Saturday, 27 June 2009

RTI: JPMorgan Asset Management Round The Island Race

Britain’s favourite yacht race

by Flavia Bateson

Speaking at the prizegiving of the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Sunday 21st June, Commodore of the Island Sailing Club Bill Pimlott congratulated competitors and race officers alike on a highly successful event. £74,907 has also been raised for charity so far.

The wind had managed to play tricks, providing spinnaker-shredding gusts around St Catherine’s Point before turning through 180 degrees and disappearing completely for some time at Bembridge. Despite the challenging conditions, 1,566 boats completed the course, an increase on 2008. Some, like the Cornish Shrimper Nornie and Catalac 8.5 Blithe Spirits had been at sea well over 14 hours, in contrast with fleet leader Oman Sail Masirah (Extreme 40 – Pete Cumming) which crossed the line in half the time.

The big boats suffered more from the lack of wind leaving the smaller, lower rated entries to carry off the top prizes. Tattarat (Folkboat - Philip Williams) won the Gold Roman Bowl by heading the leader board in IRC followed by sistership Nordic Bear (Brian Appleyard) with Scallywag (Quarter tonner – Ali Tyler/Steve Lawrence) third. In the ISC Rating System section for non-regular racers, Tudor Rose (Hunter Medina – Richard and Ian Cooke) gained a 35 minute lead on handicap from Clarissa (David Thomas one off – John Langdon) to take the Silver Gilt Roman Bowl.

The Raymarine Young Sailor Trophy went to 16-year old Matt Ponsford from Chichester. When others were firmly aground on Ryde Sands, cheating the tide that little bit too far, Matt’s Beneteau First 21.7 Pocket Rocket had the advantage of a lifting keel. Nifty winching assured just a touch and go. The JPMorgan Asset Management Family Trophy went to the Contessa 26 Contessina with David and Carole Armstrong, their daughter Claire and son-in-law Michael. David is a past Commodore of the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club and brought the boat down from Bridlington to compete. He bought Contessina three years ago as a virtual wreck and has now restored the boat to her former glory. Winner of the Classic Racing Yacht class, Cherete is a Mk I East Anglian built in 1958 and another fine boat rescued by shipwright David Haugh from being used as firewood. Mizpah (Alex Charlton) was the top original Old Gaffer. In the same class Rosenn, built in 1896 and the oldest boat in the race, dropped one place to third this year but this might have been due to co-owner journalist Bob Fisher seeing a deadline approach having to concentrate more on filing his copy.

Amongst the proudest to finish were the Charity Challenge competitors representing four major charities: Prostate UK, The Ellen MacArthur Trust, Breast Cancer Care and Macmillan. Comedian/writer Dave Spikey was a guest crew for Prostate UK and remarked on his way round: “I thought the Ellen MacArthur Trust people would be copying their patron by sailing single-handed. I distinctly saw them all using two!” Breast Cancer Care included two young mums from Southampton diagnosed with cancer four years ago. For Louise Rall and Rachel Brady this was an amazing introduction to sailing. They carried out every task on the boat from helming to trimming and of course making the tea. Macmillan may have been first back of the four boats but everyone was a winner.

Local schools had also entered into the spirit of the race. Students from Cowes High School designed, manufactured and raced their own radio-controlled model boats round a polystyrene Isle of Wight. Two heats and a final decided the winner in the boat building competition Team DB. In the Regatta Village Ben Ainslie had the difficult task of judging an amazing array of entries in the drawing competition for primary schools. Marnie Post from All Saints School came out on top. In third place, William Bennet-Lynch has just started learning to sail and was overjoyed to receive the prize from his idol Ben Ainslie.

Everyone likes a happy ending. South of the Island a Sigma 38 spinnaker was spotted carrying the question “Rebecca will you marry me?” This was Max Walker’s unusual way of popping the question to crew Rebecca, whose attention was initially dedicated to trimming the spinnaker guy on Pavlova III. Shouts from surrounding boats encouraged her to look up. We are pleased to report the proposal was accepted and there were great celebrations at the Sigma 38 Class Association 21st birthday party ashore.

The Island Sailing Club looks forward to welcoming Max, Rebecca and all the thousands of sailors who took part in the race this year to the 2010 JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Saturday 19th June.

The Island Sailing Club is grateful for the continued support of title sponsor JPMorgan Asset Management and race partners Bénéteau, Britannia Events, Dean & Reddyhoff, Nautica Watches, Old Pulteney Whisky, Raymarine, Red Funnel, St Margaret’s Direct and Volvo Car UK.

* 1,779 boats entered the race in 2009, the fourth highest in the 78-year history of the race
* Around 16,000 sailors competed in the one day event
* First timers, families and top professionals all raced together in the same challenge
* The monohull race record still stands at 3.53.05 set by Mike Slade (ICAP Leopard) in 2008
* The multihull race record stands at Francis Joyon’s 2001 time of 3.08.29
* The classic course, established in 1931, goes westward 50 miles round the Isle of Wight, starting and finishing in Cowes, the centre of British yachting
* As at 23rd June 2009, £74,907.92 had been raised for charity through the event, with more donations coming in.

Round the Island Race 2009

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