A day for smaller, lighter boats

Conditions in the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race gave the crews of 1,779 starting boats a challenge. The breeze at the start was light, with some boats swept over the line early and having to make their way back slowly. At the Needles the most popular description competitors had of the race was “champagne sailing”. Then the wind played tricks. Off Bembridge everyone was on a spinnaker reach when the breeze suddenly went through a 180 degree turn and then dropped. From 80-footers down to Laser SB3s, crews were kept busy fending off other boats. Once into the eastern Solent most of the fleet had to cheat the tide and creep close into Ryde Sands. Then it was short tacking to the line. The ‘rush hour’ was between 1900 and 2000 when a close to a thousand boats were finishing.

The top prize Gold Roman Bowl went to one of the smaller and older designs: Tattarat a 25 foot Nordic Folkboat built in 1978. Her skipper is Philip Williams, a director of Williams Shipping in Southampton who supplied one of their tugs as a committee boat. Tattarat completed the course in 10 hours and 46 minutes.

Two years ago sistership Madelaine won the Gold Roman Bowl with Tattarat the runner up. This year it is the Folkboat Nordic Bear second.

The Silver Gilt Roman Bowl for the top yacht in the ISC Rating System Division went to the little 20-foot Hunter Medina Tudor Rose, built in 1982. Jointly owned by Richard and Ian Cooke from Hill Head, the boat is a regular competitor in the race over many years.

Yachting Monthly’s technical editor Chris Beeson was aboard Orca, a Class 40 taking just under 10 hours and coming 540th in the race: ‘A slow race for us’, said Chris.

pic: Thierry Martinez