Highlights from onboard an Extreme 40 as YW have a wet and wild ride on Ecover

After the dismal display by our National football team last night, and a 0300 start this morning, I needed something to cheer me up. Hitching a ride on Mike Golding’s Extreme 40 Ecover for the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race was just the tonic. It can only be likened to a hair-raising, adrenaline-fuelled theme park ride – that’s really uncomfortable, windy, and someone’s spraying a fire-hose at you. But it’s extreme-ly fun!

The Northely breeze started at around 10knots, became fluky and even non-existent around the back by St Catherine’s Lighthouse, before increasing to a four gusting five for the last third. The midway wind-hole put the stoppers on record attempts, but allowed Francis Joyon’s giant trimaran Idec to slip away and take line-honours in 4hrs 24mins. The four extreme 40’s were right on his heels though, led home by Oman Sail The Wave who finished just three minutes later after some intense one-design racing, while Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard took the monohull line-honours, but took 5hrs 10mins to do so.

Doing the Round Island Race white-knuckle style and getting ashore for breakfast is quite a recommended novelty! These video snippets give an idea as to what life’s like onboard the quick route.

Here’s the start, jostling around the hundreds of other boats on the Squadron start line and unleashing the kite on the gun. We led the multihulls out of the Solent:

Having rounded the Needles, and close reaching east by 6am:

What we all dreaded. Parked at St Catherine’s with the other Ex40’s, Leopard and Idec:

Back on the wind: close-hauled, tacking off Shanklin to stay out of the tide and heading to Bembridge:

Finishing in a flurry: Judging by the Ribs following I guestimate we’re doing up to 25knots past Ryde to the finish and kicking up some spray! Still no kite needed as the apparent wind is so far forward we’re close reaching. Cowes and the committee boat finish is in view to Leeward: