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.

 

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?