You don’t have to own a boat to compete in Britain’s favourite yacht race

The lovingly restored Maybird is sure to turn heads.

Peta Stuart-Hunt – 08:00 Wednesday 5 May 2010

Whilst the majority of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race participants are fortunate enough to own their own boat, the Race also hosts numerous weekend charterers and some who have never even set foot on a boat before.

Most charter companies will provide a professional skipper and mate to introduce a novice crew to the delights of this iconic Race, whilst other chartered yachts are skippered and crewed entirely by amateurs.

One of our Race Partners, Britannia Corporate Events, organises tailor-made packages to suit clients’ requirements ranging from hospitality and spectating packages to take in the atmosphere of the Race at leisure, to organising a single-boat corporate weekend to take on the challenge of competing in and finishing the Round the Island Race. This year they have in the region of 30 yachts entered covering the full spectrum of client requirements including all the J.P. Morgan corporate race entries.

If you enjoy sailing and you’ve been thinking about doing the Round the Island Race but don’t think you’re quite experienced enough to join a racing crew, it is worth doing a bit of research and signing up to a race training course and then applying to join a charter crew next year.

Remember, 2011 is an extra special anniversary Race year, being its 80th edition, and you will surely want to be a part of it.

Three cheers for fund raisers
A resounding ‘three cheers’ to the numerous crews who have entered this year’s race and who are fund raising for good causes because their own lives have somehow been touched by tragedy or they just want to help others.

For example, there’s a yacht called Waiata, a Jeanneau 49i owned by Lymington Yacht Charters and skippered by Gary McMullan from Lymington. It is Gary’s 5th year competing in the Race and his second as a skipper. All his crew live locally and three have never sailed before, let alone raced! They have signed up to help raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association as a friend of one of the crew has recently been diagnosed with MND and a member of the crew lost their sister to the disease.

We wish good fortune to everyone fund raising.

Tri to Fly is a Folding trimaran, a Dragonfly 28 Touring, owned and skippered by Howard Jennings-Frisby from Wokingham, Surrey. Folding trimarans have been available in the UK since 1988 and are really gaining in popularity. Their seemingly effortless performance is owed to their light weight and slim hulls that slice cleanly through the waves. The enormous righting moment ensures minimal heeling, so the whole family can enjoy the ride.   Howard is competing as a skipper for the first time in a brand new boat and describes his crew as ‘brave’!

Everyone’s a winner, as long as they complete the course in time!
Racing alongside the novices are hundreds of very experienced Round the Islanders such as the skipper of Heavens Above V, a Freedom 35 owned by Christopher Anderson from Oxted in Surrey. He has competed in over 25 Round the Island Races and has twice been awarded the Shepherds Trophy and has also won the Spread Eagle Trophy.

Tattarat, a Nordic Folkboat, won the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl (First Overall IRC) in 2009 with its previous owner Philip Williams and scored a second place in 2007. The boat has since been sold to Roger Granger from Freshwater on the IOW who recently sold his Sigma 41 in which he won the Jimmie Read Memorial Trophy in 2008 (First Overall ISCRS Group 5). Roger is looking forward to keeping up Tattarat‘s high standards with its new crew who all sail out of the Royal Solent YC in Yarmouth.

A UK Folkboat Sandpiper, entered by Roger Hayward, is a GRP version of the UK Folkboat designed & built by Varne on the East Coast in 1980. She has competed in the last three RTI races and Roger says that she hasn’t disgraced herself yet! Last year she won the Hythe Sailing Club fastest club boat entry in the Race.

For every boat entered that sails the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race course according to the Sailing Instructions and declares correctly by the deadline of 22.00hrs on Race Day, the skipper will receive a pewter tankard with the Race logo inscribed on it.

Family ties…
A tale of three generations has emerged from Jimmy Warington-Smyth, a Marina Manager from Poole in Dorset who will race Jedanor, a Privateer 30 that was designed and built in 1964 in Falmouth by his Grandfather and was then bought by his father in 2000. Jimmy, who has sailed all his life, has had her since 2007 and says he just loves classic boats. He will compete in this year’s Race with his wife and sister-in law and some friends.

There are lots of happy family-orientated entries but it’s always especially heartening to see brothers getting along well enough in adulthood to cope with the demands of a potentially gruelling few hours together on the Round the Island Race!

Brothers Geoffrey and Graham Cooper will be racing Lorenda, a Marcon Tomahawk 25 whilst James Ford and his two brothers are on the SB3Skallywag. Brinley Carpenter and his two brothers are on the Sadler 32Samhradh. We wish them all a wonderful day out.

John Burton and his wife have entered his brand new Arcona 430, launched just a few weeks ago. This is the design that was voted 2009 European Performance Yacht of the Year. Cider with Rosie will be skippered by John, a RORC Class Champion in 1984, a member of the British One Top Cup Team in 84 and former Vice Chairman of the Sigma 38 class. He will be joined by a mainly novice crew including son Mark and his wife and cousins. John clearly believes in the boat’s name being good luck having named three previous boats Cider with Rosie.

