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Round the Island Race- a fantastic British spectacle!

Author: Jo Bowden   Date: 10:18 Friday 28 Apr 2023

The excitement is building with just over two months to go until the start of the 2023 Round the Island Race on Saturday 1st July. It's a great chance to test your sailing skills against some of the best sailors in the country, to experience the stunning scenery of the Isle of Wight coastline, and create unforgettable memories with your family and friends.


Entries in the highly competitive Cape 31 class are expected to hit double figures for the second year in a row, as the class continues to build momentum in the UK.

James Howells is looking forward to racing on his Cape 31 Gelert, on which he last year stormed a class win with an elapsed time of 5h, 50m, 46s, giving him an impressive fourth in both IRC0 and in IRC overall.

Having sailed in the region of 20 Round the Island Races, James is no strange to the event, which he says is a "fantastic British spectacle", likening it to "a yachting version of the Grand National".

"There's nothing more fun than Round the Island Race," James says. "I did my first RIR when I was 14 on my father's cruiser-racer, and I have always been a big fan of the race since then. As well as being a competitive event, it's also a brilliant family event. This year, my 12-year-old son will be part of our crew, which we're very excited about. Your first Round the Island Race is something you remember for a very long time - I certainly remember mine!"

"The Cape 31s are quite physical," explains James. "Last year down the back of the island with the spinnaker up it was a real physical challenge! We were hitting 18 knots and surfing down waves off St Catherine's Point... It's a fantastic boat for this race."

Read the full article in Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting and other competitor stories, including Al Wood (Dragonfly 25 Sport Trimaran, Dragonfly) and first-timer Martin Gifford (Bavaria Match 42, Sabriel).


Our Official Race Charity is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, having been launched by Dame Ellen MacArthur in July 2003. Five young people went sailing that first summer with the Trust and now almost 2,900 young people have been part of their transformational sailing adventures.

Since becoming the Race charity in 2005, over £300,000 has been raised for the Trust, enabling the charity to support hundreds of young people post-treatment. No fewer than 24 young people will once again be taking part in the Race across four boats this year.

To mark this special occasion, the Trust would like to encourage competitors and friends of the race to make a positive difference in young people's lives this summer by joining the charity's #200for20 Birthday Challenge, which is launching on the day of the Race.

The Trust is doing a shout-out to competitors and boat crews to get involved and take part in the challenge by setting a goal of raising £200 or £20 in the lead-up to this year's race. Head to the JustGiving page for all the info and to donate.

Alternatively, you can text RACEFORALL to 70460 to donate £20. Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you'll be opting into hearing more from the Trust. (If you would like to donate but don't wish to hear more, please text RACEFORALLNOINFO instead.)

One of the young people you would be helping by taking on the #200for20 Birthday Challenge is Sonal, who was first supported by the Trust in 2021 after treatment for refractory Hodgkin lymphoma, which she was diagnosed with five years ago. She returned for a four-day sailing trip from East Cowes in 2022, and will sail as part of the Trust's crew for the Race this summer.

Reflecting on her time with the Trust, she said: "I was diagnosed just after I finished uni and went through three years of treatment. Then COVID came on the back of that. So it feels like life pushed pause on getting a job, starting a career, moving away. They're all things everyone else my age has been doing.

"I feel less alone at the Trust, it's easy to forget you're not the only one experiencing this. Meeting people who have been in the same boat as you is great. So is being in a situation where you're a little out of your comfort zone and being challenged like this, because it shows me that I can still do things. It gives you some confidence again."

Frank Fletcher, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust CEO, said: "This year we launched our Ambitions 2023-25, with the aim of being accessible and inclusive to all young people who have a cancer diagnosis in the UK and ensuring every young person experiences belonging and improved mental wellbeing with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

"What we achieve in the next three years will lay the foundations for the next 20. Thank you to the sailors who will help us achieve this by taking part in this year's race."

Check out the Trust's JustGiving page for the Round the Island Race #200for20 challenge here. Head to for ideas on how to fundraise and more information about the charity.


B&G, the Race Marine Electronics Partner, is excited to invite competitors to get 'Race Day Ready' with their fortnightly blog series which will launch in mid-May. The blog series will share hints and tips on how best to prepare for the Race, such as planning with the B&G App, looking at the tides and viewing exclusion zones.

B&G are also thrilled to announce two webinars to be hosted in June; the first will cover the basics such as preparation and how to ensure you have a great day on the water and the second a deeper dive into how to get the most out of your electronics. We will share more information and details soon on the event website and social media.


It's simple to enter, and if you've entered before, you can use our pre-filled entry form containing all your details to save you time. Contact the Race Team on if you haven't received your pre-filled form by email yet.

No IRC Rating Certificate? We offer a free rating system called the Island Sailing Club Rating System (ISCRS) for competitors who would like to take part in this race. This is an extremely popular way for boats and crews which may only choose to do one race a year to compete, and there are over 340 entries to date for the 2023 race using this rating method. More details here.

For race information, the 2023 Notice of Race and to enter, go to the event website For all the latest news follow us on social media - @roundtheisland and #RoundTheIsland #RaceForAll.