FOR ALL those planning to watch the Round the Island Race at one of your favourite vantage points, here is a handy guide to help time your trip out today (Saturday). 

Below is a list of observation points, with the best approximate timings to go and watch one of the world's great yachting spectacles: 

Cowes — although racing started at 6.30am, the best place to watch them finish the race in Cowes will be from Ward Avenue, Baring Road and Castle Hill, to The Parade and the green, either side of the Royal Yacht Squadron from late afternoon until 8pm.

Sconce Point, Freshwater — worth watching from there until around 10.30am. To get there from Yarmouth, drive towards Freshwater, then turn right after half a mile and follow signs to Fort Victoria.

Isle of Wight County Press: The Wes Wight have plenty of great vantage points. FILEThe Wes Wight have plenty of great vantage points. FILE

The Needles Battery — a superb vantage point is south of the Coastguard Station on West High Down until mid-day. To get there from Freshwater or Totland, follow signs to The Needles car park. From there, you can walk up to West High Down.

Chilton Chine, Brighstone — accessible from the Military Road, on the cliffs near Brighstone, you can get a terrific view of the boats as they sail by, through to about 12.30pm.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight County Press: Pictures by Paul Wyeth.Pictures by Paul Wyeth.

St Catherine's Point, Niton — this excellent spot can be reached from Freshwater, Rookley or Ventnor by following the signs to Niton. Take the loop road to the Buddle Inn, where you can park and walk down the cliffs by the lighthouse. The best time to view the yachts is between 10am and 2pm.

Ventnor — between 10.15am and 2.30pm is the best time to watch the yachts sail by, from the cliffs at the west end of the Esplanade.

Bonchurch — near Ventnor, this is another decent place from which to observe the race. The best time to be there is between 10.30am and 3pm. To get there, take the lane down to the sea opposite Bonchurch Pond, take a left turn and park in car park at the bottom.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight County Press: Picture by Paul Wyeth.Picture by Paul Wyeth.

Culver Down — a spectacular spot from which to watch racing, between 11am and 4pm, from as far south as Dunnose Point, sweeping round past Bembridge and towards Ryde. From Brading, take the Bembridge Road. After a mile, turn right and follow the sign for Culver Down, which is on a bend.

Ryde Pier — between 12 noon and 5pm is the best time to watch the action. From Ryde Esplanade, drive up the pier and park at the end.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight County Press: Pictures by Paul Wyeth.Pictures by Paul Wyeth.

There are also some spectacular vantage points on the mainland.

Hurst Point — there is still an opportunity to see the race, until about 11am. From Lymington, drive to Milford-on-Sea, take the road to Keyhaven, but turn right towards Hurst Beach after half a mile. Park at end and walk up Hurst Spit to Hurst Castle.

Gilkicker Point, Gosport — between 12 noon and 6pm, there will be ample opportunity to watch the Round the Island Race. From Gosport drive through Alverstoke towards the golf course, then take the road through the golf course to Gilkicker Point and Fort.

For regular updates on the racing, go to: