Friday 4 March 2011

Round the Island race - 80th Anniversary

I was fortunate to be invited to a lunch to celebrate the 80th Year of the Around the Island race.

The event takes places in June each year starting and finishing at Cowes, the course is a 50 mile circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight. Since the first race in 1931 the event has grown with some 1800 boats and 17,000 participants in last year’s race in making it one of the largest participant events in the UK.

Round the Island Race is run by the Island Sailing Club, what is remarkable is the event is open to just about everyone so there are small cruising boats mixing it up with the Formula 1 equivalents of the sailing world. With a handicap system in place the famous Gold Roman Bowl winner can and does come from any of the classes.

The lunch was held at one of JP Morgan London offices with some august company, previous Roman Bowl winners included (left to right) Robin Aisher, Admiral of the Island Sailing Club and winner in 1985 on Yeoman XXV. Peter Nicholson world famous boat builder and winner in 1964 on Rocquette. Julian Everitt who designed and built the yacht Green Onion for his late wife Julia Dane, the second female winner back in 1982. Simon Rogers who’s family Contessa 26 - Rosina of Beaulieu has won three times in 2002, 2003 and 2006. Ian Lallow, winner in 1972, 1973 with Sir Edward Heath (Prime Minister at the time) onboard Morning Cloud II & III. Ian also built the two yachts.

Ben Ainsley (right) who has yet to win the Roman Bowl spoke about his experience of the event.

Three photographers who have recorded the event for many years had generously donated examples of their work to raise money for charity, which made a wonderful back drop to the event. Keith Beken, Rick Tomlinson and Thierry Martinez were each asked to present they favorite photograph and tell the story behind it.

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