The 79th edition of one of Britain's biggest races, the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race ended on a high with almost all the fleet finishing before sunset.
Everyone is celebrating this year's race as being one of the most successful on record. Not only did the weather gods play fair, the racing was extremely close throughout the day proven by the tight finishes in most classes and the competitors came ashore happy and proud of their efforts whether first in class or trailing the fleet.
For once, most of the boats finished before sunset and in a fleet of nearly 1700 boats, that's pretty unusual.
From the 0500 start off the Royal Yacht Squadron line when ICAP Leopard, the current monohull course record holder powered her way up the Solent to the Needles, right through to the closing stages of the race, there was little time for the race management team at the Island Sailing Club to draw breath in order to record the finish times.
The two existing course record holders in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race have again triumphed today as IDEC, the multihull driven by Francis Joyon crossed the finish line at 09.34.05 - so her rounding was in 04h.24m.05s and her course record still stands at 3h.08m.29s. She was closely followed by the four Extreme 40,s led by Oman Sail, The Wave Muscat at 09.37.33, then Oman Sail Masirah at 09.37.57, Team Metherell at 09.44.10 and then Ecover at 09.48.45.
ICAP Leopard crossed the line at 10.10.06 so her rounding was achieved in 05h.0m.06s, way outside her record of 03h.53m.05s. The ISC Commodore Bill Pimlott presented Mike Slade with a bottle of Champagne for taking the monohull line honours. Mike, chatting after the race, said:
"We've had a glorious day's sailing as always and we're exceptionally pleased with the result considering we got hooked up to a lobster pot on the south of the Island for about two hours. Thankfully we had a young diver onboard who free-dived below and cut it off. We thought we had slowed up and when we saw the size of the obstacle we realised why. Sadly there was nothing in it!"
The exquisite J Class yacht Velsheda finished at 10.45.02. She started at 5am in the morning. Built in 1933 in Camper and Nicholsons in Gosport, Velsheda is the most famous of the few remaining J Class yachts left in the world today.
Just after 1pm Simon Judge sailing his Westerly GK29 Growling Kougar was carefully treading his way over Ryde Sands with just one metre of water below the keel.
"We're going well and seem to have caught up on some of the Sunsail fleet yachts, and have a few of Sigma 33s close by which is good for us because they rate higher." According to Judge he was currently in line to break his own Round the Island Race record which stood at nine hours. "If all goes well, we'll be in within eight and a half hours." We're delighted to report that he made it in 8.48.40!
Angus Ball, the Gunboat 66 Coco de Mer skipper in the Multihull-Bridgedeck class, said they had an exciting time and were pleased to be mixing it with some of the Class 0 yachts that started 10 minutes ahead. Ball and his team have been campaigning the year-old boat extensively and have notched up some respectable results including a Gunboat class win at the Heineken Regatta earlier in the year.
The Silver Gilt Roman Bowl and JP Morgan Asset Management Salver for the top yacht in the ISC Rating System Division went to First Knight, a Beneteau First 25.7 owned and skippered by an ENT surgeon, Lindsey Knight, from Leeds.
Next year the race is taking place on Saturday June 25th. Importantly this will be the 80th Anniversary Race and the organisers are anticipating a record entry.
Full results and the Race Progress news from this year are on the Race website at