THE coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on the sporting world and even with lockdown restrictions being eased, there still remains a shadow of uncertainty cast over the short-term future of sport on the Isle of Wight ­— none more so than sailing.

With cornerstone events such as Cowes Week and Cowes Classic Week now cancelled, and the future of this year’s Round the Island Race (RTIR) unresolved, it’s possible there may be no large-scale events on The Solent this calender year.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Discussing where the future lies, Isle of Wight Sailing Club sailing secretary, Ben Ferris, said: “I couldn’t give you an answer on that to be honest.

“It’s a question you just can’t answer. The world is changing ­— the world is going to change ­— and we’re going to have to live our lives differently.

Isle of Wight County Press:

“The town’s reputation shouldn’t be affected, provided we all do the right thing, which is adhere to the advice that’s given to us.

“I think the reputation of the town will always stand, because I think people are very sensible.”

Regarding the RTIR still scheduled to take place in September, Ben said “no final decision has been made yet” but a definitive answer should come “in the near future”.

Isle of Wight County Press:

“If there’s even a chance of another spike, we wouldn’t do anything,” said Ben.

David Gower, of the Royal London Yacht Club (RLYC), believes there is a “good chance” the RTIR can go ahead this year, bringing celebration and much-needed trade to the Island.

“I think there are many parallels with the Second World War, without being too overly dramatic,” said David.

Isle of Wight County Press:

“That was the last time Cowes Week was cancelled ­— that’s the scale of what we’re talking about.

“We have been faced with an extraordinary situation, and at the end of the day, it is just a sport.

“We can live without it for one year.

“We are already planning for Cowes Classics week 2021, with some new, exciting initiatives.

Isle of Wight County Press:

“If we had tried to run a regatta on a reduced basis, I think people would’ve remembered a very poor regatta ­— not a fair reflection.

“We have a unique problem, and we must deal with it responsibly.

“For yacht racing, I hope the Isle of Wight will embrace it as it has done for 182 years in the case of the RLYC.

Isle of Wight County Press:

“It’s a source of huge employment, and Cowes is still the iconic, world centre for yacht racing.

“People from all over the world love coming to Cowes, and treat it almost religiously.

“It will come back.”