Round the Island Race 2021: How to follow – a spectator’s guide

Don’t miss any of the action from the Round the Island Race 2021 with this spectator’s guide. We outline the various ways you can keep up to date with the race from shoreside or from home

The Needles is just one of the great vantage points from which to watch the Round the Island Race. Photo: Paul Wyeth

The Round the Island Race is one of the most popular sailing races in the world, regularly seeing thousands of boats taking part. Not only that, but it is one of the few occasions in sport that manages to bring such a diverse range of entrants together to compete with one another.

This year the Round the Island race celebrates its 90th anniversary. What began as a race for 25 starters in 1931 has grown and grown to a peak of over 1,800 competitors. For many sailors, the Round the Island Race is a once-a year, not-to-be-missed jolly on a summer’s day. For others it is a battle of wits over a complex course, involving changing currents, unpredictable breezes and idiosyncratic tides.

Many competing will be big names in the sport with Olympians and offshore legends regularly taking part. As such, the Round the Island Race does represent something of a unique days sailing, offering the chance to directly test yourself against sailing heroes.

As with much of the sporting calendar in 2020, the Round the Island Race was initially postponed until September 2020 and eventually cancelled altogether when it became clear the even could not be run in a Covid-19 rules compliant fashion.

As such the Round the Island Race 2021 will mark a return for the race after a year’s gap. With international travel still restricted and Covid-19 still an issue, it is not likely to be the record breaking year that might have been hoped for a return after a fallow year, but there are still plenty of entries already to make this a celebratory start of the UK’s sailing season proper.

When does the Round the Island Race start?

With so many boats taking part it would be all but impossible to get everyone underway in one go. As such the Round the Island Race competitors are split into fleets of vessels with similar performance levels.

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