Criterion, has become the title sponsor of the 75th Anniversary Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race.

Petersfield-based Criterion, the specialist insurance and risk management Group has launched itself into the world of international yachting, by becoming title sponsor of the 75th Anniversary Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race.

Run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Criterion Round Britain and Ireland Race will start off at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, Isle of Wight on Sunday August 20, 2000, where spectators will be able to watch the fleet head off on the non-stop race.

The gruelling 1,760 mile race, with some of the most testing stretches of coastline, is acknowledged as one of the toughest events in the international sailing calendar. The yachts will circumnavigate the British and Irish coastlines in a clockwise direction taking in Lands End, the west coast of Ireland, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland Isles before racing back down the east coast and along the Channel back to the Isle of Wight.

The race is open to yachts up to 100ft LOA, which will include multihulls and a 2 handed division. There will also be an IRC and IRM Class with water ballast being permitted. Many top racing boats have already entered, including Alex Thomson’s Open 50; Miranda Merron and Emma Richards in the 2-handed division with an Open 50 Pindar; and Mike Butterfield’s recently-launched 50ft red and yellow catamaran Dazzler. The IRC and IRM class will be keenly contested; the rating rule will equalise the fleet, which means that under certain conditions a smaller boat could win the handicap race.