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Highly anticipated Knox-Johnston Cup is returning to the Solent in September

by Tina Newton 19 Jun 16:11 BST 28-29 September 2024
Knox-Johnston Cup © Clipper Ventures

Run by Clipper Events and named in honour of founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the flagship race aims to reignite the joy of big boat racing through an exhilarating weekend of racing, socialising, camaraderie and networking.

Racing on a fleet of Clipper 68 and Clipper 70 race yachts, a Skipper, First and Second Mate will lead teams of up to twelve crew on an exciting circuit around the Isle of Wight which incorporates strategic racing elements from the Clipper Race.

The event is similar to the Round the Island Race, but open exclusively to the Clipper 70s and Clipper 68s.

Says Race Skipper Dan Bodey: "Clipper Ventures is known for its round the world race, but the Knox-Johnston Cup, from Clipper Events, is a considerably shorter version which gives people a chance to get out on these round the world racing boats. It's great for people to come out and have an experience on board but in a slightly kinder setting.

"Very much like the round the world race, the Knox-Johnston Cup has a Scoring Gate and a sprint section to add a little more excitement in. Great elements that give the crew a little something extra to focus on.

"It's also a very social event, when you can come in the evening you can have some sundowners a bit of a party, trade stories and have some fun."

Isle of Wight local and Race Skipper, Max Rivers explains what to expect racing around the island: "The course will start using the iconic Royal Yacht Squadron line and head down the western Solent out past the needles, a fantastic landmark on the Isle of Wight, and a really unique place to sail around.

"Then you will round the south of the island, St Catherine's point, where some really strong tidal flows can either make or break your race. It's very tactical whether you head inshore or offshore, a big decision. Then you'll be sailing across Shanklin and Sandown Bay where you get some really strong breezes funnelling down through the bay. All the way up to finish off Bembridge ledge, nice and close to Portsmouth to head in, celebrate and have a drink at the prize-giving in the evening."

He will be leading a team put together by his father, and despite the fact he will have just finished eleven months on board for the Clipper Race, he is excited to once again compete, with friends and family on board. He explained: "I have some unfinished business with this race, I am sure I will be coming back for many years to come, determined to get a podium."

The Knox-Johnston Cup starts off the coast of Cowes and heads anti-clockwise, finishing at Bembridge. The 42 nautical mile long course, which is split into three legs, isn't just about claiming line honours but also tactically accumulating extra points to sway the overall podium standings.

These can be gained from three of the Clipper Race's tactical elements:

  • Scoring Gate - a line between two virtual marks which a team can choose to pass through. The first three teams who cross the gate gain extra race points (three for first, two for second and one for third).
  • Joker - points gained from the yacht's finishing position at the end of the leg will be doubled.
  • Sprint - a time trial between two virtual marks. The fastest three teams gain extra race points (three for first, two for second and one for third).
With an emphasis on reigniting the social aspects of big boat racing, the weekend features plenty of opportunities to meet new people, network, and share moments with friends, topped off by classic sundowner gatherings, making for a memorable weekend both on and off the water.

The Knox-Johnston Cup welcomes teams formed of six to twelve crew members and is open to all over 18s with no previous sailing experience required - ideal for groups of friends, corporate teams, or Race Crew, alumni and supporters looking for an unforgettable experience.

The fee per team entry is £6500 plus VAT and includes; entry into the Knox-Johnston Cup for up to 12 people on a Clipper Race yacht, two days of on-the-water big boat sailing experience, Musto Technical team top to keep, use of Musto BR2 offshore jacket and salopettes, food and drink whilst on board, additional hospitality events, on the water action photography package, a professional Race Skipper, First and Second Mate, berthing and insurance and all on board safety equipment.

For further event information and to enter a team, visit the Clipper Events website.

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