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Island Sailing Club Cowes - Foil the Wight attempt

by Rupert Holmes and Will Overton 22 Sep 20:17 BST 23 September 2021
Tom Buggy wing foiling off Cowes July 2021 © John Carter

Island Sailing Club Cowes is famous for presenting world renowned Round the Island Races.. Now we step into the future with an attempt by local legend, World Champion Windsurfer Ross Williams and friends to Wing Foil the 50nm around the Isle of Wight.

Four wingfoilers - Ross Williams, Tom Court, Sam Light and Thomas Buggy - will make the herculean inaugural attempt to wing foil the 50 miles around the Isle of Wight. Wingfoiling is a new discipline that's only 4-5 years old and is usually practiced for short periods on a small area, so foiling around the notorious Isle of Wight race course represents a massive step into the unknown. To date there have been no wing foiling challenges held over such distance and this really will be a test of the athletes resolve to endure the course on little more than a sail powered Weetabix...

"We will have lots of different conditions, from big waves on the south side of the Island, tidal rips, flat water in wind shadows and some upwind sailing," says foiler Tom Buggy.

A key challenge will be in the selection of the most appropriate equipment, as usually different size foils and sails are chosen for optimal performance in a small range of wind strengths. By contrast the squadron of wingmen will need to select gear that gives sufficient power in the lightest wind they will experience, without being so large as to be overwhelming at the other end of the spectrum. It's not been done before and we still don't know if it's possible.

The event is organised by the Island Sailing Club and the squadron of foilers aim to set out from Cowes around mid morning on Thursday September 23. Follow their progress here.

Huge Thanks to our Foil the Wight event partners and supporters: Spinlock, Icom, Seasafe, Kevin Mole Outboards, Mermaid Gin, Catercycle, Pc Consultants, Bembridge Ribs, Tradewinds Café, Jamie Hancock film, images by Paul Wyeth and John Carter. By kind permission of Cowes Harbour Commission, Queens Harbour Master and ABP Southampton.

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