The Round the Island Race, really is a Race for All!

991 views  |   February 14th, 2022 


If this is your first time in the Round the Island Race, joining a First Class Sailing Challenger Yacht crew may be the perfect introduction.


With an experienced skipper and mixed ability crew, the experience will be very hands on with plenty of team work is needed. The training weekend on the 11/12th June is a great opportunity to meet your skipper and crew and get plenty of practice in for the 50 mile circumnavigation of The Isle of Wight.

Sarah, joined the Round the Island as a complete novice, and said she wasn’t really aware of the scale of her undertaking! She enjoyed her adventure so much she has since completed her competent crew and day skipper with First Class Sailing.

“It was a great experience – even for a novice, I really felt part of the action. The boyfriend that signed me up for the Round the Island Race didn’t last, but my love of sailing has blossomed!

The Race

It’s understandable that many first-timers are nervous at the sheer magnitude of the event. The thought of 1600 boats racing 50 miles around the Isle of Wight can feel pretty overwhelming! Whilst this may be your first time, 2022 will be the 91st Round the Island Race, so they’ve got the organisation down to pat.

Every boat is allocated a class and each class starts 10 minutes apart, so whilst that’s still a lot of boats, it reduces the bottlenecks. Each vessel is given a handicap that takes into account your boat size. The Round the Island Race is a great leveller, and often it is not the biggest or fastest boat that wins. Whilst we can’t promise you a winning position, we can promise you a thrilling time in this exciting race.

The Boats

For the Round the Island 2022 First Class Sailing will be entering two Challenger Yachts. Costs will include race entry fees, food on board, the training day on the 11/12 June, accommodation on board on the Friday and Saturday nights 24/25 June, loan of waterproofs, safety equipment, mooring fees, fuel and gas. The training weekend on the 11/12th of June is a great opportunity to meet your skipper and crew and get some practice in. Your skipper will allocate you a job for the race, which may change in a fast-paced, racing environment. Your experience will be very hands-on.

Racing is exciting, although the quickest route can also be the most crowded.  A few basic sailing rules in sailing are so important in busy areas – shouts of ‘starboard’ mean that a sailboat on a starboard tack (ie the wind is coming from the boats starboard side) has ‘right of way’ over a boat sailing on a port tack (wind coming from the port side). At close quarters a yacht with rights might shout ‘starboard!’’ to warn a yacht of their imminent collision. The port tack vessel gives way, by tacking off or dipping behind the stern of the starboard tack vessel if needed. It’s important to keep your eyes peeled, be vigilant, and be ready to respond.

The skipper may decide going wider is wiser at certain pinch points! Or stick close to land depending on tidal or weather demands. You can be in the thick of it whilst knowing that you’re in an experienced safe pair of hands. The shout of ‘water!’  may be less familiar. This is a racing term that warns other boats that their vessel is approaching an obstacle and needs room to manoeuvre.  But don’t worry, everything you’ll need to know is covered in our training days, and the skipper will manage any challenges that arise.


There’s a reason is called #raceforall, the different sizes of vessels, the experience of crews, and the handicap system. This means that it’s often the rank outsider that wins.  Your friends and family can also feel part of the action by following you live via GPS via @Roundtheisland on Twitter or their other social media channels. Get Links Here  They could even join the entourage that follows the race on land around the Island.

A Few Tips

A few tips from our previous crews include keeping your eyes peeled.  Try to enjoy yourself. and…  booking somewhere to eat on the Saturday night! Cowes is always busy in the Summer but clearly, this is off the scale. If you do decide you want to then ensure it isn’t too time-critical on an early finish! Save the celebrations for the finish line and forgo that Friday night on the town, to have a clear head for an early start.

The Round the Island is as iconic of British Summer as Wimbledon strawberries, Glastonbury wellies or the Cambridge/Oxford Boat Race. As inclusive as the London Marathon, and just as oversubscribed,  so you’ll need to get signed up to our crew early to ensure your bunk. Find out more and book here.

Posted by: First Class Sailing


Post a Comment