What is the Round the Island Race?


What is the Round the Island Race?

RTIR is an annual yacht race round the Isle of Wight. It’s one of the largest yacht races in the world, and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK. The startline is at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, then the boats race the 50 nautical mile course anticlockwise around the Isle of Wight, with the finish line back in Cowes. Full history of the race is on the RTIR website.

How many boats are racing this year?

This year the race is on Saturday 1 July, and there are 1342 boats entered. Each boat has an average of at least 6 crew, so whilst not all boat crews stay in the town, Cowes does get very busy after the race on the Saturday evening.

Where can I watch it?

Don’t miss the start line at The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. This year the start is at 5.30am, but it’s worth the early alarm. Don’t forget to take your binoculars. Some of the cafes and restaurants will be open for early breakfasts, such as The Little Gloster at Gurnard. During the day, Cowes quietens down, so it’s a good time to have a leisurely lunch and do a spot of shopping.

If you have a car, or are quite fit on a cycle, you can follow the race around the island. The RTIR handy guide lists the vantage points and approximate times you will see the boats. Note the broad time range as fastest boats will get around very quickly, whilst the slower ones have been known to take 12 hours on a calm day.

  • Sconce Point 0700-0930

  • The Needles 0730-1000

  • Chilton Chine 0815-1130

  • St Catherine’s Point 0900-1300

  • Ventor 0915-1330

  • Bonchurch 0930-1400

  • Culver Down 1000-1530

  • Ryde Pier 1100-1700

  • Cowes 0930-2200

How can I join in the atmosphere?

You don’t need to have sailed in the race to join in the atmosphere. Cowes is buzzing both on the Friday night before the race, and on Saturday evening after the race. If you want to eat out, make sure you book early, otherwise just wander around the streets or visit the Race Tent in the Yacht Haven, grab a beer and soak up the atmosphere. See the RTIR handy guide for the schedule of live music in the Yacht Haven Race Village.

What will Firefly House be doing for RTI?

One half of Firefly will be racing around in one of the slowest boats. Despite the boat’s speed however, they are trying to beat their previous position of 3rd overall on handicap. Fortunately there looks to be a bit of breeze this weekend, so they will hopefully get back in time for dinner!

The other half of Firelfy House will be driving around with the spaniel, trying to get a glimpse of the slowest boats in the race!!

And after it’s all finished, we’ll be soaking some of the atmosphere in the Island Sailing Club, the Pier View, and/or at the Yacht Haven Race Village tent.