The Island Sailing Club (ISC), organisers of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, have today announced their highest-ever number of entries recorded in 80 years. Competitor entry 1876 signed up this morning for the Anniversary Race.
Record-breaker Gary Copeland from Tideswell in Derbyshire, has never done this Race before but he and his wife brought a boat called FRANZI three years ago that is familiar with the course. FRANZI is 26ft Classic long keel wooden sloop built by Cowes Boatbuilding Company in 1961. She is one of a pair designed by George Marvin and was raced regularly in the 1960s in the Junior Offshore Group (JOG). She last sailed in the Round the Island Race in 2001. Gary will sail with his wife Caroline and his sister Gillian with whom he was brought up sailing dinghies in Anglesey.
This entry number overtakes the previous record set in 2008 and serves to underline that Britain’s favourite yacht race can proudly maintain its status as the 4th largest participation sporting event held in the UK, annually attracting around 16,000 sailors.
Commenting on such a major achievement in this landmark year, the ISC’s Commodore Rod Nicholls said, “Everyone at the ISC is very excited at the prospect of hosting a record-breaking entry fleet to Cowes on June 25th. We could even reach more entries by Race Day so the office sweepstake isn’t won yet!”
Meanwhile, Race Partner Henri Lloyd will be hoping to break their own record in a J80 HENRI LLOYD owned by Ian Atkins and crewed by Dan Brown and others. They scored a Class win in 2009’s Race, were the National Champions in 2010 and are competing in the Worlds in Copenhagen week after the Round the Island Race.
The very talented sailor Henry Bomby, from Totnes, Devon, who raced in his first Round the Island Race in 2010 whilst on a ‘stopover’ during his Round Britain challenge and scored a highly creditable 26th overall, is back this year skippering a J80 TEAM BALTI.
Haven Knox-Johnston have entered Keith Lovett’s HJK FIRESTARTER, a Match 35 and we’re happy to see Jo Richards back with his Richards 20, MOO (previously named Moonspray).
The famous classic racing yacht GIPSY MOTH IV is entered this year. She’s the pretty Illingworth & Primrose-designed 53 footer on which Sir Francis Chichester sailed single-handed around the world in 1966-67. Owing to the generosity of her new owners, Rob Thompson and Eileen Skinner, the boat is being retained and preserved as a key part of the country’s national maritime heritage, managed by youth maritime charity UKSA who are using the boat in their work of giving disadvantaged and disabled young people the opportunity to change their lives through on-the-water activities.
GIPSY MOTH IV has previously been used by UKSA to sail the world with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, learning difficulties or suffering from cancer. http://www.gipsymoth.org/
The owner of SAGA OF SAKROW, retired Captain RN, John Trinder, tells of this 40 sq m one-off design built in Berlin in 1936 and bought by his father, AVM Frank Trinder, early in 1946. This boat has certainly seen some action!
She was put on a train travelling through East Germany and shot at by Russian soldiers, her bullet holes were repaired in Hamburg, then she was shipped to Tilbury Docks. She spent early 1947 tied to a bank at Teddington with planks round the bow to prevent ice floe damage. She was then sailed round to Calshot (RAFYC) then to Birdham, then Portsmouth (where HMS Warrior is now) and John took over ownership from his father in 1963 and moved to HMS Hornet in Gosport, where he has kept her for 48 years and cruised the channel. Having already piped onboard his 6 grand-sons, John’s only grand-daughter will join the crew in July at 3 months old, completing five generations who have been onboard! John Trinder first entered the Race in 1950 and we are delighted to welcome him, his family and his boat back to Cowes on Race Day.
We’re not making it up when we say that this Race is truly an international affair. Another foreign-built entry is SANTANA, the Capo 30 from San Francisco, California. This is her 15th year of entering and she’s skippered by Myles Perrin.
Furthermore, the crew of the French entry PUNNANY, a Beneteau 36.7 skippered by Sebastian Delasnerie, are turning up from all over the globe for a crew reunion on this Race, flying in from Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Paris.
TOKOLOSHE is one of two boats in the Race going by this name, the other one being a King 40 racing in IRC Group 1. This one, racing in IRC Group 3 is a Hunter 19 owned by South African born Harry Ellens from Lymington, Hampshire. Having arrived from South Africa with little spare cash but always wanting to do the Race he has set about seeing if it was possible to do the Race for under £4,000 pounds including the cost of purchasing the boat. At the time of entering he had spent £3,719.00 with only guardrail wires to fit!
