Tips and hints for Round the Island Race competitors

What advice would you give to competitors preparing for the Round the Island Race?

Richard: Listen to the forecast and visualise/plan each leg of the race accordingly so that you are ready with the correct sail plan at the course corners, which can creep up on you very quickly (especially The Needles).

Libby: Things are bound to change over the course of the race; it is after all a huge distance to sail! Be aware of this and be prepared to change gear at any time. Of course, attending the Raymarine Weather Briefing and signing up for weather updates in advance on the Raymarine website will help you to anticipate when this is most likely to be.

What strategy would you advise to put competitors into a good position off the start line?

Richard: The first leg of the race down towards Hurst incorporates one of the best opportunities to make use of a tidal advantage. The tidal stream running out of the Medina continues as a narrow river down the Western Solent nearly all the way to Hurst. Getting into the extra flow that this creates gives you a significant advantage. From the start head for East Lepe buoy and then Sconce buoy; and then over to the Hurst side of the Channel and down the edge of the Shingles Bank. This should keep you in the maximum ebb flow.

Libby: Keeping clean wind off the start line is really important, especially as there are so many boats around; it will really pay.

What tips do you have for once sailors have rounded The Needles?

Libby: Take care when you round The Needles and be aware of how the tide will change as you start the next leg; tide is generally the dominant factor at the corners.

Richard: Staying inshore at The Needles and St Catherine’s Point will help you to stay out of the tide.   

How can competitors ensure a successful final leg and a strong finish?

Libby: Keep the momentum going! It’s easy to throw things away as you pass Ryde Sands as everyone tires and the wind often decreases here.

Richard: Stay as close as you dare to Ryde Sands to avoid foul tide, but be aware of the exclusion zone that is in place once again this year, marked by a series of inflatable marks extending from the north end of Seagrove Bay. Keep your nerve as you approach the finish, where the wind and waves can change out of rhythm very quickly.

Meteorologist profile: Richard Puddifoot

Richard will be
broadcasting advice on race weather and tides via video on the Raymarine
website in the run up to race day.

  • Established a weather forecasting department at Armajaro Asset Management in 2007, analysing the impact of forecast weather anomalies upon global crop production. Has now worked within Armajaro for 3½ years, trading in commodity futures and options
  • Joined the UK Met Office as a Weather Forecaster as a commercial and aviation forecaster in 2006
  • Graduated with an MSc in Applied Meteorology from Reading University (Distinction) in 2004
  • Principal of RYA recognised Yachtmaster teaching establishment
  • Instructor and Professional Skipper – Swan 53 and Swan 82
  • Weather routing service provider for Pindar Ocean Racing Team and various super-yachts
  • Owner and skipper of Sigma 33 Whippa Snappa – current Class Champions, three-times class winner at Cowes Week. Completed the 2002 ARC Race, with 6 months cruising in the Caribbean. Raced in the Round the Island Race on several occasions, finishing 2nd in class in 2010

Meteorologist profile: Libby Greenhalgh

Libby will be presenting the Weather Briefing live to competitors at the Island Sailing Club on Friday 24th June at 1800.

  • Founded online Professional Sports Forecasting Service in January 2011 –
  • Joined Skandia Team GBR British Sailing Team in 2007 as Meteorologist – including forecasting for the highly successful Sailing team during the 2008 Beijing Olympics; currently working with Skandia Team GBR in preparation for 2012 Olympics
  • Spent three years as a Met Office weather forecaster, based at RAF Odiham, MOD Aberporth and the Outer Hebrides from 2004
  • Graduated with an MSc in Applied Meteorology from Reading University in 2002
  • Forecaster for Commodore’s Cup, Fastnet, RORC offshore racing series, Cowes Week, and for Team Sail Oman in the Tour Voile
  • Winner of a number of J-class championships, including Black Group winner at Cowes Week; regular SB3 and 1720 sailor, former 470 Olympic campaigner