J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race: Hot shots ready to race

Friday, 18 June 2010


The last few entries before the closing deadline were always going to be an interesting bunch writes Peta Stuart-Hunt

Ben Ainslie, Shirley Robertson and Paul Goodison – all Olympic Gold medallists, all sailing stars and all in Cowes for the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race starting – and finishing – tomorrow, Saturday 19th June.

Ben, Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor of all time with three Gold medals to his name, is racing on board J.P. Morgan Asset Management Prince’s Trust, a Ker 46, with a group of young ambassadors from the Trust who have been through their ‘Get into Maritime’ programme and are now working in the industry. Shirley is skippering Team Volvo for Life 1 John Merricks, a TP52. Shirley won consecutive Gold medals in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. Paul Goodison is the relatively new kid on the block, and current Olympic, World, European and British Laser champion. Paul is on the VO60, Team Volvo for Life 2.

Jo Richards, the 1984 Olympic Bronze medallist, sailor and yacht designer, will be racing his own brand new boat, the recently completed Richards 20 named Moonshadow. Last Christmas, Cowes-based Jo drew the design of his new boat on the back of a card and it became his winter build project. Initially designed for sailing on the lakes of Europe Jo always had it in the back of his mind to compete in this year’s Round the Island Race on Moonshadow. As far as he is concerned to win this particular race you need to go ‘extreme’, either by racing a tiny boat such as his or something big and high tech, like ICAP Leopard.

Jo reckons that there’s no middle ground to securing the overall win. In his opinion victory lies in the lap of the gods when the forecast arrives. A windy race will see the big boats win, primarily because they get around fast enough to have a favoured tide from the Forts and if the winds are light, the smaller boats win on handicap. His crew on Race Day includes owner Stephen Fein and Peter Allam, Jo’s Olympic Flying Dutchman crew from 1984.

Jo and his little Moonshadow might just get left in the massive shadow cast by current monohull course record holder, Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard! Let’s see how it plays out tomorrow.

Jim Macgregor has entered his 2009 IRC 1 class-winner Premier Flair again. The Elan 40 is also a member of the GBR Red Team in this year’s Rolex Commodore’s Cup (15-21 August) taking place in Cowes. Three of his kids are on board, Nicky, Lucy and Kate.

A design called an Akilaria RC2 Class 40 is skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield. Concise 2 has been launched this year and is crewed entirely by young sailors, many of whom have sailed as part of the late Kit Hobday’s Bear of Britain campaign.

J/24 skipper Ian Southworth is racing the quarter tonner Whiskers (formerly known as ‘Snoopy’) owned by Ian and Led Pritchard.

Bill Blain is racing Batfish IV a J/97 30ft performance cruiser, and it’s her first RTI Race. Bill won the RORC’s Offshore Championship with ‘Batfish III’ in 2009.

Finally, the very last entry to be received and processed this year, number 1,754 was from John Caulcutt who is skippering the Swan 65, Desperado!

Race Press Conference officially launches Britain’s favourite yacht race
The Island Sailing Club hosted the 2010 Race Press Conference at midday today. The sun shone, the media arrived in their droves, along with some of the best-known racing teams in the world, charity representatives and celebrities from the world of sport and TV.

Introducing the proceedings, the assembled gathering heard from the Commodore of the Island Sailing Club, Bill Pimlott who welcomed everyone, explained that the very early start of 0500 was owing to tides and this year is exceptional. He went on to praise the 200 or so volunteers who give up their time to bring this amazing event to life. Bill also highlighted the family element of the race and that it is always a great day out for everyone involved. He concluded by thanking the title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management for their continued sponsorship support and huge involvement.

Following on from Bill, we were introduced to Roger Thompson, the new UK Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management who said that the partnership with the ISC and the Race worked extremely well and just gets better every year. He continued, “the introduction of tracking is an experiment this year but we hope it further enhances the event for everyone.”

On the charity fundraising front, Roger went on to say that the Race has raised £350,000 in the last three years and they hope to take this up to £500,000 this year and a £I million by 2012.

Sailing on Challenge Macmillan is Iwan Thomas, a former Olympic athlete who represented GB and Northern Ireland in the 400m and then represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games.

Mike Perham is sailing on Challenge Prostate UK. Mike was only 17 when he became the youngest person to sail round the world solo in a 50ft racing yacht over 164 days, completing his journey in August 2009.

The Charity Cup is presented each year for the most money raised for a charity during the Race. Last year it was the team at J.P. Morgan who raised the most for charity - £17,694.11 for the Ellen MacArthur Trust. In the last four years J.P. Morgan Bournemouth has raised nearly £50,000 for the Ellen MacArthur Trust. Daisy Skeplethon from the Ellen MacArthur Trust went up on stage with Andy Graham and Gary Hall from J.P. Morgan Bournemouth team for the presentation.
The four Extreme 40s were fully represented at the press conference with the skipper of last year’s line honours multihull winner Oman Sail Masirah, Loick Peyron on stage and telling the inimitable Richard Simmonds, the MC, that he wasn’t that interested in setting records, “we just want to win!” Meanwhile it was great to see Mike Golding and his team from Ecover and Nick Moloney who is at the helm of Team Metherell.

Finally Paul Campbell-James is skippering Oman The Wave, Muscat. At only 27 years old he already has two world championships and 17 national titles under his belt!

On the stage, alongside the sailing superstars was The Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry who is sailing with Ben Ainslie on the Prince’s Trust yacht. Then Scott Waddington was introduced. Who? You may well ask!  Well, Scott is the owner and skipper of the oldest boat in this year’s race, Nellie, an Itchen Ferry built in 1862. He talked lovingly about how he had inherited the boat from his father and has restored over the years to re-launch just last month. Despite Nellie's 148 years, she has never been sailed around the Island, making this year's Race a most auspicious occasion.

Turning to the weather…
The Raymarine meteorologist, Libby Greenhalgh, was asked some tough questions. What’s the weather going to be like for the Race? Oh, and by the way, what’s it like in South Africa for the England v Algeria game tonight?! Her official weather briefing is at 1800 at the ISC.

Thankfully Libby knows plenty about the conditions for the RTI Race. It’s going to be dry and warm and the stable weather looks set to continue with high pressure dominating. The early starters can expect 8-12 knots from the north and there could, potentially, be record-breaking conditions when the wind increases to 17 knots around the back of the Island during the morning. More on that front tomorrow.

Future boat building talent shines
The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race Model Boat Building Competition was fought out over three races this afternoon by two competing Isle of Wight High Schools with two Cowes High School students walking away with the big prize.

Alfred Jennings, 15 and 16-year old Dominic Gibbons won two out of the three races against the team from Christ the King College with their craft “Pro -2”.
Thanks to their win, Dominic and Alfred have won £75 worth of Henri Lloyd sailing clothing and Round the Island race goodies.

Dominic said, “We used the same design from last year but tried to make it lighter and modernise it a little and adjusted the centre of gravity. I have been doing this for around eight years in my spare time. I am really happy with the look and design of this boat.” Alfred Jennings, “The start was really important and that was the reason we won I think.”

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race Model Boat Building Competition is staged in association with Isle of Wight Young Chamber.

…and finally
Have a wonderful day tomorrow and don’t forget that the big screen is in Cowes Yacht Haven so no-one misses the football tonight!

Peta Stuart Hunt

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Last Updated ( Friday, 18 June 2010 )