The annual Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island situated off the south coast of England. The race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largests yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
Competitors come from all over the UK, other parts of Europe and as far away as the USA to follow the 50 nautical mile course round the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the fleet races westabout, to The Needles, round St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.
Spectators can find many vantage points, both on the mainland and Isle of Wight, to watch the race progress. The first start in Cowes was at 8.30am in 2016, and you can find more information about where the boats typically are at different times during the day by clicking here. Those who cannot get to watch in person can always keep an eye on the race’s progress on the website, via our live text commentary and our boat tracking facility.
Explore our great Christmas and New Year Events happening across the Isle of Wight over this festive period.
Our listings provide a comprehensive guide to all events and festivals with ideas to suit all ages, interests and budgets.