The annual Round the Island Race has been running since 1931, with just 25 entries in the first race. Island Sailing Club (ISC) member, Major Cyril Windeler proposed a handicap race around the Isle of Wight in 1930, catering for ‘smaller boats’ between 5 and 25 tons. The first winner was Peter Brett, sailing his 22ft. Cornish fishing boat ‘Merry Conceit’. During the Second World War, there was a ban on private, leisure sailing and the Race resumed in 1946 with a steady increase in numbers from 105 in 1950 to 1,309 by the mid-1980s. To read a full history of the event, visit the JP Morgan Round the Island Race website.
In 2016, OGA boat ‘Susan J’ won the Gaffers Class. Read an account of the Race from ‘Susan J’ on the Solent OGA website.
In 2015, the three entries in Gaffer Division 2 (23ft – 28ft) were all OGA members with records in the OGA online Boat Register. ‘Rosenn’ was the oldest boat taking part and two Heard 28s were competing in this class, ‘Susan J’ and ‘Rocket’. There were 13 entries in Division 3 (under 23ft), including four OGA members ‘JayJay’, ‘Jabiru’, ‘Sonnet’ and ‘Step Back in Time’ with ’Skep’, ‘Rosie’, ‘Jaunty’, ‘Kingfisher’, ‘Porthilly Dreamer’, ‘Grace O’Malley’, ‘Pasty’, ‘Waterlily’ and ‘Whimbrel of Watton’. Four of the six entries in Division 1 (28ft and over) were also OGA members, ‘Aeolus’, ‘Polly Agatha’, ‘Ivy Green’ and ‘Grace’ the other two being ‘Morning Star of Revelation’ and ‘Coral of Cowes’. For full results and report from the skipper of winning boat, ‘Ivy Green’, visit the Solent Gaffers website.
For a flavour of the race in the 1960s, the OGA being founded in 1963, watch the archive video footage from these two Pathe Newsreels.
Isle of Wight Roundabout Race, 1963
The Pathe newsreel footage is shot from Mr E Ferguson’s yacht ‘Taffrail’, with commentary throughout from when the gun starts the race at 0630.
Sails up – and race, 1966, Round the Island race, ‘Roundabout’ wins
About one minute into the film, watch out for ‘Betty’, sail no. 361, still sailing with the OGA in 2015 and featured in the OGA online Boat Register.