Competitive sailing will return in August with a race around the Isle of Wight.
Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), 'Race the Wight' will be the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The race will replace the originally scheduled Channel Race and is open to COVID-19 compliant crews following Government regulations in both the Two Handed and family/same-household classes. Race entries are required to have an IRC TCC of 0.900 and above.
Round the Island Race is still scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 26.
RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone said:
“It's been extremely difficult to know what changes to racing will allow us to go back to our original programme; taking into consideration the current regulations and social distancing measures, plus the need to protect the integrity of the season pointscore.
“It's our belief that the Channel Race may be a little too early to allow fully crewed racing and would potentially be difficult with regulations not permitting overnight racing. We therefore think a race around the Isle of Wight (for those who can), is a great compromise as crews can enjoy a distance race with an offshore element whilst still remaining close to the Solent.”
Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the 50-nautical mile race will adhere to the latest Government guidelines and advice from the RYA and World Sailing. The safety of all competitors, staff and volunteers are of primary concern as the RORC continues to monitor the Coronavirus outbreak carefully.
The fleet will race anti-clockwise, heading westwards towards Yarmouth, leaving the Solent and rounding the Needles Lighthouse before making their way along south-west coast of the Island to St. Catherine's Point before crossing Sandown Bay to round the Bembridge Ledge. The fleet then makes its way either side of No Man's Land Fort and across Osborne Bay to the finish line back at Cowes.
RORC member, Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard raced around the course in 3h 43m and regular RORC racer, Ned Collier Wakefield took just 2h 22m on the MOD70 Concise 10 - just short of Brian Thompson's ratified World Sailing Speed Racing Council record of 2h 2m 31s in Phaedo3 in Sept 2016! Although these records show the potential speeds possible from these impressive racing machines, the course can take anything up to 12 hours for some of the smaller entries.
All competitors will register their own finish times after crossing the line and submit them for the final results.
“It should be a very nice day of racing for those two handed teams who can follow the guidelines and those sailing families/households who can do the same.
"Sadly the timing of the tides doesn't allow us to include the smaller entries, but we think we can give most people a start and their first longer race since the lockdown. Staff and volunteers are really looking forward to Race the Wight as well; I think it's good for everyone.
"We have some nice Musto prizes for the class winners and for our overall winner, and with entry fees going to the Scaramouche Sailing Trust and the NHS, we couldn't be happier about the whole event. It's a great way to re-start the season.”
Entries and registration through RORC Sailgate: https://rorc.sailgate.com/)