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The competitors clearly love this race! Photo: Paul Wyeth/

The countdown commences & race partners are finalised

Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt   Date: 08:00 Tuesday 13 Jun 2017

The Round the Island Race in association with Cloudy Bay, takes place on Saturday July 1st.  As organisers at the Island Sailing Club (ISC) in Cowes count down the days, the Rear Commodore Sailing and head of Race Management Dave Atkinson, is hoping for a late surge in entry numbers to record a final number on par with last year at around the 1,500 mark. Entries currently stand at 1130.

Standard entries close this Saturday, 17th June at 2359 and late entries at midday on June 28th. If you haven’t already done so, you can enter here from your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone:

Meanwhile, we asked Dave Atkinson:

What is it about this race that highlights it as an annual must-do for so many?

"The Round the Island race is one of the iconic sailing events in the annual calendar attracting a broad range of sailing abilities and personalities. There are a large number of prizes and, in addition, there are always groups of friends competing against each other in friendly competition and always a carnival atmosphere but with a serious side to things."

What's the appeal for people who don't usually race?

"It's a chance to sail in company outside of the Solent in friendly competition. The Island Sailing Club has its own handicap system (ISCRS), which is a free system to entrants, which allows those who don't normally race to be rated to take part."

What's the main challenge in organising such a large event?

"The biggest concern is always the safety of our competitors; everything we do is gauged against the safety factors of the race. Obviously with upwards of 1,500 boats and circa 12,000 competitors on the water it somewhat focuses the mind on the day. It takes a team of nearly 200 volunteers to run the race with a large number on the water so they equally need to be thought of and considered in the mix. Every year we face different challenges but, given the experience of those running the day and the support we have from the authorities, we aim to deliver an enjoyable day for all those taking part."

The MS Amlin Seamanship Award

The Seamanship Award has been associated with the Race for many years, recognising and paying tribute to acts of good seamanship on race day and in fact associated with the Race ashore or afloat; basically for an outstanding action made by someone connected to the Race. MS Amlin continues its sponsorship of the Seamanship Award for a second year and wants to highlight the importance of putting forward nominations this year. Nominations should be sent to the Island Sailing Club and the MS Amlin Seamanship Award will be presented on their stand at the Southampton Boat Show in September.

As is the norm with this iconic and much loved yacht race, there is a fabulous array of competitors spanning the generations, representing all levels of ability and racing on a huge variety of yachts. The flurry on the start line with its 11 separate starts, will include the MOD 70 Concise 10 with Ned Collier Wakefield on the helm and a number of the highly competitive Fast 40+ fleet (also sponsored by Cloudy Bay) including Invictus owned by Sir Keith Mills and helmed by Sir Keith and his son Alex. Sir Keith’s long-term skipper Rob Greenhalgh sails as tactician & crew boss and their boat currently tops the Class overall results table. Peter Morton’s Girls on Film is also racing with Jules Salter and Jason Carrington on board amongst others. Morty has won the top prize, the Gold Roman Bowl, on three occasions and is the current holder of the One Ton Cup.

Great brands back Britain's Favourite Yacht Race

Joining Cloudy Bay as Presenting Sponsor, the Island Sailing Club has also signed up Helly Hansen as Official Clothing Partner, MS Amlin as Marine Insurance Partner, Raymarine as Technical Partner and Chelsea Magazines, publishers of Yachts & Yachting, Sailing Today and Classic Boat, as the Race Media Partner who are back for a second year. The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust also returns this year as the Official Race Charity.

HH Race Collection

As the Official Clothing Supplier, Helly Hansen has produced an exclusive Round the Island merchandise collection that can be ordered via this link or purchased through their stand in the Race Village.

Raymarine Weather Briefing

Raymarine returns to present the all-important Weather Briefing at the Island SC at 1800hrs on Friday 30th June. The Race meteorologist this year is Simon Rowell, weather guru to the British Sailing Team. Simon will present the Raymarine Weather Briefing using Theyr high precision weather and ocean forecasting software.

The information will be delivered via Raymarine's global weather forecasting app, which is powered by the company’s Lighthouse operating system. In addition to the weather, tide and sea state, Simon will also give a course overview, exclusion zones and anticipated race conditions at key areas of concern.

The Race will be using its popular Twitter @roundtheisland feed as a quick and succinct method for reporting on the starts and early finishers this year and the feed will sit alongside RTI TV, the Tracking and the Blog on the home page of the website. Competitors, spectators and virtual fans should tag @roundtheisland and use the hashtag #raceforall & #comesailaway if you’re posting on social media platforms.