Over 1,500 entries have already signed up for the Round the Island race with 10 days to go

The Island Sailing Club’s annual race round the Isle of Wight is proving as popular as ever, this year with over 1,500 boats lining up for the start on Saturday 21 June.

Emma Richards, skippering Timberland Europrix, will compete in her first race since she became the youngest competitor ever to finish the solo round-the-world race, Around Alone. Whilst Emma’s new boat “Pindar” is undergoing a refit in preparation for the Transat Jacques Vabre in November, she will race in the Round the Island aboard a Europrix 45, the class being used for a new round Europe event next year.

London property developer Mike Slade has held the monohull race record on all his past yachts over the last ten years. He will be back to defend his title this year in the Reichel Pugh-designed 98 footer “Leopard of London”, scratch boat in IRC. GBR Challenge team member Jules Salter will be calling the tactics.

Heading the classic yacht entries is the beautiful J Class “Velsheda” built in 1933 and one of only three remaining. As in previous races, her owner will be on the helm and with a crew of 25 to manage the boat. In the Old Gaffers class, the South Coast One Design “Kelpie” is probably the oldest boat in the race, celebrating her 100th birthday this year. She has entered the Round the Island Race on many occasions, winning the Shamrock Trophy, as first Old Gaffer to finish, several times.

The event is being used by teams currently tuning up for the Admiral’s Cup. Paralympic gold medallist Andy Cassell will skipper “Chernikeeff”, sailing under the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club burgee, with 50 per cent of the crew disabled sailors.

For race entry forms and more information, telephone 01983 296621 or log on to www.roundtheisland.org.uk.