Round the Island Race on the Summer Calendar for Raymarine team

Round the Island Race on the Summer Calendar for Raymarine team

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Round The Island Race 2017 | Raymarine by FLIR

Image credit: Copyright Patrick Eden

With an appreciation for all things sailing, several members of the UK team of Raymarine are entering their own boats into the 2017 Round the Island Race in association with Cloudy Bay, 1st July 2017.

If you are entering, or still deciding, we caught up with some of our colleagues to gain insight from their own experiences, to give you all the know-how from the people who enter and why it has become such a wonderful event for them. We also get the low-down from first-time entrant, Peter Ingram.

When asked; if someone is tempted to enter, but has not yet competed in the Round the Island Race, what reasons would you give to enter their first RTIR, the team certainly inspired us.

Richard Jales: “It is an excellent challenge, but one which is not too daunting. The view of so many boats rounding the Needles when it is a warm sunny day with a nice breeze is fantastic to be a part of.”

Philippe Aston: “I had to convince my dad to join me this year. I could tell he wanted to, but was a bit nervous. I explained it’s a massive spectacle with usually 1500+ boats and should be on any sailing ‘bucket list’. He reasoned it can’t be a gale 2 years in a row….can it? It’s what you make it but always fun and eventful. Also means I’m eligible for the family trophy now.”

Derek Gilbert: “Great atmosphere and camaraderie between competitors, lots of friendly support from other sailors, no discrimination regardless of ability or boat size, and immense sense of achievement at the finish, great experience to boot!”

Peter Ingram: “This is my first RTI. I’m entering as I hope it will be the amazing experience on the water I expect it to be. I’m hoping the reason will be because it just one amazing experience on the water as I expect."

Some helpful pointers were offered when asked; do you have any advice, hints or tips for anyone racing this year?

Will Sayer: “With so many boats on the water a collision is probably your highest risk, particularly if it’s a beat towards the needles. Nominate someone to look out for other boats and whether you are on Port or Starboard tack. There are sailors with all levels of experience and some will respond quickly while others will be slower and need more notice.”

Philippe Aston: “Find space on the start line, don’t get blocked in. Avoid anyone who looks out of control. Be vigilant on Port tack and paranoid on Starboard tack. Don’t be too proud to be cautious round the Varvassi. Be tactical with the tides.”

Richard Jales: “Check the boat over. Reduce weight by taking off any unnecessary stuff. Prepare food and drinks in advance within easy grab from the cockpit. Make sure you go through the right start and the right finish lines!”

Derek Gilbert: “. . . take sensible precautions, make sure crew is familiar with boat and boat safety, make sure boat is prepared, check safety equipment, sails, rigging and equipment, if you are not an experienced racer, familiarise yourself with the race rules & the race Sailing Instructions and keep clear of bigger faster boats! Make plenty of sandwiches before the start of the race and have plenty of water to drink in the cockpit as you may not get the chance to get below very often!”

Further tips were given when asked; what do you do to help prepare the boat you are sailing on ahead of a race and why?

Derek Gilbert: “I make the tea and cheer everyone along - morale is important . . . . we check all sails and rigging for tears, fraying, patches and damage, remove any excess weight or sails we will not use – weight will slow the boat in light winds. We prepare various courses based on tides and likely wind angle and strength. We stow everything away tightly so nothing can come adrift. Refuel and top up water tanks – especially if it is going to be windy – extra ballast. Ensure the bottom is scrubbed – since that is what other people will see as we go past them. Check and replace any suspect running rigging. Ensure all crew know their jobs, what they need to do and when. Shut all sea cocks except for the engine and bilge pump overboards.”

Will Sayer: “Prepare snacks and finger food to eat on the way around. You won’t have time to go and make a sandwich! Do all the things you would normally do before a race: Pack your spinnakers and ensure they are in a convenient place, fit your sheets and guys, read the sailing instructions, familiarise yourself with the start sequence and line, take a transit if possible, check the tides and understand how they will affect you at the critical gates – Hurst and the Needles, St Catharine’s Point, Ryde Sands and the finish.”

Philippe Aston: “I’ll be getting the sewing machine out to make my sail number dodgers. Currently I’m sorting out the rigging for the spinnaker as it was too windy to risk it last year and I’m hoping to put it to use this time if the wind is more reasonable. I need to get up the mast and re-route the halyard as it’s chafing. I’ll also be taking out any excess weight the week before as if it’s light airs it could make all the difference. I went with full holiday provisions last time as we were straight off to the Channel Islands the next day!”

And; what is your most memorable race and why?

Philippe Aston: “Last year in the heavy winds was pretty memorable! Getting soaked beating round the needles…. Surfing down the rollers at St Catherine’s with the sun out…. Brilliant!”

Will Sayer: “2007 – It was the last time I raced under the ISC Handicap and we won our division.”

We also asked; what’s your must-have bit of kit you will be taking on board with you when competing in the Round the Island Race?

Derek Gilbert: “Sailing boots; nothing worse than wet feet for hours on end!!”

Richard Jales: “Tidal charts.”

Will Sayer: “A reliable way of reading the depth, for me this is my ST60 depth instrument, closely followed in second by my A12 chartplotter. It gives me confidence when cutting the corner at the Needles and hugging Ryde sands to keep out of the tide.”

Finally, we asked for one word to describe how the team feel when out on the water, enjoying the sport they love.

Philippe Aston: “At Home. Okay that’s two words.”

Derek Gilbert: “Aaaah . . . . . FREE! (sorry two, although technically Aaaaah is not a word)”

Richard Jales: “The wind in your hair, warm sun on your face and lungs full of fresh air, and enjoying the camaraderie of a fun day out with your crew.”

Peter Ingram: “Alive”

Will Sayer: “Free”

If this has whet your appetite to enter this year’s race, there is still time. To find out more and to enter, visit