Ben Ainslie among those competing in the Round the Island Race

Nearly 1,500 yachts have entered the race around the Isle of Wight

Sunshine and a fast race track are being promised for the nearly 1,500 yachts entered for Saturday’s J. P. Morgan Round the Island (of Wight) Race, including the sponsor’s favourite son, Ben Ainslie.

The recently knighted quadruple gold plus silver Olympic medallist has brought his Ben Ainslie Racing AC45, the 45-foot version of the 72-foot America’s Cup wing-powered catamaran, to Cowes but needed to keep a very careful eye on the weather.

Too much wind would have made any attempt at the race and the multihull record of 3hrs 8mins 29secs too risky for him and his crew New Zealander Andrew McLean, America’s Cup veteran Matt Cornwell, and fellow Finn singlehanders Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews. Defending Extreme Series champion Mark Bulkeley, nursing broken bones in his right hand, coaches,

They were all due to attend the memorial service on Friday for Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, himself a former Finn sailor, a double medallist in the Star with Iain Percy, and killed while training on an AC72 recently on San Francisco Bay.

The forecast of 10 to 15 knots from the north-west and north should speed the fleet down the Solent as it begins its 50-mile anti-clockwise course around the island and it could even be sunny as the day progresses. But the first starters at 05.00 will need protection against the chill. Ainslie and co., due to start at 05.10, will be back for breakfast.

Not quite so quick but hoping to set a personal best is Alex Thomson, third this year in the Vendée Globe round the world singlehander. His Open 60 Hugo Boss has been through a complete refit, tweaked to inshore racing mode, and is going on to contest the Rolex Fastnet in August, doublehanded with Guillermo Altadil.

Having Jenson Button on board was looking increasingly unlikely but, then, when Lewis Hamilton was on board for the 2008 race there was a start-line shunt. What was in his sights was a personal best. The ATR works team had a first objective of beating his time of 4hr 20min set in 2004.

“I’m looking forward to racing with so many thousands of other people, but you have to keep your wits about you,” said Thomson. “Stay out of trouble has been my mission for the last few years, but this is the London Marathon of sailing and we will enjoy that.” 

Largest, and the current monohull record holder, is Mike Slade’s 100-foot Leopard and attracting special interest is the 30-foot Collective Spirit, made from contributions of wood from over 1,200 people, including a sliver from a Jimi Hendrix guitar.

Also conceived as a work of art for the 2012 Olympics, the man who built her, Mark Covell also hopes that the RTI will signal a busy future afloat. “It will be the start of her life as a charter boat, giving people the chance to enjoy the exciting experience of sailing her at the same time as appreciating her as a working piece of art.”

Covell will not be back for breakfast, and there will be many who will still be finishing their race well after lunch.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform