Sir Ben Ainslie, who is already committed to compete on June 21st for this year’s JPMAM Round the Island Race has accepted an invitation to present the prizes at the ISC’s Race Prizegiving event on Sunday 22nd June.

So, for anyone still wondering whether to compete this year, there is the incentive to win a class and the opportunity to attend the prizegiving and shake the great man’s hand.

During last year’s race Sir Ben set a new race record, on 1st June, on board JP Morgan BAR, his AC45 multihull. This record stands at 2.52.15 beating by an impressive 16 minutes the previous multihull race record set by Francis Joyon in 2001 aboard Dexia Eure et Loire of 3.08.29.

Last year also saw a new monohull race record set by Mike Slade on the 100ft ICAP Leopard and stands at 3.43.50. This was 9 minutes and 45 seconds inside ICAP Leopard’s own race record set back in 2008. This boat has now reverted to being called Leopard and is owned by London-based property developer Mike Slade who will be at the helm and on the hunt for a new sponsor.

Several well known sailors have already signed up to race this year, one with an Isle of Wight connection is Andy Green.

I met Andy some years ago when the Thrust Project, which was based on the Island, had an open event for the public to view Thrust. This was held in conjunction with the IW County Show and there was great excitement with the record breaking vehicle being on display.
Richard Nobel had been the driver for the first Thrust runs in the desert but by 1997 had handed over the piloting to Andy.
On 25 September 1997, he was in Black Rock Desert in the USA and beat the previous record in ThrustSSC, reaching a speed of 714.144 miles per hour (1,149.303 km/h). On October 15, 1997, 50 years and 1 day after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in aerial flight, Andy Green reached 763.035 miles per hour (1,227.986 km/h), the first supersonic record reaching Mach 1.016.

Things should be more sedate for Andy when he and his wife race his Catalina 30 Mk3 Pickle round the 50nm Isle of Wight course on the 21st June.