MOD70s lead the charge around the island at speeds of 36 knots
The entire central and western Solent areas are now thick with yachts, as the starting sequences draw to a close. There’s still plenty of sun here and the wind has softened slightly in the central Solent, although with the west-going tide building the sea state is increasing.
The leading boats on the water are now the two MOD70s, which have had an intense tacking duel down the western Solent, with Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo 3 holding a small lead on the water. They reached the Needles at 0934, a few minutes behind the pace set by Sir Ben Ainslie’s foiling AC45 catamaran when he set the multihull race record in 2013. The two giant trimarans are now screaming down the back of the Island at speeds of more than 35 knots, in a high-adrenaline non-stop match race. Exciting stuff!
The overall winner of the race often comes from among the smaller older boats. Jo Richards’ venerable 27ft H-Boat Woof led the fleet in IRC Group 3 away from the start line, staying in clean air ahead of the larger yachts in his class. Richards’ race will be many hours longer than that of the MOD70s, but his boat will clearly be one to watch in the overall standings.
The final start, for the boats in ISC Rating System Group 8, is at 1010.
The annual J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island situated off the south coast of England. The race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
Competitors come from all over the UK, other parts of Europe and as far away as the USA to follow the 50 nautical mile course round the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the fleet races westabout, to The Needles, round St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.
Spectators can find many vantage points, both on the mainland and Isle of Wight, to watch the race progress. The first start in Cowes will be at 8.30am in 2016, and you can find more information about where the boats are at different times during the day by clicking here. Those who cannot get to watch in person can always keep an eye on the race’s progress on the website, via our live text commentary and our boat tracking facility.
more info …. roundtheisland.org.uk
by Rupert Holmes / roundtheisland.org.uk