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Round The Island Race - Team Meglio

Round The Island Race - Team Meglio


The Round The Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes, is one of the highlights of the UK sailing calendar, and also the UK’s fourth largest participant sporting event; behind the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs. As Meglio sponsor the double handed offshore series, we decided to enter a our very own boat in the Round the Island Race. Normally an annual event, however with last year’s race being cancelled due to the pandemic, and this year being the 90th anniversary event, pent-up expectations among the 1169 boats and 7000 sailors taking part were high. The forecast was not looking promising on the run up to the event, but it turned out to be a fantastic race for the team!

Flying the flag for Team Meglio was the crew of Meglio Adastra, a Bavaria 32 cruising yacht turned into a racer for the weekend. Skippered by Iain Christie, and crewed by Laura Turner, Tom Vian, Tom Ballingall and Niall Ferguson, Meglio Adastra was racing under the Island Sailing Club handicap rules system, which in theory allows boats of very different sizes and speeds to compete on a fairly level playing field. With so many boats competing, the starts are staggered over a period of two hours and being one of the slower boats in the race, Team Meglio was away at 0750, with the starting signal being fired from the famous Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes by Vendee Globe solo sailor Pip Hare.  Sailing is a fairly unique sport, in so much as a race such as the RTIR will have competitors of all levels taking part in the same race…from amateur first timers, through to fully professional race teams, and World and Olympic Champions.

 

Right on cue, the very light winds gave way to a building breeze, and as Team Meglio headed westward towards the iconic Needles, the fleet was starting to bunch up, requiring a sharp look out and some very quick manoeuvres to avoid collisions…as well as a good knowledge of the “Racing Rules of Sailing”, a large volume of hundreds of rules which makes explaining the offside rule child’s play! Meglio Adastra rounded the Needles and headed SE along the south side of the Isle of Wight well before the tide turned at the Needles.  Not making this rounding before the tidal “gate” closes can mean the end of the race for many, as the strong tidal streams are often faster than a boat can sail!

Team Meglio rounded the southern tip of the Isle of Wight, St Catherine’s Point, and started to head NE, hoisting their spinnaker, a colourful, free flying sail designed to give more boat speed when the wind is coming from behind the boat. By the time they reached the eastern end of the island at Bembridge ledge, the sun was out, and the conditions were absolutely superb. Turning west up the eastern Solent back towards the finish line at Cowes, it was a bit of a drag race, and a wind shift enabled lots of the boats including Meglio Adastra to fly their spinnakers once again. Care was needed as the fleet sailed past the notorious Ryde Sands, and a number of boats made navigational errors and ran aground, needing a tow off, thereby ending their race.

 

The final leg was across Osborne Bay with a great view of Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s residence, before crossing the northern finish line off Cowes at 1715 after 9:02:47 of racing on corrected time, and finishing in a respectable 311th place overall.  After a full day of constant steering, hoisting and trimming sails, grinding winches, and moving around the boat, the crew felt they’d probably had a good enough workout to not need to use any of Meglio’s range of home exercise equipment that evening, however they were extremely grateful to be wearing their Team Meglio kit around the racecourse to keep the cold out and the sun off their faces!

 

All in all a fantastic event, and the crew look forward to returning for the 2022 event.

 

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