Fast facts about this weekend's race
Tomorrow’s Round the Island Race is the largest yacht race of its kind in the world and the 4th largest annual participative sporting event in the UK.
1,799 boats are entered, with around 14,500 sailors lining up for the 0500 hrs start. The only year with more entries was 1938, with a 1831-boat fleet. Cowes’s Island Sailing Club has organised all 76 editions of the race.
The first race, in 1931, attracted just 22 yachts, and the top prize was £5!
The fastest times for the race have stood since 2001: French skipper Francis Joyon holds the multihull record at 3hrs, 8 minutes and 29 seconda aboard Dexia Eure et Loire, and Mike Slade the monohull record of 4hrs, 5 minutes and 40 seconds with Skandia Life Leopard, a record he will try to beat this year aboard new yacht ICAP Leopard.
This year, five Extreme 40s will be racing, setting off at the first start of 0500hrs – Ellen MacArthur will be helming JP Morgan Asset Management.
The current forecast for Saturday indicates a healthy Force 4 and a fast race.