Flavia Bateson reports: The prizegiving for the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race took place at Cowes home of the Island Sailing Club, organisers of the event since 1931, on Sunday 24th June 2007.Â The Solent was certainly a quieter scene than the previous day when a record 1,603 boats, varying in size from 100 down to 20 feet, made it round the course.
Opening the proceedings, Campbell Fleming from title sponsors JPMorgan Asset Management had some excellent news of another record.Â Over Â£80,000 had been raised for charity through the event, the main beneficiaries being Breast Cancer Care, MacMillan Cancer Support, Prostate Research Campaign UK and The Ellen MacArthur Trust.
Shirley Robertson presented the trophies, she had been racing aboard Team Volvo for life, a J/80 sportsboat, and amused the winners by admitting even double Olympic gold medallists can make mistakes.Â She said:
â€œThe race was supposed to be non-stop, but we did stop -Â going aground on Ryde Sands. Still, at least we managed to get off, unlike Nick who had to be towed. If any of you can tell me how to win this race, Iâ€™d really like to know!â€
Fellow Olympian Nick Rogers had also been competing in a J/80.
The top trophies went to south coast sailors. Mark Taylor from West Sussex won the Silver Gilt Roman Bowl, sailing Marbella a 50 year old SCOD design.Â He beat 674 yachts in the ISC Rating System Division.Â The Gold Roman Bowl went to Edward Donald from Winchester who topped the 590-strong IRC Division for regular racers in his Folkboat Madelaine.Â Thanking the Island Sailing Club and sponsors he said:
â€œThis race is unique and itâ€™s a great honour to win. Like the Grand National itâ€™s full of fences and hurdles. Iâ€™ve been the bridesmaid at the wedding, as runner up, in the past but my advice to all of you is to keep going. One day it will be your day. Iâ€™m proud to be receiving this trophy from Shirley, such an outstanding sailor, and wish her and all our sailing team every success in the next Olympics.â€
For the 150Â members of the Island Sailing Club race management team, race day had been a long one – up at 3am in readiness for the opening cannon to be fired by broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh at 5am.
First to finish was Dame Ellen MacArthur racing a new high-tech multihull Extreme 40 crossing the line just after 0818 hours, completing the course in 4 hours 6 minutes 3 seconds but, despite hitting 29 knots boat speed after The Needles, she was outside the current record set in 2001 by French skipper Francis Joyon of 3 hours 8 minutes 29 seconds.
Property developer Mike Slade racing his brand new Farr designed canting keel ICAP Leopard took line honours in the monohulls and was just 17 minutes 25 seconds off the record he set himself in 2001 of 4 hours 5 minutes 40 seconds. The Seacart 30 Buzz (Philip Cotton) was the fourth boat back and took the Golden Miller Challenge Cup as top GP/MOCRA multihull.
Jonny Malbon in Artemis Ocean Racing won the Lombard Trophy for the Open 60 class with Dee Caffariâ€™s Aviva second. Sir Robin-Knox Johnston sufferedÂ an injury to his arm and handed the helm of his Open 60 to Robin Aisher, Admiral of the Island Sailing Club. He was nonetheless in good humour commenting that it was better to have a mishap within sight of Cowes rather than in the Southern Ocean.
There were tales of courage and determination amongst the boats raising funds for charity.Â These included Robin Wood, as the skipper of Noumanon and suffering from cancer himself, he was determined to complete the race which he did in just over nine hours.Â After the finish he declared he was not at all exhausted but happily sipping whisky.
Ten brave children, who have battled with cancer, were racing to help the Ellen MacArthur Trust, Ellen was full of praise for these determined youngsters and said:
â€œWhen you see how happy they are on the boat, so passionate about life and so full of life, you canâ€™t help but be amazed. Itâ€™s inspirational.â€
Dan Monk is in remission from leukaemia. He was crewing for Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year Katie Miller on Elektra. The pair had encountered gear failure during the race but had improvised and were not going to give up their charity attempt. They were the last boat to finish after nearly 13 hours out on the water but in doing so also helped the Trust.
Most of all perhaps, the race is a family occasion. One competitor commented:
â€œItâ€™s as good as Christmas for a get together, only less shopping.â€
Yacht designer David Thomas was enjoying his 75th birthday aboard one of his own creations, the quarter tonner Sgt Pepper, he was with his sons and grandson.Â Bella Fellows only 7, finished her first race round the island with her grandfather, former ISC Commodore John Dudley on Pinball Wizard, which came third in class. Bella was â€œpleased as punchâ€ to be given her pewter tankard to show she had successfully completed the challenge.
Peter Dickson, Commodore of the Island Sailing Club said: â€œNext yearâ€™s race is on Saturday 28th June 2008 and we look forward to welcoming everyone back for another great JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.â€
Review Courtesy: Flavia Bateson
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