Despite numbers being down this year, the event's popularity is still evident

The JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race takes place in two weeks time (Saturday 20 June), and despite an economic climate of doom and gloom, organisers are delighted with the entry numbers.

Bill Pimlott, Commodore of the Island Sailing Club said: “By midnight on 30 May, 1,684 yachts had entered the race, a clear indication of the continuing attraction and popularity of our event. 2008 saw a record entry of 1,875 yachts, which must be approaching the maximum number that we can accommodate, but prior to that the average number since the turn of the century has been 1,607 so we are on course for another very successful race.”

Late entries have already been received and these can be accepted until noon on 13 June.

Olympic medallists will be lining up with the thousands of sailors expected, including Ben Ainslie, Shirley Robertson, Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield. Ben will compete on the Extreme 40 TeamOrigin. He told us: “I’m really looking forward to the day, as this year I will be racing on an Extreme 40 catamaran. These boats can really fly and, given that I haven’t raced on one before, we may well be in for a wild ride. I will be joining the TeamOrigin crew of Mike Sanderson, George Skudos and Matt Cornwell. We know each other well, so should be in good shape to get a good time but it obviously it all depends on the weather.”

He added: “Round the Island is a unique race – because of the unique course round the Isle of Wight and because of the sheer numbers of boats racing. It’s an incredible spectacle and one of my favourite events. The main challenge is working out the currents and not running aground on one of the many rocky ledges or Ryde Sands. Racing with so many other boats, with quite different sailing characteristics, can also be quite difficult but exciting.”

Late entries can be made on line at .