This year's JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race could reach record entry 11/6/07

With just 12 days to go to this year’s JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, entry numbers are showing an increase on 2006 and stand at a current total of 1,738, the second largest in the history of the race. Over 12,000 sailors across the whole spectrum of the sport will be lining up on the start line at Cowes, making this the fourth largest participative, annual, UK event, after the London Marathon, Great North and Great South Runs.

Charity fundraising has added an important dimension to the event with many skippers and crews participating. Lea Bennett, Secretary of the Island Sailing Club, organisers of the event, said: “We have been touched by the personal stories behind many of the charity entries and are so pleased to have their involvement”. One of the poignant quotes came from Christopher Barker the skipper of a family cruiser: “Belle Serene will throw her racing virginity to the Solent winds in this year’s race. My gorgeous and magnificent wife Zoe has just started her course of chemotherapy. Belle Serene’s entry is supporting Breast Cancer Care, Zoe’s favoured charity.”

The classic yacht Gipsy Moth IV will also be sailing for charity. This is the 53ft ketch in which Sir Francis Chichester broke many records during his solo circumnavigation in 1966. She has recently returned from her second round the world passage, this time crewed by disadvantaged youngsters. Those on board for the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race will include people undergoing treatment or in remission from cancer. Each of the race’s four main charity partners will be represented plus one extra place being made available through a competition run in conjunction with BBC South Today. This is open to any viewer who would like to take part, whether a seasoned sailor or not.

The event will certainly be putting a smile on the face of America’s Cup skipper and Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy. With his Olympic Star campaign crew Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson he will be racing on Skandia Big Grin, an 8.5 metre canting-keel sportsboat. This high-performance sportsboat was built for former UK Paralympic team member Mike Browne, as a smaller version of Full Pelt. The race will give an exciting break from Iain and Andy’s Beijing training programme. Other Olympic sailors taking to a different craft for the day include Shirley Robertson, Nick Rogers and Paul Goodison.

Entries to the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race must be received by 12 noon on Saturday 16 June.