The RaceLatest news

Race News & Shirley Robertson Story

Author: Jo Bowden   Date: 18:00 Thursday 7 Mar 2024

With better weather in the Solent last weekend it felt like Spring was on the way and we're a step closer to fun times on the water, including the 87th edition of Round the Island Race on Saturday 15th June.

For all of you that are members of a sailing club why not get together with your friends and form a Club Team? You just need three boats to form a team and you can win one of these trophies (each Club can enter more than one team). More info here.

  • The Methuselah Trophy awarded for the Overall IRC Team
  • The Jeroboam Trophy awarded for the 2nd Overall IRC Team
  • The Arun Yacht Club Team Challenge Trophy awarded for the Overall ISCRS Team
  • The Jeroboam Trophy awarded for the 2nd Overall ISCRS Team

Remember to enter soon to take advantage of the great Early Bird Entry Deals. All past competitors should have received an email with a link to a pre-filled entry form. If you did not receive this email, please contact the team at or call the office on +44 1983 296 621.

If your boat does not have a current IRC rating certificate then we offer a FREE rating system (ISCRS) for competitors who would like to take part in Round the Island Race or other Island Sailing Club events. More info here.

Shirley Robertson - My Round the Island Race Story

We talked to Shirley Robertson OBE, Double Olympic Sailing Gold Medallist and an Honorary member of the Island Sailing Club since 2000, about her Round the Island Race experiences.

RIR: How many Round the Island Races (RIR) have you done?

SR: Quite a lot, maybe 15! I've raced on a real range of boats from an Extreme 40 to a Beneteau First Class 8.

RIR: Which are your favourite race moments?

SR: The first is always the most memorable - racing with my women's match racing team (including Sam Davies) it felt like a real adventure, we laughed a lot and we were hugely relieved when we finished and hadn't run aground anywhere.

Also, racing the Extreme 40 around the Island in 2008 was fairly extreme. Going round The Needles into a bank of fog and a confused sea was pretty on the edge and if it hadn't been for Peter Morton we would be have quite likely have sailed up Compton Beach.

[Take a look at onboard footage of Shirley and the crew of JP Morgan Extreme 40 in 2008 here. Their Elapsed Finish time was 3hrs 27mins 31secs.]

I've also done it double-handed which is quite a handful, there's a lot of traffic to negotiate. When I sailed with Ben Ainslie we shredded quite a few spinnakers if I remember correctly!

RIR: What's your favourite stretch of the racecourse?

SR: I like racing down the backside of the Island, it's wavier and we don't race there that often - it's also stunningly gorgeous. The Island looks so good from the sea.

RIR: Have you ever been challenged during the race?

SR: Yes, many times, nearly capsized in the Extreme 40.

RIR: What would be your perfect next RIR experience?

SR: I'd go for a Sunfast 3300 and be joined by a group of friends and my 17-year-old son. The day would include a good picnic with plenty of sausage rolls and chocolate, and an exciting SW breeze so we could kite all the way down the back of the Island. Then a beer in Cowes once it's all over.

RIR: What do think it is about the RIR that makes it special?

SR: The race is long enough that it's an adventure… it's not easy, it's never the same. There is always a great sense of achievement when you're done.

RIR: What would you say to someone who has never entered the race before?

SR: Do It!!! It's unforgettable. Make sure there is someone onboard who knows what they are doing. Make sure everyone gets involved, sailing is so much more fun if you're working hard not just sitting there

RIR: What's your top tip for newcomers?

SR: I've got a few. Be prepared, know what's coming next, break the race into segments and work out what's important. If you've time have a practice. It gets choppy past The Needles so remember to take seasickness precautions. Make sure you've got the right kit - it could be hot, wet, cold, windy. And it's a long day so prepare for that.

Make sure you're rested and hydrated, no big night on Friday!

RIR: What do you think about how the race is run?

SR: I think the Island Sailing Club do a great job, there's a lot of boats to organise and look after, and many are first timers, but you always get the sense that safety is paramount.

I'm really pleased that the RNLI is the Race Charity this year. I fully appreciate how very lucky we are to have the RNLI organisation, it's time to recognise their contribution and celebrate their presence in the race.

RIR: Thank you Shirley for your time.

Have you entered and would you like to feature in our series of 'My Round the Island Race Story'? Get in touch with Jo Bowden -

Congratulations RNLI for your 200th Birthday

On Monday 4th March our Race Charity celebrated their amazing milestone of 200 years of saving lives at sea. A big thank you for all your donations to our Round the Island Race Campaign to date, we've raised over £1,400 which will go towards the training costs of the volunteer crews at the seven stations supporting the race. For more info and to donate follow this link here.