There are fewer than 24 hours to go before nearly 1,200 boats race around the Isle of Wight in the Round the Island Race, which this year celebrates its 90th anniversary.

It is believed to become the biggest mass participation event to be staged since the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown.

Sailor and Helly Hansen ambassador Pip Hare will be firing the cannon at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, for the first start at 6.30am tomorrow (Saturday), before joining the crew of Belinda.

Showers and south-westerly winds forecast for Round the Island race

David Atkinson, Race Director said: “The focus for this year is organising a great race on the water. Entries have surpassed our expectations."

Isle of Wight County Press: Round the Island Race. Photo by George MillsRound the Island Race. Photo by George Mills

The usual pre-race weather briefing will take place tonight (Friday), led by Chris Tibbs.

Chris said: "It looks like it is going to be a slow start to the race until a weather front passes through late morning, then we will get a nice southwesterly wind with some sunny spells.

"This should get spinnakers flying on the south side of the Island and a good finish to the race."

The prize giving for the Gold Roman Bowl (overall IRC winner) and Silver Gilt Roman Bowl (overall ISCRS winner) will take place at The Island Sailing Club on Sunday.

All other trophies will be awarded on Saturday, 7 August, after Cowes Week.

Isle of Wight-based The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which gives children with cancer the opportunity to sail, has been the official race charity since 2005 and its boat ‘Solent Hero’ will be competing.

Scroll down for how to support the charity...

Isle of Wight County Press: The Ellen MacArthur Trust crew in 2019.The Ellen MacArthur Trust crew in 2019.
Over £300,000 has been raised to help inspire hundreds of young people to believe in a brighter future.

To support the Trust, text RACEFORALL to 70085 to donate £5 (plus one standard rate message) or visit their fundraising page.