From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury - A social calendar for the 21st century
Round the Island Race
01 June, 2013
Cowes, Isle of Wight
This annual event, a 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight, attracts competitors from all over the UK, Europe and the USA. It is organised by the Island Sailing Club. The dates for the race are chosen around when the tides are assumed to be most favourable for the race to take place.
The race is launched at Cowes, and proceeds westwards, past The Needles, round St. Catherine's Point and past Bembridge Ledge buoy, before returning to The Solent. A total of 60 prizes are awarded for the event, and every boat competing receives a memento of the occasion.
The first race took place in 1931 with just 25 entrants. The top trophy awarded - as now - was the coveted Golden Bowl, a replica of a Roman bowl dredged up from the River Thames. In 2010there were 1,754 entrants, and 1,607 boats completed the course.
The current multihull record of 3 hours 8 minutes and 29 seconds has stood since 2001, held by Francis Joyon, who went on to break the round-the-world single-handed record in 2004. The current monohull record for the race is 3 hours 53 minutes and 5 seconds, set by Mike Slade in 2008.
The race is a magnet for sailors of all levels of experience and ability, attracting state-of-the-art racing yachts as well as elegant, historic vessels. In 2011 there were over 1,900 competitors, with 1,302 crossing the finishing line.
This amazing spectacle can be observed from many vantage points, including The Green and The Esplanade in Cowes, Yarmouth, Fort Victoria County Park, Alum Bay, The Needles Battery, Tennyson Down, St Boniface Down, Culver Cliff, Bembridge and Seaview.
Throughout the day there is a festive atmosphere in the bars, restaurants and marinas in Cowes. There is also a Regatta Village in Cowes Yacht Haven, which is open to everyone, an ideal venue for drinking, eating and evening entertainment.