Olympic medallists Ian Barker, Iain Percy and Shirley Robertson will among a host of other top dinghy sailors competing in next weekend's Round the Island race
Britain’s silver medallists Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks are the latest Olympians to join the fray in this year’s HOYA Round the Island Race, the largest and most popular yacht race of its kind taking place this weekend on Saturday 16 June.
Ian Barker and his crew Simon Hiscocks will be competing on board an Ultra 30, ‘HOYA’, a type of boat unique in this race because it has no ‘keel’ to prevent it from capsizing. The nine crew members use trapeze wires, skill and agility to keep the boat upright. This year will be only the third in the race’s sixty-five year history to feature these popular monohulls.
Barker said, “When I heard that Russell Peters, who won this class last year, was going to be going for the race record on ‘Reloaded Red Square’, I couldn’t resist the challenge of putting my own team in the running. Especially when we will be going head to head with one of the biggest yachts in the fleet, ‘Skandia Leopard’, who is already proving to be a real threat on the racing field.”
Other sailors competing in this year’s race include Adrian Stead on board the America’s Cup yacht GBR Challenge, Shirley Robertson skippering the Swan 48 ‘Jacobite’, and Iain Percy.
The racecourse covers the 50 nautical miles anticlockwise around the Isle of Wight. Over 1,730 yachts and 13,000 people will be competing in this year’s race. At one end of the spectrum are the grand prix hi-tech racing yachts crewed by professional yachtsmen and women of international standings, and at the other, are the many small cruisers, often crewed by family and friends, for whom this is their only race of the year. In between, there are a multitude of classes and individual boats of all shapes and sizes.
The race begins at 0800 (BST) with staggered starts throughout the morning until 1000 off the Royal Yacht Squadron starting line at Cowes. Organised by the Island Sailing Club, this is the sixth year running that Hoya Lens UK Limited, manufacturers of high quality ophthalmic lenses, has sponsored the Hoya Round the Island Race.