IN WHAT was a historic 90th Round the Island Race, one Isle of Wight sailor made his own little bit of history by winning the coveted Gold Roman Bowl for the second time running.

Sailing in the race’s smallest boat, Eeyore, Gurnard-based Olympic bronze-winning skipper Jo Richards and his crew of Duncan de Boltz and David Rickard repeated their success of 2019 by taking the event’s top prize. 

More than 1,200 vessels and 7,000 sailors took part in this year’s 51.1 nautical mile circumnavigation of the Island.

The crew certainly had to put in the donkey work to repeat their feat of two years ago on board the 18ft long bilge keel, from Cowes.

WATCH: Highlights of Eeyore's winning Round the Island Race day

Scroll down for pictures of Eeyore and the crew

Despite the varied, challenging conditions at sea, Eeyore completed the race in 9hrs 6mins 31 secs — reduced to 6.59.43 on corrected time.

They beat the 2018 Gold Roman Bowl winner, Ross Applebey’s High Potential, by just 34 seconds on corrected time. 

Isle of Wight County Press:

A member of Gurnard Sailing Club and Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, Jo was delighted with the win — and to retain the trophy.

Jo said: “The thing with the Round the Island Race is that it’s like buses — you wait years and years and then two come along consecutively. 

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight County Press:

“It was an interesting race. We had a shocking first leg down to The Needles, but luckily there was a little bit of a lull under the cliffs and we got back into our class. From then on it was really tight. 

“When we got to Bembridge Ledge, having got the rating list out, we knew we had to finish a minute and a half ahead of one boat and three minutes ahead of another. 

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight County Press:

“It was pretty tense the whole way back and, being the smallest boat in the fleet, you’ve got no control if a 55ft boat sits on top of you. 

“It was only when we got back to shore and people starting texting, we thought we might’ve won. It was a great day out.”