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61st Round the Island Race at Isle Of Sheppey Sailing Club

by Russell Wheeler 10 Sep 08:38 BST 1 September 2019

Isle Of Sheppey Sailing Club held its 61st Round the Island Race on Sunday 1st September, attracting 69 craft from across the UK. The race is the UK's longest annual dinghy, catamaran and sailboard race at some 30-40 miles, depending on wind and tide. Competitors enjoyed great weather with sunshine and a light breeze.

This year's race formed the final event of the Allen Endurance Sailing Series, comprising of four of the UK's top endurance races and also featured live GPS tracking of competitors provided by SailRacer, tracking for the event can be seen here.

However, for those that wanted a bit of a warm up were welcomed on Saturday to a three race 'around the cans' followed by an evening of The Blues Brothers tribute band and plenty of beer. Top honours for the Saturday went to the F18 of Tim Neal and Simon Farren.

However, with a twenty boat mixed fleet, ranging from the high performance Tornado and F18 mixing it with Lasers & Solos, watching from the committee boat, without doubt the best bit was to watch the Miracle of Neal Gibson and Keith Macey port tacking the whole fleet on race 3. Excellent job, well executed and nerves of steel.

On Sunday was the actual Island race commenced.

With light westerly winds, it meant a long run down to Shellness with dinghies taking full advantage of the tide. However, when the corner at Shellness was turned, it became a long and in some cases arduous beat up The Swale to the bridge.

The bridge is one obstacle which is always present, fortunately with a great bridge shore team, boats were quickly capsized and man handled under.

Some additional help had to be given to the Tornado, when capsized it was still too wide to fit under the bridge. Bridge crew promptly sat on the hull to sink it and ensure a safe passage.

Once under the bridge, there was a dramatic battle between two high performance catamarans to be the first to finish, racing neck and neck from the docks to the sailing club's finish line which ended in a photo finish. Kevin Dutch & David Oakley in a Tornado beat Tim Neal & Simon Farren by in an F18 catamaran by only one second to win the Bartling Line Honours Cup and completing the course in the fastest time of the day of 3 hours 10 minutes. However, Neal & Farren went on to be the overall winners of the event on handicap, with Dutch finishing 3rd overall and Andrew & Martin Wilson in a Wayfarer placing 2nd overall on handicap.

The first windsurfer back was Jenna Gibson, taking 4 hours 48 minutes to complete the course to win the David Clay Windsurfing Challenge trophy. Jenna also won the sailboard class back in 2014 & is currently World & European Champion in windsurf slalom and lives in Canterbury.

Mick Greenland (Osprey) picked up the local prizes for fastest local boat over the water and on handicap."

Overall results can be found here.

Thank you to Allen Brothers and SailRacer for supporting the event.

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