Windy conditions for Sunsail's fleet at the Round the Island Race

Saturday 30th June saw the 81st running of the JP Morgan Round the Island Race and as usual, Sunsail were there en-mass with their fleet of F40’s, in amongst the 1647 entrants.

With forecasts ranging from 15 – 30kts, whatever was going to happen, we knew it was going to be windy!

The F40 start was at 7.20am, a more reasonable start time compared to previous years and with the other fleets due to start with Sunsail having had their race cancelled, they had the start line to themselves. Even with a less crowded start line, one boat was still over!

After 2 hours of some pretty hard upwind sailing, it was time to round the Needles and at this stage, the wind was starting to increase with gusts upwards of 30kts!

Round the back of the island, it was decision time whether to hoist spinnakers or play safe. After speaking to one of the skippers after the race, they were in the process of hoisting their spinnaker when they looked back upwind and saw several boats broaching under spinnaker, he decided it would be best to pole out the genoa instead! A decision that turned out to be a good one!

By midday the leading F40’s were now sailing past St Lawrence on the SE side of the island, with many more having rounded the half way mark of St Catherine’s Point and by 1.30pm the leaders were rounding Bembridge Ledge for the final slog up the Solent.

A breakaway by two boats, 4002 and 4016 up the final few miles gave for some close racing, Stéphane Baseden (4002) took line honours from Jose Bello (4016), with only a few minutes separating them after 7 hours of racing.

In winning, Stéphane also knocked 10 minutes off last years’ time. Will we see the race completed in under 7 hours next year?

Congratulations to Stéphane and the rest of his team and all those who took part. It was also great to see the whole Sunsail Fleet complete the race.

Overall Results: (top five with elapsed times)

1st 4002 Stephane Baseden, 07:09:28
2nd 4016 Jose Bello, 07:11:24
3rd 4033 Pete Walters / JP Morgan Bournemouth SC, 07:23:47
4th 4004 Ian McMillan, 07:32:18
5th 4040 Stuart Bancroft, 07:33:30

Full results can be found here

If you wish to race with Sunsail on the F40’s come and join us at Cowes Week. The Sunsail Racing Series also continues from now through to October.

For further details on the racing series or Sunsail Racing in general, please contact Terry Hunt at

Image caption and copyright: Stephane Baseden wins the Sunsail F40 class in the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2012. © Patrick Eden Photography