Record entries for Round the Island Race

One of Britain’s biggest competitor events is promising a buffeting for an estimated 15,000 people tomorrow.

A record 1,908 yachts will start streaming across the start line at Cowes on the Isle of Wight at 06.00 for a 50-mile circuit of the Isle of Wight on is 80th anniversary.

On the menu for the 14-syllable J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is a forecast 25-knot south-westerly wind, which will mean a hard opening beat down to the Needles at the west end of the island and then a nerve-wrangling sleigh ride along the southern side of the island.

Weekend warriors to Olympic medallists – five golds and a bronze – will race against each other along with a clutch of celebrity guests finding out if they have sea legs or sea-sickness.

Two yachts are at opposite ends of the scale. Sir Keith Mills takes a day off Olympic Games management duties to race his much modified TP52 Origin with two of those gold medallists, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson. Sir Francis Chichester’s Gypsy Moth IV, which he sailed round the world in 1966-67 will be crewed by a team from the UK Sailing Academy.

As the race coincides with Armed Forces Day, round the world sailor Dee Caffari has invited a crew of injured servicemen from the Toe in the Water rehab scheme to crew the 60-foot Artemis.

The emergency services will also be on full alert in conditions that can cause damage not only to equipment but people.

The wind strength may be good, but the direction will be more difficult for record-breaking with the monohull record of 3hr 53min 05sec set by Mike Slade’s 100-foot Leopard in 2008 unlikely to be beaten.

Attacking the multihull record of 3hr 08min 29sec, set by Francis Joyon in 2001 should also be difficult for fellow-Frenchman Lionel Lemonchois to snatch in the 50-foot trimaran Prince de Bretagne.