For a flavour of this famous race round the Isle of Wight in the 1960s, watch two archive videos from Pathe Newsreels.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.
The first Pathe newsreel footage from 1963 is shot from Mr E Ferguson’s yacht ‘Taffrail’, with commentary throughout from when the gun starts the race at 0630.
The second newsreel ‘Sails up – and racing’, 1966, is in colour. The commentary is detailed, with stirring music. ‘Roundabout’ wins and about one minute into the film, watch out for ‘Betty’, sail no. 361, still sailing with the OGA in 2015.
Created at the beginning of the 20th Century by the Pathé brothers, the newsreel was the world’s first televised news platform. Pioneering the technology and methods of cinema, British Pathé stayed at the forefront of filmed news for decades. Releasing three newsreels a week during that period, British Pathé was the way the people of Britain experienced world events until the advent of television.