HOLLYWOOD is the name of an Elan 344 Impression from Hollywood in Northern Ireland owned and skippered by Nigel Northridge. He says he’s a proud Irishman who as sailed all his life and is an excellent helmsman. He “enjoys a full Irish breakfast before each race, the breakfast of champions!”
John Taylor has fifty years of experience of doing this Race under his belt and is returning on 25th June with J’RONIMO, a J92 from Hamble in Hampshire.
The Sea Scouts have been in the news recently as having suffered from a lack of new members. We are therefore delighted to welcome HAMBLE SEA SCOUTS, a Cork 1720 Sportsboat owned by the Hamble Sea Scout Group and skippered by John Dyke. There are over 10,000 Scout Groups in the UK, of which about 350 are Sea Scouts Groups and of these only 100 Sea Scout troops, including Hamble, are recognised by the Royal Navy. Royal Navy recognition allows the Group to fly a Blue Burgee and a Defaced Red Ensign. The Hamble Group is one of the largest in the country, with over 200 members ranging from 8-25 years old. Five Scouts have been selected to participate in the Race this year.
Another Hamble connection is through a yacht named ETERNITY OF HAMBLE whose owners Pat and Erica Jackson come from Sutton-under-Brailes in Oxfordshire. She’s the first-ever Bowman 42 built in 1997 and has achieved six Atlantic crossings. Skipper Pat lists his own racing feats as Admiral’s Cup GB Team, Southern GB Team and Onion Patch GB Team.
The Farr 45 EXABYTE 4 is another well-known name in racing circles and her skipper and crew for this year’s Race, no less so. She is skippered by her charterer Peter Erzberger, Commodore of the Gstaad Yacht Club in Switzerland and a former Olympic Star sailor who is celebrating his 70th birthday and joined on board by such names as Bryn Vaile MBE (Gold in 1988), Mike McIntyre MBE (Gold 1988) and Marc Erzberger, all former Olympians.
PRIMA DONNA is the only Morgan Giles 30 taking part in this historic event. It was probably the last model to come out of the Morgan Giles yard in Teignmouth, Devon. Designed by the Chief Designer Kenneth Collyer in 1964, the Morgan Giles 30 was based loosely on an earlier design known as the ‘West Channel Class’. This boat has classic lines as you might expect and has great sea keeping qualities.
Peter Knight first entered the Race in 2008 when he sailed PRIMA DONNA up from Falmouth to take part as a complete novice. Since then he has relocated back to Hythe, Southampton Water, where he grew up. “This Race has become a permanent fixture in my sailing calendar and with my two regular crew we are really looking forward to a fabulous day on the 25th of June. I know that every owner loves their boat and you probably get lots of messages like this, but I can say that my first RTI in 2008 was the first sailing race that I had ever entered and it was just the most exhilarating sailing experience ever.”
Peter says he looks forward to the RTI every year now because it is his “London Marathon“. He continues, “I love being on the water and I relish every chance I have to sail the boat. For me whilst I sail the best race I can, it really IS the taking part that counts. I am a great fan of the ISC and grateful for all the work that goes in to provide people like me with an opportunity to take part in this fantastic event.”
Finally, we return to sail number THETA 1 SOPRANINO, an entry I wrote about back in March but which delightfully has brought forth a fondly recalled memory from naval architect Colin Mudie who sailed on her with Patrick Ellam back in 1951 when she left Falmouth to sail the Atlantic. In 2000, Brian Yeomans and Mark Wynter, her 2011 Race skipper, 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. This is how Colin remembers her:
“Sopranino was a world class boat by any standard you could judge her by. She would do anything for you. You could sail her in crowded harbours like any dinghy and she would surf down a wave front and rise to the next one with total confidence in harsh conditions off shore. She was small enough and light enough to sail anywhere and she was up for practical jokes. We would, for instance, read The Times while trapezing in serious races and we used to sail her up the Lymington river with neither of us on deck by steering from inside with no more than codlines.”
We take this opportunity to wish every competitor in this year’s 80th Anniversary Race a safe, memorable and fun experience.
Whether on the water or onshore, and wherever you are in the world, don’t forget to use the Race tracking facility to follow the action and also contribute to our new interactive Race Progress Blog that goes live on the home page of the official Race website http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk from 0530 on Race Day.