The Island Sailing Club (ISC) in Cowes, organisers of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Race, together with around 16,000 sailors, are galvanised to enjoy another amazing RTI Race day on Saturday 21st June. An army of behind-the-scenes volunteers combines with a first-class and well-practiced race management team at the ISC to host and run the largest yacht race of its kind in the world.
Stories abound of the phenomenal racing prowess of the professionals - the Olympians and World Champions - but there also fascinating and endearing stories from amateur sailors from all over the UK, and from beyond our shores, brought into our homes via the live tace blog and social media feeds.
Could Sir Ben Ainslie be the first yachtsman to hold both the multi & monohull RTI course records?
The ISC is delighted that the four time Olympic gold medallist and America's Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie is returning to participate in this year's J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.
Sir Ben will join Mike Slade and his crew on board the current monohull Race record holder, Leopard (GBR1R). Sir Ben will co-helm Leopard with Mike and this is a fantastic opportunity for Ben to potentially claim both multi and monohull race records after breaking last year's multihull record on the J.P. Morgan BAR AC45 catamaran.
"The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is an event that the whole UK sailing community looks forward to each year. What makes the Race special is the 'Race for all' ethos in that no matter how big or small your boat, everyone is racing on level terms," Ainslie said. "Last year's Race was particularly special for me, we [Ben Ainslie Racing] broke the multihull record in honour of our great friend Andrew Simpson and this year we have been invited to sail with Mike Slade on his Maxi Yacht, Leopard.
"It's a fantastic boat and one that I have wanted to compete in the race on for many years. I look forward to seeing the thousands of competitors on the start line come June 21st and wish everyone a great 2014 Race."
Mike Slade said, "We have been competing in the race for over twenty years and each year offers different and intriguing challenges. In that time we have managed to break the race monohull record on five occasions, including last year's near-perfect race conditions that allowed us to shave 10 minutes off our previous record in an elapsed time of 3 hours 43 minutes and 50 seconds.
"What makes the race so special are the thousands of sailors that compete. It is a wonderful sight to see over 1,600 boats all competing hard to achieve their best time. This year I was delighted to invite Sir Ben to co-helm Leopard. We have sailed together previously and that proved memorable and I'm hoping for another notable sail. Ben is one of the true greats of British sailing and Leopard and her crew are looking forward to welcoming him on-board."
Hoping to break Sir Ben's Multihull record is the recently announced GC32 Team Richard Mille (GBR1). The talented multihull sailors who hope to break this record are led by the helm Paul Campbell James, member of the AC34 Luna Rossa Challenge and past winner of the Extreme Sailing Series. He will be joined by fellow AC34 Luna Rossa team mate, Nick Hutton; previous winning skipper of the Extreme Sailing Series, Pete Cumming, and GC32 expert Adam Piggott.
Meanwhile the 75 year-old and apparently unstoppable veteran sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, is racing his Open 60 Grey Power (GBR749R). This is the man who will compete solo in the infamous transatlantic Route de Rhum in November this year, 45 years after becoming the first man to sail alone non-stop around the world.
At the other end of the scale, 23 year-old Lizzie Foreman from Surrey, is racing her Mini 6.50 Hudson Wight (633), the boat she is campaigning for next year's gruelling Mini Transat. Lizzy, who usually sails solo and offshore, will be three up and inshore for the RTI.
The Island Sailing Club is grateful for the continued support of the race Title Sponsor, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and the Race Partners for 2014: Dream Yacht Charter, Haven Knox-Johnston, Henri Lloyd, Nautica Watches, Old Pulteney, Raymarine, Red Funnel, Volvo Car UK.
Official Race website: http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk