This year's Hoya Round the Island Race, Cowes, Isle of Wight, Saturday 16 June 2001, will witness the second largest fleet in the race's 65-year history - 1,735 yachts and over 13,000 people.
Known as the 'London Marathon of Sailing' for its sheer size and pitting elite professional sailors against 'fun-sailors', Hoya Round the Island Race is the biggest and most popular race of its kind in the world.
Amongst the 1,735 strong fleet will be:
~ Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson
on board a Swan 48 'Jacobite'
~ Olympic silver medallist Ian Barker
on board the Ultra 30 'Hoya'
~ Josh Hall
on board 'Gartmore', recently returned from the Vendee Globe race
~ Top international yachtsman Eddie Warden Owen
skippering the America's Cup Class yacht 'Hoya High Voltage'
The 50 nautical mile race, anticlockwise around the Isle of Wight, is held in high esteem within yachting circles and appeals to yachtsmen of hugely differing abilities and experience. At one end of the spectrum are the grand prix high-tech boats crewed by professional yachtsmen and women of international standings. At the other, are the many small cruisers, often crewed by family and friends, for whom this is their only race of the year. In between, there are a multitude of classes and individual boats of all shapes and sizes.
The main trophy, highly coveted among British yachtsmen and women, is the Gold Roman Bowl, which is contested by yachts sailing under the IRC rating system. With at least 40 other classes and around 84 identifiable competitions within the overall race, there are over 50 prizes and trophies to be won.
The previous record number of entries to the race was in 1989, the Centenary year of the Island Sailing Club, when 1813 yachts registered to take part in the largest and most popular yacht race of its type in the world. Next year's Round the Island Race is scheduled for 22 June 2002.