RNLI crews preparing for Round the Island Race as Official Race Charity for 2024

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crews on The Solent are gearing up to keep competitors safe in the annual Round the Island Race this Saturday.

The RNLI is the official charity for this year’s race around the Isle of Wight, which typically features more than 1,000 yachts and thousands of amateur and professional sailors.

The charity has been working closely with the race team and The Island Sailing Club to raise funds which will go to the seven RNLI lifeboat stations involved on the day – Cowes, Calshot, Bembridge, Mudeford, Lymington, Portsmouth and Yarmouth. Funds raised will go specifically towards the training of their volunteer crews.

The race starts and ends in Cowes, with the first start at 6am and the competitors racing anti-clockwise around the island.  With winds forecast to be up to 40mph during the race, the RNLI is urging competitors to be aware of the risks and take the necessary measures to stay safe. Competitors can view up-to-date forecasts on the event website www.roundtheisland.org.uk and there will be a weather briefing as part of the race briefing on Friday 14 June at 6pm, Cowes Parade.

Harry Leslie, a Launch Authority at Cowes RNLI has taken part four times and will be involved in overseeing safety cover on Saturday.

He said: ‘Please remember to take measures to stay safe: wear a suitably maintained lifejacket, carry a means for calling for help and call 999/ch 16 on VHF for the Coastguard if needed.

‘With the race starting and ending here we are an integral part of the activities. It affects the town in a positive way. Being the charity partner for the race does, of course, help the institution financially but it also gives the crew a lift to know that their considerable efforts locally are appreciated.’

Organisers The Island Sailing Club and the race team chose the RNLI as the official charity because of its key role in keeping competitors safe for the past 93 years.

Dave Atkinson, Race Director said: ‘The Race Team, RNLI and Coastguard have worked closely together since the first Round the Island Race in 1931 to operate a safe race for all the competitors.  

‘We are incredibly grateful for the safety cover and assistance that the RNLI station teams provide on race day and so we are especially pleased to announce that all the donations raised will go to the seven stations involved in the race and specifically for the training of their volunteer crews.’

Safety of all the participants is integral to the smooth running of the race. RNLI lifeboats from Cowes, Calshot, Bembridge, Mudeford, Lymington, Portsmouth and Yarmouth have been involved in the running of the event for many years and will be strategically positioned around the course. For example, Bembridge RNLI will be positioned with their all-weather Tamar lifeboat on the furthest eastern side of the Isle of Wight and will provide cover for the final leg of the race, whereas Yarmouth RNLI will be positioned with their all-weather Severn class lifeboat at The Needles, the Isle of Wight’s most western point and where the sea conditions can change drastically without warning.

Helly Hansen in partnership with RNLI will be holding a Lifejacket Clinic outside the HH store (121 High St, Cowes PO31 7AY) on Fri 14 June 5-6pm. All competitors are welcome to bring their lifejackets to be checked by a local RNLI volunteer team.

Visit the HH stand in the Official Hospitality Venue on The Parade to take part in their ‘Ready Steady Crew’ challenge to race the clock and get dressed head-to-toe in an RNLI rescue outfit. HH will also be selling a selection of their exclusive RNLI Bicentenary range and sharing Float to Live safety messaging to visitors. You can also visit the Helly Hansen store in Cowes for the full Bicentenary range of products.

If you would like to help us to raise funds towards the training costs of the stations involved in supporting the race please donate via the JustGiving page or there will be local RNLI volunteers roaming around the Official Shoreside Venue on The Parade throughout the race weekend.


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