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Joyon to lead the charge

1754 entered in this weekend's Round the Island, but will the weather oblige the pace setters?

Monday June 14th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

1754 boats were entered in this Saturday’s JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race when the entry list closed. This is slightly short of the 1875 record in 2008, but not bad considering these hard economic times.

Among the high profile line-up will once again be singlehanded non-stop round the world record holder Francis Joyon and his red 100ft long IDEC trimaran. Joyon’s record setter has the rather cool TCF of 1.875, the nearest competition being Phil Cotton’s SeaCart 30 Buzz on a mere 1.576. Joyon will be attempting to better his Round the Island outright race record of 3 hours 8 minutes and 29 seconds, set in 2001 aboard his ORMA 60 Dexia Eure et Loire.

Another crew hoping to beat their course record will be that of ICAP Leopard. Mike Slade’s 100ft super maxi finished the race in a rapid 3 hours 53 minutes in 2008.

Will the weather be accommodating this year? Five days out the forecast is unreliable. The European model is showing the race starting in a NNEerly 10-15 knots veering northeast and building slightly during the morning. The American GFS model is looking more promising with 15-20 knots out of the northeast for the morning – so a fast start west down the Solent, but a beat up the third quadrant of the course. Whether this forecast holds during the course of this week remains to be seen.

Other interesting boats in the fleet are the J Velsheda which will be up against the TP52s, Johnny Vincent’s Pace (ex Patches 2) and Team Volvo, featuring Shirley Robertson. Also to look out for is the new Akilaria 2, Concise 2, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield. Artemis is the sole Open 60 taking part skippered by former Mike Golding right hand Graham Tourell. Golding himself will be on Ecover, one of the four Extreme 40s going around the island, a line-up that includes the two Oman Sail boats Masirah and The Wave, Muscat, plus Team Metherell skippered by Nick Moloney.

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