Every year in June, over 16,000 sailors ranging from Olympic gold medallists and world champions to family crews and those trying their hand at racing for the first time, compete in a unique yacht race around the Isle of Wight. It is organised by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes and is called the Round the Island Race.
In most racing events the top prize usually goes to the first entry across the finish line, which is where the Round the Island Race differs. The coveted prize is the Gold Roman Bowl that is won by the crew with the best corrected time, worked out through a handicap system. This means big or small, professional or amateur, all crews have the opportunity to win the grand prize. Competitors come from all over the UK and mainland Europe and from as far away as the USA to follow the 50 nautical mile course around the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the fleet races westabout to The Needles, around St Catherine's Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and then the fleets heads back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.
“Round the Island in 80 years” is a feast of imagery, anecdotes and individuals, brought together to celebrate a milestone in the history of yacht racing. The photography from the Round the Island Race has always been spectacular and so the idea behind this exhibition is to showcase some of the best and most memorable race photography spanning eight decades. This is an iconic race has become on the UK’s sporting calendar.
Karren May – Curator of the Exhibition
Karren May, the photography archivist ,former Picture Editor at Yachting World magazine and former owner/Director of the award winning Bluegreen Picture Agency, has managed the research and production of the Exhibition. This has involved digging deep into the archives of many celebrated photographers including Beken of Cowes, Kirk of Cowes and Eileen
Ramsay, looking back through 80 years of images, including glass plates, to source the very best images to portray the story of this spectacular event.
As well as featuring the images and stories of sporting, political and sailing legends that have competed in the Race, the Exhibition organisers have maintained the Race ethos ‘A Race for all’, by showcasing the memories and pictures of the everyday sailors who have taken part, or been involved in, the Race.
Download the full exhibition catalogue with all image credits for the Round the Island Race exhibition here.
The Exhibition will be displayed in two separate locations, a public display on the Isle of Wight at the Quay Arts Gallery (14-19 June) when it will relocate to the Race Village in Cowes Yacht Haven (24-26 June) during the Race weekend for all the competitors and Race fans to enjoy.
All Exhibition images will be available for purchase, with proceeds being donated to the Official Race Charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.