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Round the Island 2016 Guide

24 June 2016
FILED IN: Round The Island, Round The Island 2016, Round The Island Race

Round the Island

With less than a week to go until the prestigious Round the Island Race, we’ve compiled a quick checklist and guide to help you prepare for the day. There are lots of things to remember and get ready before the race so this list will make sure you and your crew are fully prepared and can enjoy the day hassle free.

  • Read the Notice of Race

Read the Round the Island Race Notice of Race to make sure that your yacht is fully compliant to take part. If you are chartering a boat from Motion Charters, we will do this for you. If you are not in a one design class and are competing for results, it’s also worth understanding your IRC rating and how this will effect your results. Take a look at which boats in your class you need to beat on the water in order to do well; this will help you to estimate where you are placed in the race whilst sailing.

  • Read the Sailing Instructions

As with all yacht racing, it’s important to read the sailing instructions and make sure you and your crew fully understand the rules for the day. This will ensure that you don’t incur any unnecessary penalties. This also helps to keep everyone safe on the water so swot up in good time before race day.

  • Get your boat ready

If you are chartering a yacht with Motion Charters, we will make sure your boat is ready to race for you. However, it is important for you to know how to use all of the equipment on board and that your crew are happy with all of the systems. Arrive on the boat in good time on race day to rig up and ensure everything is set up correctly before the race. You might also want to think about removing any unnecessary kit from the yacht to make sure it is as light as possible for the race, especially if the weather forecast is for light winds. Don’t over do it though as you’ll still need all of your safety kit onboard and if you think your crew will benefit from a cup of tea half way round, leave the kettle onboard!

  • Check the tides

The Solent is renowned for its complicated tidal systems and a good understanding of what the tides will be doing on the day will give you a good tactical advantage and propel you ahead of your competitors. A very useful resource for this is a book called “Winning Tides.”  The tide is especially important at the start of the race; if it is running to the west there is the risk of being carried over the line and if it is running to the east it might delay you getting to the start in time.

  • Be familiar with the course

Round the Island Race runs in an anti-clockwise route, 50 nautical miles around the Isle of Wight. It’s easy to think that sailing around the Isle of Wight is a pretty simple course but there are many obstacles to navigate and avoid, namely the infamous Needles and its numerous submerged wrecks! There will also be an exclusion zone off Seaview so check the local notice to mariners for details and a rounding mark off Bembridge Ledge. So, make sure you read your sailing instructions carefully and plan your tactics carefully.

  • Check your start time and plan your timings

Round the Island Race will start on the Royal Yacht Squadron line off Cowes, Isle of Wight. The first start is at 8:20am but make sure you know when your class is due to start. Check Round the Island Race start times here.  Understand the starting sequence and what happens if there is a general recall. Also, give yourself enough time to get there and do a quick practice to check that your boat is rigged correctly; the last thing you want is for the spinnaker to be upside down when you hoist it for the first time, so iron out any issues before you begin! Stay in the designated waiting areas, away from the Cowes fairway, deep-water channel and start line, until your 10 minute signal is sounded. You may also receive text messages to your mobile phone with updates so keep that to hand too. Finally, the start will probably be very busy so make sure your crew are keeping a good look out for other yachts.

  • Check the weather forecast

As we all know, the great British weather can be changeable, so get a detailed weather forecast the night before and on the morning of the race. We would actually recommend that you get a few forecasts to compare and make sure you plan for every eventuality. You don’t want to leave your heavy wind spinnaker behind only to be in 20+ knots of wind down the back of the island! 

  • Provision for a long day’s sailing

It’s likely that you will be on the water for a long time so take lots of food and water with you to keep everyone energised and hydrated. Take high energy releasing food that is easy to eat little and often. Pasta pots, fruit, cereal bars and a few sweet treats should keep your crew happy and full of energy for the duration of the race. Hydration tablets are also a good supplement to water, especially if it’s due to be warm.

  • Know where your finish line is

There are two finish lines so make sure you know which one you need to use. This will be in your sailing instructions. You will also need to show your sail number on the side of your yacht with a dodger as you finish. Once you’ve crossed the line, move away from the finish line as quickly as you can to allow other boats to finish and avoid any incidents or confusion. You will then need to declare that you have finished the race. The easiest way to do this is by text message or you can do it in person at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes.

  • Check the results

Results will be published as and when boats finish but the overall results won’t be available until the last boat has completed the course. Keep an eye on the Round the Island Race website and screens in the Island Sailing Club and Cowes Yacht Haven for updates. The prize giving ceremony will be at the Island Sailing Club the next day.

  • Enjoy your race

The Round the Island Race is a spectacular event offering stunning views all of the way round and great fun racing. Whether you are aiming for a first place result in your class or just want to complete the course, enjoy your time on the water and savor the experience of being part of such a prestigious event.

  • Celebrate your race in style

Finally, pat yourself on the back for completing this prestigious and challenging race and take a moment to celebrate with your crew!


We hope that this Round the Island Race checklist and guide is useful and that you all have a fantastic race. Good luck from all of us here at Motion Charters! We would love to hear about your experiences so please send us your comments and photos to sail@motioncharters.co.uk or share them via our Facebook Page.

To book a yacht charter for Round the Island Race, see our Round the Island Race charter page.


Useful links:

Round the Island Race 2016 Notice of Race

Round the Island Race 2016 Sailing Instructions

Round the Island Race 2016 Start Times

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