'Spectacular', 'awe-inspiring' and 'exhilarating' are all words attributed to the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and if you were one of the 16,000 sailors who took part this year, you will have the chance to re-live your race through a two-part Channel 4 documentary airing this month. A must-watch for all sports and sailing fans, Part 1 will air Saturday 13th November 2010, at 7.30am on Channel 4 and Part 2 goes out on Saturday 20th November 2010, at 7.30am on Channel 4.
Every year in June over 16,000 sailors, from Olympic gold medallists and world champions to family crews and those trying their hand at racing for the first time, compete in this unique yacht race around the Isle of Wight that is organised by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes. In most racing events the top prize usually goes to the first entry across the finish line; this is where the Round the Island Race differs. The coveted prize is the Gold Roman Bowl that is won by the crew with the best corrected time, worked out through a handicap system. This means big or small, all boats have the opportunity to win the grand prize.
Highs and lows
The two-part programme, produced by Sunset+Vine|APP in association with Channel 4, tells the story of four very different personalities, each with special reasons to compete in the 2010 race. The first part of the documentary takes the viewer into the day-to-day world of each of the four sailors, as they prepare for the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK. The second part is filmed during the race itself with onboard cameras showing the highs and the lows as they compete against a fleet of some 1,700 boats.
The first to feature is a professional multihull sailor, Loick Peyron. He is skippering the boat that crossed the finish line first in 2009. The team from OMAN SAIL are back to try and make it two in a row, racing one of the world's fastest sailboats. Can Loick repeat the team's success? The pressure is on!
The next character is Welsh surgeon Paul Rhys-Davies. Experience-wise he is a polar opposite to Loick. Paul is a newcomer to the world of sailing and hasn't even entered a race before! He is determined to finish his 50-nautical mile lap of the Isle of Wight with his rookie crew but their pre-race training doesn't go to plan and Paul is so nervous that he is unable to sleep the night before the race.
Having competed in the race numerous times, a man who understands the handicap system well is Cowes-based designer Jo Richards. For the 2010 edition he decided to design and build a small boat to race. He knew it would take much longer than most boats to finish the race, yet owing to its handicap rating, his boat named Moonshadow could still win the coveted Gold Roman Bowl. The story of Jo Richards begins with a race against time to complete the build of his boat, obtain a rating and make it to the start line.
The final competitor is competing not to win but to celebrate beating cancer. Dennise Shepherd is in recovery from breast cancer and has set herself the goal to complete the J.P Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care, the charity that supported her through her treatment. Dennise, from Chester, is used to sailing her tiny Mirror dinghy on a small lake, so competing in a fleet of over 1,700 yachts on open sea will be a massive and emotional learning curve.
Then tune in on the 13th and 20th November to see how they get on and enjoy this 'spectacular', 'awe-inspiring' and 'exhilarating' race from the comfort of your armchair.
Save the dates
Saturday, 13th November 2010 at 7.30am
Saturday, 20th November 2010 at 7.30am.