Island SC to provide competitors with Safety Booklet with Sailing Instructions for next month's Round the Island Race

Saturday 18 June will see over 1,600 boats competing in the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. With some 13,000 sailors afloat, plus spectator and media craft, safety is an uppermost consideration for the race management team from the Island Sailing Club, organisers of this spectacular event.

A month before the race, the club held its annual safety briefing when the Port Marine Safety Risk Assessment was outlined by Rear Commodore Sailing, Rod Nicholls. This is prepared in the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) recommended format, with input from harbour authorities, constantly refined in the light of experience and modified to meet new requirements.

Competitors race through sections of the Solent heavy with commercial traffic, controlled by the Queen’s Harbour Master, Portsmouth and Associated British Ports in Southampton, who were both involved. Consultation was also made with ferry operators and emergency services, with the intention of ensuring a safe and enjoyable event for all.

The number of entries in the race makes a personal briefing for all skippers impossible. Instead, the club publishes a Safety Booklet included with the Sailing Instructions for each competitor. This covers the whole race, from waiting in a safe area before the start to avoiding The Shrape mud bank just before the finish. The club also holds a shore telephone contact number for every yacht, while club volunteers are on watch afloat and at vantage points to report any problems.

Competitors should note that this year’s course – west-about round the Isle of Wight – does not include No Man’s Land Fort as a mark, and skippers are encouraged to review their pilotage plans and ensure charts are fully updated to minimise the risks.

In addition to the Safety Booklet, an aerial pilot has been produced in DVD format as a guide and this is being sent free of charge to competitors donating over £20 to this year’s event charity – Prostate Research Campaign UK under the by-line “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss”. So far £7,000 has been raised in this way. An introduction for ‘First Timers’ is available on the website where the Raymarine weather briefing, by expert meteorologist Chris Tibbs, will also be available on the evening of 17 June.