The annual Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island situated off the south coast of England. The race regularly attracts over 1,400 boats and around 15,000 sailors, making it one of the largests yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
Competitors come from all over the UK, other parts of Europe and as far away as the USA to follow the 50 nautical mile course round the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the fleet races westabout, to The Needles, round St Catherine's Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.
Spectators can find many vantage points, both on the mainland and Isle of Wight, to watch the race progress. The first start in Cowes for the 2017 race was at 5.30am, and you can find more information about where the boats typically are at different times during the day by clicking here. Those who cannot get to watch in person can always keep an eye on the race's progress on the website, via our live text commentary and our boat tracking facility.
The race is a great opportunity to watch world-renowned sailors racing against families and first time racers. Although the majority of the fleet will take many hours to complete the race, the course records stand at 3h 43m 50s for a monohull boat, set by Mike Slade on ICAP Leopard in 2013, and 2h 22m 23s for a multihull boat, set by Ned Collier Wakefield on Concise 10 in 2017.
Nearly 200 prizes are awarded for the event, with boats of every shape and size competing to win individual class and overall trophies.
Whether you compete regularly or are new to the sport, taking part in the Island Sailing Club's Round the Island Race is a day to remember, sailing in one of the world's largest sailing events in some of the best sailing waters!