Round the Island Race
Oman Sail Masirah takes line honours
Tattarat takes the Gold Roman Bowl
Sunday 21 June 2009 –
Off Bembridge everyone was on a spinnaker reach when the breeze suddenly went through a 180 degree turn and then dropped. From 80-footers down to Laser SB3s, crews were kept busy fending off other boats. Once into the eastern Solent most of the fleet had to cheat the tide and creep close into Ryde Sands. Then it was short tacking to the line. The ‘rush hour’ was between 1900 and 2000 when a close to a thousand boats were finishing.
The top prize Gold Roman Bowl is provisionally shown as one of the smaller and older designs. Tattarat is a 25 foot Nordic Folkboat built in 1978. Her skipper is Philip Williams, a director of Williams Shipping in Southampton who very kindly supplied one of their tugs as a committee boat. Tattarat completed the course in 10 hours and 46 minutes.
Philip said: "Our race was quite eventful. We touched on Ryde Sands and my 62 year old father jumped over the side to push us off! We started in a very light breeze and had a difficult beat to The Needles. Later in the eastern Solent it went light again. Basically we hugged the Island shore all the way round to get out of the tide. We were close in at The Needles, St Cat’s and Bembridge. It was a difficult, testing time but a good race."
Oman Sail Masirah has led the fleet back to Cowes in the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race as well as taking line honours in the Extreme 40 class. It was a nail-biting finish, with a provisional 29 seconds separating the Omani boat from Russell Coutts helming Team Aqua.
Pete Cumming, skipper of Oman Sail Masirah : "We were behind Team Aqua right up to Yarmouth but once round The Needles it was true champagne sailing. At St Catherine’s we out-gybed Team Aqua and extended our lead to 22 minutes at Bembridge. We thought we might be able to cruise back to Cowes but then the wind started to go light. Once in the Solent it was even lighter and it shut down completely. We could see Team Aqua and Team Origin (Ben Ainslie) trying to short tack out of the tide. We decided to stick in the middle. It was a case of holding your nerve and covering Team Aqua. It’s always good to have a close race but to go from a 22 minute lead down to a 29 second win, that’s really something."
The winning team comprised Olympic 49er silver medallist Chris Draper on helm, Pete Cumming trimmer with Mark Bulkeley, Olympic Tornado sailor on mainsheet. David "Freddie" Carr and Khamis al Anbouri shared the bow. Meanwhile, the leading monohulls were back in the eastern Solent.
ICAP Leopard (Mike Slade) led from Liara (Tony Todd) followed by Sebastien Josse and Ellen MacArthur on the Open 60 BT. These boats were hugging the mainland shore whilst the TP52s Cutting Edge and John Merricks II favoured the Island side and might just have the advantage on handicap.
Boat Captain Chris Sherlock : “There were nervous moments as we dropped to fifth place, only recovering our lead off Gilkicker Point, halfway into The Solent. Although this wasn’t the fastest race in history the crew worked really hard to get every last bit of power out of the boat and we are thrilled to have got line honours.”
Owner, Mike Slade : “Another year in the Round The Island Race and another cracking race. Obviously we would have preferred more breeze, to give us a chance of breaking our record Record #sailingrecord from last year; but we had a great time and that’s what counts. Every year it staggers me how many people get up at 4am on a Saturday morning in June to take part in this race; what a truly awesome spectacle!”
Press info www.roundtheisland.org.uk
View online : Photos Thierry Martinez / www.thmartinez.com
Also in this section
Deauville International Week : Souben wins the Farr 30 division in Deauville
International Rolex Regatta : Swiss win in St. Thomas
Farr 40 Class Australia : Transfusion is Hamilton Island Australian Championship