Entries have now opened for the Round the Island Race 2021, which this year celebrates its 90th anniversary

Entries for the Round the Island Race 2021 opened this morning, with over 1,500 yachts expected to take part on 3 July.

Organised by the Island Sailing Club, the event also celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2021.

One of the unique attractions of the race is its even-handedness and the opportunity for Olympic and World champion sailors to compete on the same course around the Isle of Wight with amateurs, families and club sailors of all ages.

Whilst the majority of the boats will simply enjoy the challenge of getting all the way round, there will be many teams aiming to beat the existing course records.

Boats taking part in Round the Island Race

Over 1,500 yachts are expected to compete in this year’s race. Credit: Paul Wyeth

The current monohull record continues to be held by Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard, who in the near-perfect conditions of 2013 posted an elapsed time of 3 hours 43 minutes and 50 seconds.

The multihull class, introduced in 1961, generally achieves even faster times, as shown in 2017 when Ned Collier Wakefield’s Concise10 flew round in just 2 hours 22 minutes and 23 seconds.

The rear commodore for sailing at the Island Sailing Club, Rob Peace, said the Round the Island Race 2021 was perfectly timed for the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

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‘Sailors are desperate to get back out on their boats, and our race is perfectly timed and definitely provides a unique and thrilling experience for all of the crews. Over the past 90 years approximately 500,000 sailors and 70,000 boats have been challenged by this race – those are some impressive statistics!’ he added.

Race director David Atkinson, said there were plans to run some of the event’s  usual social activities ashore.

‘We are very mindful of the possible need to avoid large gatherings over the race weekend. No decisions have been taken at this stage, and we will be updating our plans in line with the easing of restrictions over the coming weeks and months,’ he explained.

‘Naturally, we expect those taking part to follow all of the current guidelines in place for the race, and we will be providing a summary of guidance from relevant authorities through a dedicated page on the event website. We will be asking everyone to check this regularly, familiarise themselves with the information and help make the event safe for us all,’ stated Atkinson.

Round the Island Race 2021 will be the event's 90th

Round the Island Race is organised by the Island Sailing Club

For the first time this year, there will be a Windeler Cup competition for small keelboat racers from the Daring, Dragon, Etchells, Flying Fifteen, Mermaid, Redwing, Sunbeam, Swallow, Sonar, Squib, RS Elite, Victory and XOD classes.

The Solent race will start after the main fleet departs from Cowes.

Between 1-2 July, an additional Round the Island Race 2021 will be held for rowers and kitesurfers.

As in previous years, the Round the Island Race will also be fundraising for its official charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

To enter Britain’s favourite race, go to the event website www.roundtheisland.org.uk. 

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