race skipper and 2011 Race entrant Mark Wynter, went to Newport Rhode Island and got her shipped back to the UK for restoration at the Classic Boat Museum in Newport, Isle of Wight. Mark and his crew are using their race to fundraise for the Classic Boat Centre Trust.
Is there a smaller boat racing in the 80th Race?
David Annakin is skippering 4 Play, an Etap 20 built in 1985. David, who is from Macclesfield in Cheshire, rescued 4 Play from a neighbour’s garden after 20 years and has restored and updated her. He reckons 4 Play must be the smallest boat in this year’s fleet. We'll see. The key to this will be whether another smaller boat meets the stability factor as per item 4.3 in the Notice of Race. Last year we covered Jo Richards and his last-minute entry Moonshadow, his self-designed and built 20-footer. I've not seen her entry into this year's historic Race as yet.
I wrap up this report with a mention for the owners of Soak Therapy, racing in the Sportsboats (IRC) class. This RS Elite one-design standard, built this year, is owned and skippered by Charlie Egerton-Warburton and is being sailed in memory of his and his wife Julia's younger son Marcus, who was so tragically killed in a family accident in 2008. Older brother Piers along with his friend Charlie will also be racing and neither has done this event before. We wish them all a fabulous day's racing. They are fund raising for the Marcus Egerton-Warburton Memorial Fund.