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22 June 2005, 10:02 am
Young Sailors Storm To Victory
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JPMorgan Round The Island Race 2005
Cowes, Isle of Wight, Great Britain

Five 'Make Your Mark' teams of students from the Isle of Wight, Great Britain are celebrating after completing the 51 mile race course in the 2005 JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. On 18 June, the school pupils, sailed J80 type boats in the Sports Boat Class as part of a project sponsored by the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership (IWEP) and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).
After ten hours of racing, out of the schools involved in the project - Cowes High School crossed the finish point in first place, Sandown High School secured second place, with Carisbrooke High School in third and Medina High School and Ryde High School finishing in joint fourth position. The teams made up of four sailing crew demonstrated great sailing skills with each student concentrating on their specific role. The youngsters had each been assigned a job with responsibilities for logistics, safety and VHF radio, weather and navigation and an overall team leader. In addition, four team members were assigned shoreside support roles for team marketing, PR and sponsorship, team photography, support boat driver and team cameraman.

After the race a presentation ceremony for the 'Make Your Mark' teams was held in the presence of double Olympic gold medallist Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR), SEEDA's Chief Executive Pam ALEXANDER and Mike KING, MD of IWEP. ROBERTSON helped train the teams at the United Kingdom Sailing Academy in West Cowes before the event, giving them the opportunity to learn sailing basics and race tactics from the Academy's elite team of instructors.

The Inspire Challenge Trophy, sponsored by IWEP was presented to Cowes High School. Medina High School scooped the Best Media coverage award, which was sponsored by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry and Sandown High School received the SEEDA award for the Best Sponsorship achieved.

ROBERTSON commented, 'To race for ten hours and Cowes and Sandown High Schools only to be separated by 1 minute and 20 seconds at the finish made for a fantastic race. All the teams put 100 percent effort into both the race and their pre-race preparations, I have been so impressed with the commitment of both the sailing team and their shoreside support throughout the project - I'm looking forward to next year's challenge.'

The team leader from Cowes High School, Tim PITCHER enthused, 'I am so pleased with the team's performance in the race and receiving the Inspire Challenge Trophy has made the day extra special. SEEDA, IWEP and Shirley ROBERTSON have supported us throughout our training and we have all enjoyed our involvement with the 'Make Your Mark' initiative as it has enabled us to develop both business and sailing skills. We really pulled together as a team throughout this project and by securing sponsorship for the race we all felt a huge sense of achievement.'

SEEDA's Chief Executive, Pam ALEXANDER agreed, 'It was a nail biting race and the five student teams did incredibly well against such stiff competition. The race was extremely exciting and it was great to watch them in action. There was so much support for this event and I believe it has been a really positive way to raise awareness of SEEDA's commitment to the nationwide Enterprise Insight 'Make Your Mark - start talking ideas' campaign.

'The initiative aims to inspire young people (14-30 years old) to be 'enterprising' in the broadest sense of the word, through their education, social or voluntary activities, or via business involvement and you can clearly see the impact this initiative has had today. We also aim to raise aspirations and encourage self-belief in students as they are the future business minds and drivers of the Isle of Wight's economy.'

Claire Lodge. Image, Cowes High School taking part in the Round The Island Race:© Rick Tomlinson
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