Did organisers make mistake?


Organisers of the 75th Round the Island Race, The Island Sailing Club, have been accused of a ‘planning cock up’ after only 735 yachts out of 1,587 finished the race on Saturday, the hottest day of the year, amidst light winds and contrary tides.

‘One is left wondering if the ISC race committee read UT as BST in the tide tables,’ said one critic.
Some 577 yachts retired and 253 were ‘No declaration’. So 52.3% of the starters did not make it round the island in the event sponsored by JPMorgan.

One disappointed competitor declared: ‘The reason at least one third of the fleet failed to get through the Needles was not to do with light winds. I think it was a cock-up in planning. Those of us starting around 0800hrs had about 75 minutes of usable positive tide to get through Hurst before hitting a wall of tide.’ 

‘If the race and the Island Sailing Club are to attract a mass entry next year, they need to admit they got it
wrong!’ said another critic.

‘By my calculations a start at 0800 required an average boat speed, taking into account 2 hours favourable tide, of 5 knots to reach the Needles before the tide changed,’ said regular competitor, John Taylor.

‘In some circumstances the majority of the fleet may achieve this, but in light or head winds, both of which are more likely than any other wind pattern, the probability of rounding the Needles is slight.

‘With the experience the ISC has of running this race it is inconceivable it did not realise the difficulty the ISC rated boats would have in sailing round the Island in the allotted time.’

Line honours on the race were taken by the Dutch Volvo Extreme 40 catamaran Holomatro , closely followed by Charles Dunstone’s TP52 Red, the first monohull home at 1517hrs.

On corrected time, Jeremy Rogers’ Contessa 26 Rosina of Beaulieu, took the Gold Roman Bowl trophy for an impressive third time, crewed by his sons Simon and Kit. Sir Edward Heath was a four-times winner but in three different boats. The Silver Gilt Roman Bowl for the top boat in the ISC-rated section was won by ‘Toucan Tango’ a Bavaria sailed by Chris Bean.

The winner of the Yachting Monthly Family Trophy were Julian and Catherine Weyer Brown with their children aboard Coral of Teignmouth, a 1996 Dehler 33. This was the first time in the Round Island Race and Catherine explained how she had read Yachting Monthly’s pre-race article with ’10 top tips for survival and wondered what we were in for!’

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