It was a 6am departure from the pontoon and a 7am race start on Saturday 27th June 2015. The sun shone brightly in Cowes and the force 4 wind was welcomed (seeing that last year there was pretty much no wind at all for Round the Island Race!).
Almost 1,600 boats were to start the 50 mile race, one of the largest yacht races in the world. A race that attracts novices and families as well as finely tuned professional teams and Olympians. The Challenge Wales team had had a day of training the day prior so by the time the gun started at 7am for the Class 0 start we knew what we should be doing!
Challenge Wales was racing against 5 other Challenge 72’s. Apart from when the boats raced around the world (the last time was 10 years ago) this is the only event where a significant number of the fleet of ex-round-the-world Challenge boats come together to race.
In 2013, Challenge Wales completed the course in under 6 and a half hours. Obviously a 5am start brought out the best in those aboard..ok it was a bit breezy and great conditions for a quick race! A little bit different to the following year where lack of wind meant it took almost 12 hours.
After lots of tacking and a spinnaker run, Challenge Wales crossed the finish line 7 hours 7 minutes and 44 seconds after the start.
Not only did Challenge Wales’ record remain unbeaten in crossing the finish line first of the Challenge 72’s but also beat the Clipper fleet who have just finished racing around the world.
It was a fantastic, memorable achievement for those onboard and the buzz and excitement stayed with the Challenge Wales Team for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Celebrating on the boat and ashore afterwards – it was certainly well deserved.
Today’s voyage was one of our adult fundraisers – meaning anyone over 18 could take part and with an unbeaten record to retain, are you up for the 2016 Round the Island Race Challenge?!
No experience is necessary to take part in Challenge Wales voyages, contact us to register your interest for the 2016 race. Our adult fundraising races and voyages directly help fund youth voyages on Challenge Wales.