Crewed racing back on agenda
Inshore yacht racing has finally resumed in Britain after the long hiatus during lockdown. The first major event was the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Race the Wight, which saw 133 boats race around the Isle of Wight in brisk conditions on 1 August. Mike Bartholomew’s GP42 Tokoloshe II took both monohull line honours and won the race overall on
IRC, while multihull line honours went to the MOD70 Powerplay, helmed by Pete Cunningham.
Although a much smaller fleet than the (now cancelled) annual Round the Island Race draws, the race attracted familiar names including Giovanni Belgrano’s Whooper, which was 2nd overall, and Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster.
Many crews sailed with reduced numbers due to COVID-19 measures. Tokoloshe’s David Bartholomew said: “It was a quick race for us, I think our fastest is about five hours and that was with a crew of ten. So, to get around in five hours and thirty minutes, with just six crew, was a great effort.”
Ben Cooper, who was sailing on the Fast 40+ INO, reported: “We stayed true to government guidelines with temperature checks before leaving the dock, sailed with six crew, and respected social distancing – quite a challenge during some manoeuvres!” The race raised over £5,000 for NHS charities and the Scaramouche Sailing Trust.
RORC has also run a Summer Series of short coastal races that has seen a strong turnout of double-handed entries. Among them are double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson and Volvo Ocean Race and Figaro sailor Henry Bomby, who have teamed up with an eye to the Olympic double-handed offshore event at the 2024 Paris Games.