After a delayed start due to lack of wind, the first boats, the open 60's, set off this morning at 07.40hrs.

After a delayed start due to lack of wind, the first boats, the Open 60’s, set off this morning at 07.40hrs. The start as ever is utilising the westerly flowing tide taking the fleet towards the Needles, like many competitors our own team of racers are using the tide to maximum advantage in the very light airs.

Almost 1700 boats have registered to take part in today’s race, and our magazine teams are well represented within the fleet:

Andrew Bray, editor of Yachting World is sailing his one-off, wood epoxy, 42ft Humphreys-designed fast cruiser,Fireflywith advertising manager, Alan Warren on board as crew. Advertising manager of Yachting Monthly and Practical Boat Owner, Mike Shepherd is also racing today on his beloved Folkboat,Rio. This will be the third time he has raced her Round the Island and the inseparable pair will also be competing at Cowes Week, Folkboat Week, the Folkboat Nationals and the Folkboat South Coast Championships this summer. Dick Durham, Yachting Monthly’s features editor is competing too. He is aboardGreensleeves, a Memory Class 19ft gaffer skippered by Roy Hart, an experienced solo transatlantic sailor and AZAB competitor.

As you can see, we have an substantial team to keep us informed, they will be contacting us with reports of courage, camaraderie and capsizing – all the action throughout the day. Readers have also volunteered to give us live onboard updates, so we await some interesting stories from them too.

The Yachting Monthly trophy is up for grabs again this year. First presented in 1999, the trophy is awarded to the winning boat crewed by a minimum of four immediate family members under the ISC Handicap. Last year’s winner was Peter Jenner onGunslinger. Peter skippered the boat with three crew, his two sons aged 15 and 18 and his nephew.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the South Coast One Design. Seven of the original 106 are taking part in the race this year and we will hopefully be speaking to Richard Johnson aboardAnjajolater on in the race.Anjajois one of the original boats of this design built in 1963.

Entries for the race have come from all over the world and a quick glance at the sail numbers on the entrants list indicates that perhaps the furthest flung entry is from New Zealand -City Index Maximus, an Elliott 30 Monohull skippered by Kevin Sussmilch. There are also entries from the USA and plenty of European competitors.

As usual, this year’s Round the Island Race has attracted the best in the business. Watch out for Ellen MacArthur, Shirley Robertson and a generous smattering of Vendée heroes including some of the French contenders.

The sheer volume of boats and world class sailors taking part should make for an exciting race this year, so stay tuned to for regular updates live from the course.