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Entries open for the Windeler Cup

by Jo Bowden 16 Apr 08:15 BST 3 July 2021
Sonars, Squibs and Flying Fifteen © Paul Wyeth /

The Island Sailing Club are delighted to announce the launch of the first Windeler Cup, a new race for small keelboats that will run on the same day as the world-famous Round the Island Race, Saturday 3 July 2021. The race will allow boats which are too small to safely participate in the annual circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight to join in the excitement of the Round the Island Race weekend. Entries open on 16 April 2021.

Instead of sailing the full 50 nautical mile course of the main race, boats from the Daring, Dragon, Etchells, Flying Fifteen, Mermaid, Redwing, Sunbeam, Swallow, Sonar, Squib, RS Elite, Victory and XOD classes will compete in a 'Round the Solent' race. The race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line off Cowes, around 08.30 after the main Round the Island fleet is under way. It will follow a course towards Hurst Narrows, around Western Solent marks, before taking advantage of favourable tides to return along Cowes beach and finish back on the RYS line in Cowes.

The new race is named after the founder of the Round the Island Race, Major Cyril Windeler, who 90 years ago decided there needed to be an opportunity for owners of smaller yachts to enjoy a 'bigger than usual' competition. He presented the Island Sailing Club with a magnificent trophy called the Gold Roman Bowl and it was decided to be awarded to the overall winner of the race. It was not until the outbreak of World War II in 1939 that Major Windeler finally won the trophy, sailing his 7 Ton auxiliary cutter 'Kaliste' to victory. Over the last nine decades competitors have battled to win the ultimate prize of the Gold Roman Bowl with some saying that with the right conditions any boat could win it.

The Island Sailing Club are working closely with the other local clubs on the Isle of Wight to promote Solent sailing this summer. The dayboat classes eligible for the Windeler Cup are the mainstay of sailing in Cowes, so now with the Royal London Yacht Club Event, Cowes Classic Week, being scheduled directly after the Round the Island weekend it provides a great opportunity for competitors to enjoy an entire week of top-class sailing.

New for this 90th anniversary year is the launch of a Round the Island Rowing Race. Five or more rowing teams will set off on the afternoon of Thursday 1 July from the RYS start line in their ocean rowing boats, circumnavigating all 50 nautical miles around the Isle of Wight, in a bid to be the fastest. Their offshore rowing boats are very similar in shape to the airdropped boats that were designed by the late Isle of Wight local Uffa Fox, and used in WW2 to save downed Pilots afloat in the sea. Rowed by a mixture of doubles or fours they have wave piercing bows, a cabin forward and aft and three rowing positions midships.

Andrew Taw, The Bubbleheads Navigator said, "The Ocean rowing teams feel privileged and honoured to be invited to one of the greatest yachting regattas in the world. We hope to share our passion for the sea with the sailors participating and immerse ourselves in the rich history of the Round the Island Race. It provides us with valuable preparation for our Atlantic Challenge, rowing around the island non-stop will enable all teams to practice night rowing, routines and planning their kit onboard."

The official charity of the race, Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust announced this week their plans to bring young people living through and beyond cancer back together again this summer. Trust CEO, Frank Fletcher, laid out their plans to take the Trust on tour across the UK, with Round the Island Race being the first time they will get young people back on the water since 2019. Frank said: "We're so grateful to be the official race charity again and it's great to have a boat entered in the Round the Island Race on 3 July, this will act as a pre-season 'test event' for the extra safety and risk management controls."

In celebration of the 90 years anniversary, Helly Hansen, the Official Clothing Partner, have launched a capsule collection in partnership with the Island Sailing Club. All garments feature the special '90 years' Round the Island Race logo and are available to order online on the event website or in the Cowes High Street store now.

To enter Round the Island Race and the Windeler Cup, plus read the latest guideline information please visit the event website For all the latest news follow on social media and please use hashtags #RIR90years and #RaceForAll.

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