Sailing fans should prepare themselves for one of the biggest boating and yachting events of the year: the Round the Island Race. The one day yacht race around the Isle of Wight begins at Cowes, and sees competitors racing around the Solent in a fun day out for all boating fanatics. More than 1,700 boats are expected to participate in 2013’s race with around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the world’s biggest sailing events.
Sailors from all around the world head to the Solent to take part in the 50 nautical mile course, and it’s a great day for anyone with even a passing interest in yachts. The course will take several hours to complete, and fortunately for visitors, there are lots of vantage points set up around the island so you can catch a glimpse of the action. Prizes are awarded to 60 of the competitors, and the prize-giving ceremony is always popular.
You don’t have to be a professional to enter the Round the Island Race. Everyone from seasoned professionals to first-time racers take to the waters and take advantage of the excellent racing conditions around the Isle of Wight to participate in one of the UK’s biggest regular sporting events. This means that whether you own several yachts of your own and race regularly or are only used to chartering yachts for leisure, you are more than welcome to sign up and join in.
It’s an early start for the sailors and the dedicated spectators, with boats set to leave Cowes at 5am. The speediest yachts will make it back within a few hours, while others may not arrive until mid-evening, meaning that whatever time you turn up there will be something to see. Cowes itself tends to have the best atmosphere as visitors wait for the boats to return and complete the race, but there are lots of points at which you can get a fantastic view of the race.
If you want something to break up watching the race for a little while, there is lots of entertainment put on throughout the day to keep people entertained, and children will love learning about all the boats from the experts. Pick up a bite to eat on the coast to enjoy great views over the Solent and relax with a cold drink as the boats make their way past. Even if you’re not the biggest yachting fan, everyone finds themselves swept away by the majesty of the hundreds upon hundreds of boats vying for victory around the Isle of Wight, and it’s an enjoyable day for everyone.
About the author: Candice Hansen is a keen sailing enthusiast and never misses the annual Round the Island Race which is a highlight of the sailing season.