The annual J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight. The race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
The original idea for the Island Sailing Club's (ISC) Round the Island Race came from member Major Cyril Windeler. In 1930 he suggested a handicap race around the Isle of Wight which could cater for smaller boats – those in the category 5 to 25 tons. It is thought that this may have been in response to the Royal Yacht Squadron, who had stated that their members must own a yacht of minimum 30 tons!
The first race took place in 1931 with 25 entries, and it was indeed one of the smaller boats which won. The rest, as they say, is history, and from that day to this, the Round the Island Race has continued to grow in popularity and numbers. The only time the event has been stopped was during WWII when there was a ban introduced on private leisure sailing, but it was back with a vengeance in 1946 and the entry numbers steadily increased, from 105 in 1950, to 1,309 in the mid 1980s.. In 2011 the race celebrated its 80th anniversary which saw well in excess of 1,800 entries, while this Saturday 1st June there are already 1,459 entries waiting to take part in this celebrated piece of our sporting heritage and history. Also interesting to note, that of these 1,459 boats, an incredible 168 are Beneteaus That’s 1 in every 8, or 11.5% !
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