Round the Island Race 2012

Round the Island Race 2012

3rd July, 2012

Strong winds hamper small boats The atmosphere in the sunny town of Cowes today was mainly one of relief and immense pleasure after competitors enjoyed a challenging, lively and memorable day of racing. The 81st Round the Island Race, the biggest yacht race in the world, attracted an entry of 1,647 boats across 25 classes. Of these, 1,198 crossed the finish line within the 10pm deadline; 247 retired, giving a 73% finish rate.

The Race set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, started by Olympic 470 sailor Hannah Mills, with the boats heading in a westerly direction for the 50 nautical mile circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight. The wind conditions were as forecast with most of the fleets starting in a moderate south-westerly breeze. However, the forecast was set for the wind to increase, with the predicted conditions having already put paid to racing for some of the smaller classes as organisers were forced to pull more than 70 competitors out of the race. The RNLI had to rescue a crew after their small multihull capsized on the north west of the island and a safety call made for all competitors to wear lifejackets. The fleet battled the strong winds round the south of the island and as the day progressed there were a number of retirements.

Eleven Southerlys entered this year's race, including the new Southerly 47, Volaré . The Southerly 42RST, skippered by Mark Lamble once again raced for the Dame Ellen MacArthur Trust, a charity which takes young people sailing to help them regain confidence on their way to recovery from cancer and leukaemia. For more information on the work of the trust, please visit

Southerly entries: VOLARÉ Southerly 47 Skipper: Rupert Dorey ELLEN MACARTHUR CANCER TRUST 2 Southerly 42RST Skipper: Mark Lamble DANDOM Southerly 42RST Skipper: Chris Parker BROWN SUGAR Southerly 115 Skipper: Julian Brownlow Davies GREHAN Southerly 115 Skipper: Peter Taylor SHOWTIME Southerly 115 Skipper: John Ballinger TWO TRIBES Southerly 110 Skippers: Dom McKay and Trevor Didcock WIND ROSE Southerly 110 Skipper: Chris Elphick BONAIRE Southerly 28 Skipper: Andrew Lumb SUMMERTIME Southerly 110 Skipper: Geoff Gray

Wind Rose Southerly 110, wins 2nd place in Class. "This was to be our second time around the Isle of Wight in the annual Round the Island Race in our Southerly 110 Wind Rose. The race is one of the largest yacht races in the world and it certainly seemed it at the start line with 222 boats starting with us and 1309 already racing ahead. Race tactics had already been decided with our crew, daughter Rosie and old family friend Charlie, after much debate in the bar - overtake as many boats as possible!

Conditions suited the Southerly yachts with a blustery F5-6 southwest wind which persisted throughout the day and we set off on the beat down to the Needles in fine style. Wind Rose seemed more close-winded than many of the yachts which proved useful in being able to edge across the bows of boats close astern before tacking. Rounding the Needles we had a broad reach to St. Catherine's Point and gained a little by keeping inshore to avoid the tide which was against us. The tide then turned in our favour and beyond Dunnose head we had a dead run to Bembridge ledge. For this leg we sailed goose winged with the small self tacking jib poled out and pulling well. There still seemed a lot of yachts in front of us! Close hauled to Ryde Sand there was no need to risk getting too close into the shallows despite our shallow draft. On the beat back to Cowes we could not help smiling at the few boats aground on the sands as we sailed past with long tacks to the west and short tacks to the south, keeping fairly well into Osborne bay.

We finished on a nicely placed tack just crossing the bows of the committee boat and feeling smug at the two yachts in front of us who had to put in an extra tack. We were worried that we could see no other boats flying the purple flag of our class but these worries were dismissed later that evening when we found we were only the third of the purple flagged yachts to cross the line, finishing 2nd in our group and 26th out of 822 yachts taking part under Island Sailing Club Rating System on corrected time.

We had a great day's sailing despite initial worries about the conditions. Our delight in owning our Southerly and our faith in her continues!"

Chris and Sarah Elphick, Wind Rose.