…and loving restorations
It is always heartening to read about the exploits of those owners who just love their boats to distraction, often spending all their time, money and effort on refurbishing and restoring beautiful old boats to their former glory. One such wooden boat devotee is Anthony Wheaton from London who is racing his one-off design called Aeolus in the Traditional Gaffer class. His boat is a gaff topsail cutter, extreme plank on edge design with a narrow beam and 6 tons of lead ingots as ballast. She was built in California USA in 1904, designer unknown, rebuilt in 1980, imported into the UK in 2003 and is sailing properly for the first time in this year’s race with an Ed Burnett revised sailplan.

Another beautiful renovation project that stood out for me is that ofMaybird, a Fred Shepherd Classic 43ft (52ft LOA) gaff rigged ketch that will be competing in her first race since being restored when she comes to the start line on 19th June. She has recently undergone a major two-year restoration and refit using all local skills and crafts with a team of classic yacht shipwrights at Saxon Wharf, Southampton bringing her back to her former glory. Her mast was built by Bob Snow in Yarmouth and her sails are from Ratseys in Cowes whilst her rigging is by Peter Martin, Martins Rigging in Swanwick.

Maybird was designed by Fred Shepherd for Lt Col WCW Hawkes DSO, Indian Army (retired) and built by Jack Tyrell at Arklow, Co Wicklow in 1937. This wooden ketch connects the lives of her designer, her builder and her original owner with some nine families who have had the privilege of sailing her over the last 73 years. Maybird’s various roles have included being a gentleman’s auxillary yacht,an ocean passage maker and a Greenpeace protest vessel – Maybird’s story is truly compelling and she’s available for charter.

Her story begins in Ireland in the years following the First World War and the creation of the Irish Free State. It continued in England from the outbreak of the Second World War until the late 1960’s.  She sailed to New Zealand from Lymington in 1972 with two families on board (10 in total) via the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, the Galapagos Islands and Tahiti.  She spent the next 36 years based in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s North Island where she was owned by the current owner’s father-in-law – Robin MacDiarmid.

She made passages to Tongo, Fiji, New Caledonia and regularly plied the Island’s East Coast with Robin at her helm. During 2007 she made the trip back to the UK as deck cargo on a bulk carrier that was transporting 25,000 tonnes of onions from Tauranga, New Zealand to Ipswich. She was seized by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, took it in her stride and, once common sense prevailed, ownership was transferred back from Her Majesty to the current owner. I suspect he will be crying tears of joy at seeing her racing again and without a single onion in sight!

I knew that as soon as I mentioned a boat similar to the one that featured in the popular TV drama ‘Howards’ Way’ in my last entry news (Highly Sprung) that the real thing would emerge…and she has, in the form ofSpring of Tarrant, the MG Spring 25 that actually featured in the long-running sailing saga. Owned by Carl Sotheron from Farnham in Surrey, he will be racing her with a ‘mixed bunch’ on board including a Kiwi (that’s a New Zealand sailor, rather than the bird) whose ambition is to compete in this globally renowned yachting event.

Amelia is a Sasanka 660 Supernova. ‘A what?’ You might well ask. Well, I admit I had to do some research to find out a little more. She is of Polish extraction, a production sloop built in Poland between 2006-08 and is a 21.65ft LOA trailer-sailer described as, ‘a safe, unsinkable and well equipped cabin yacht that has already earned recognition among people that have chartered it for its ease of use and reliability, aesthetics and functionality, as well as good sailing performance.’ She is owned and skippered by Paul Hansell from Ringwood in Hampshire and the boat, skipper and crew all completed their first-ever J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race in 2009. Welcome back.

This guy deserves a medal…yes, another one!
I’d like to end this particular report quoting from the latest blog written by one of our most high-profile Race competitors, Ben Ainslie. Ben’s sailing achievements are unprecedented. Not only is he a triple Olympic gold medallist, he is also a nine times World champion, eight times European Champion and three times ISAF World Sailor of the Year. Ben’s next aspiration is to win the Americas Cup with Team Origin before bringing back a historic fourth gold in the London 2012 Olympics.

I’m looking forward to the 2010 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on June 19. This is always such a fantastic spectacle; so many different types of boat and people take part and it’s really enjoyable. It also gets lots of media attention and whereas sailing often gets a bad rap for being difficult to follow, the RTIR course is very easy to understand, which is good for the sport’s profile.”

Thanks Ben!


One response to “You don’t have to own a boat to compete in Britain’s favourite yacht race

  1. Race chartering has come a long way since the days when it was mostly well-known owners chartering from one another because they didn’t have a suitable boat in the right place at the right time. This year’s JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race looks like setting the bar pretty high for the 2011 event.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s