Ellen MacArthur will skipper the 75ft trimaran B&Q in the 69th edition of the Round The Island Race tomorrow

Ellen MacArthur will skipper the 75ft trimaran B&Q in the 69th edition of the Round The Island Race tomorrow. Commenting on the event MacArthur said: “This is a great race that I have competed in three times before but this is the first time with B&Q. We are really looking forward to it as there are few opportunities where we get to take part in this kind of race. No matter what the weather, this race is always a challenge!”

Entries from all over Europe and the USA will follow the 50 mile course anti-clockwise around the Isle of Wight racing westwards towards The Needles, round the back of the island passing St. Catherine’s Point and rounding Bembridge Ledge Buoy before heading back towards the finish line off Cowes.

With a start time of 0700 BST, B&Q will be joined on the start line by eight other grand prix multihulls in this class including two ORMA 60 multihulls Nuku Hiva (formerly Primagaz – current holder of the solo transatlantic record sailed by Laurent Bourgnon in June 1994 – the same record MacArthur will try and break this coming autumn) and Nuku Hiva II.

Latest weather forecasts predict a light wind race and visibility could be affected by the risk of fog. “For any crew, the Round the Island Race is a real tactical contest dealing with the strong tides, keeping clear of the rocks and combined with the light airs forecasted for this edition will make it very challenging,” said B&Q navigator, Charles Darbyshire. “Based on the current forecast, it could take us six hours to complete the 50-mile course so these are not record-breaking conditions.”

MacArthur will be joined on board B&Q by an international crew of six including B&Q shore team members Loik Gallon (FRA), Oli Allard (FRA), Charles Darbyshire (GBR) and Sebastian Chernier Proteau (CAN). This race crew will be supported by Tom Avery (GBR), one of Champagne Mumm’s Adventure Team who walked into the record books by becoming the youngest Briton to complete the perilous journey to the South Pole in December 2002 aged 27, and Johnathan Deane (GBR), a B&Q employee who has worked for two and half years at the B&Q Croydon Warehouse, who won his place on the crew after entering an internal competition.

Although Jonathan is no stranger to sailing as he has participated in the 1977/78 Whitbread Round the World Race. “I am really looking forward to racing with Ellen and the team on board B&Q. I know that it will be a fantastic sight out there on the water and I am not expecting it to be all plain sailing! I hope that everyone has a great day and that we have some great sailing.”