Britain’s favourite yacht race; the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race raises thousands of pounds for good causes. This year’s chosen charity is once again the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
26 young people recovering from cancer and leukaemia will be competing in the race on board four boats, joined by Trust patron Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Ellen MacArthur, racing on Dream Sailing‘s Dark Star, said before the race: “Everyone is really looking forward to it. There will be seven of us on board and at this stage I don’t know what I will be doing. My job is mainly looking out for the young people, talking to them, helping make sandwiches and the tea. I love sailing with the youngsters.”
Seventeen-year-old Esme Macintyre from Kinloss, Scotland, will be sailing with the Ellen MacArthur Trust. She said: “I have sailed a bit before, in dinghies but this is my first Round the Island Race. I had cancer a few years ago and I have been a long time learning to walk again. I am kind of getting back on track. Sailing has really kept me going and having trips like this planned is something to look forward to.”
The sailors will also be ‘raced’ on land by 125 cyclists pedalling around the Island to raise money for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Representing J.P. Morgan, cyclist Andy Graham explained: “Some of us will try to beat the sailing record time.
Over the last five years we’ve raised £83,000 for the Ellen MacArthur Trust so the aim is to break the £100,000 barrier this year. We only need about £10,000 now so we are on track. Those who want to donate should go to justgiving.com.”
With tomorrow’s south-westerly breezes forecast to build from 20 knots throughout the day the cyclists will have a race on their hands to get round before the first yachts.
Raymarine race meteorologist Libby Greenhalgh commented: “The forecast is starting to be fairly consistent. We have low pressure dominating the area and as we’ve gone through the last few days the wind strength has been building and building, and it is looking like quite a windy race.
At start time we will have between 15-20 knots from the south-west but we will see this build fairly quickly and as these early boats reach the Needles it will be at 25kts. Round the back of the island the sea state will be quite rough as an effect of the big winds over the last couple of days.
Thankfully the wind will not be squally but just a solid 20-25knots and stronger breeze will be coming in at 1800-1900hrs in the evening which means those taking the longest time to get round will be finishing in the strongest breeze up to 30 knots.”