Round the Island race

(9 customer reviews)


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Join us for the Worlds largest yacht race!

This fun-packed race weekend around the Isle of Wight culminates in an evening of entertainment in Cowes. An anti-clockwise drag race starting from Cowes, the 60-mile course take us back for a well-deserved drink!

Round the Island Race – John Franks Trophy Winners 2018 & 2019

Every year the Island Sailing Club run the worlds’ biggest yacht race. More than 1,600 boats and 12,000 crew take part in the Cloudy Bay Round the Island Race. It’s a one-lap, round the Isle of Wight drag race. Starting in Cowes, the 60-mile course takes us back to Cowes for a well-deserved drink! Accommodation is onboard on Friday and Saturday night. You can let your hair down on Saturday night and enjoy the party atmosphere in Cowes.

Staring from Hamble, we meet on Friday for a training day, starting with a safety briefing followed by on-the-water training. We’ll get to know the boat and one another whilst practising some manoeuvres. Saturday is race day and an early start departing from Hamble. We berth in Cowes at the end of the race. Following celebrations on Saturday night, Sunday is a leisurely sail back to Hamble.

One thing’s for certain, you’ll leave with many happy memories and some good friends. This truly famous race is something everyone should do in their lifetime.

Record-breaking years

2017’s Round the Island race saw Concise 10 setting a new record by completing the course in a remarkable 2hrs, 22mins & 23 seconds, beating the old record by 1min! Basically, they were back home in time for breakfast! 2018, however, had a record of the longest time for the first boat to cross the finish line!

No experience required

Whether you are an experienced racer or have no sailing experience, this is a great weekend and you’ll be part of a team enjoying the thrill of this world-famous event. Although the race is only one day, the package covers 3 days of sailing and you’ll be sure to clock up some great sailing miles. If you’re looking to do RYA courses, this is a great addition to your CV. From complete novice to competent crew to budding skippers we’ll make sure you get the experience you’re looking for and learn something new from the weekend, after all, on a boat, every day’s a school day. 

Polka – GBR912R

Polka is a meticulously maintained Beneteau First 34.7, fully race prepared. She has a carbon mast and rod rigging and flies an asymmetric spinnaker from a retractable carbon bowsprit.
We carry a full race sail inventory including:

  • Carbon Membrane Main Sail
  • Membrane Jibs (No. 1 & No. 3)
  • Heavy Weather Jib
  • Storm Jib
  • TrySail
  • Code 0 Asymmetric
  • A2 Asymmetric
  • A4 Asymmetric

Polka is MCA coded and compliant with ISAF category 1 offshore racing. She carries all the latest safety equipment, above and beyond the requirements of both bodies. All crew whilst onboard have a Spinlock Pro-sensor lifejacket allocated for their use. (The Skippers rules when to wear them will be applied at all times).


9 reviews for Round the Island race

  1. Clive Burr (verified owner)

    Hi Marcus,
    Just a couple of suggestions:

    1. On the 1st day you may want to ask “what do want to get out of the weekend?” I was very happy as the last two years I had been on the bow so I thoroughly enjoyed being on the main sheet.

    2. Lots of skippers have slightly different terms when going about and counting down to the maneuver. I thought it worked better when you started to count down 3,2,1 after saying going about.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. You were well organised and it made a great change to have a good skipper that knew how to race very well and knew his boat extremely well.

    It was also good to stay in Cowes for Saturday evening and have a leisurely sail back on the Sunday, instead of heading home on Saturday.

    I will definitely book again.

    Thanks for a great weekend.


  2. Ernest John N. (verified owner)

    Fantastic weekend on the water for the Isle of Wight Round the Island Race. Marcus is a highly experienced racing skipper; s/v Polka is superbly maintained & prepared, with high quality sails & equipment all in excellent condition. The Solent co-operated with 20-30kn of wind, all adding to a memorable weekend, with Marcus guiding the team safely across the finish line.

  3. Richard Crafts (verified owner)

    gbEngland, United Kingdom

    Round The Island Race 2021 – What a great experiance, I learnt a lot and had a great time with Marcus and the crew. Thanks everyone

  4. Philip G. (verified owner)

    gbEngland, United Kingdom

    Had a great time with Polka Sailing taking part in the 2019 Round the Island Race. Really welcoming, great boat, learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it – would recommend to anyone.

  5. philip (verified owner)

    Just had a great weekend with Polka Sailing taking part in the 2019 Round the Island Race. We had slightly frustrating weather – we were becalmed for a while – but the whole experience was amazing and I would thoroughly recommend it! Marcus is a great skipper – he pushed us to do our best and I learnt so much. If you’ve never competed in the Round the Island before then do it, and if you are going to do it then book with Polka Sailing. Fabulous!

  6. Andrew (verified owner)

    What a weekend. Just completed the Round The Island Race 2019 with Polka Sailing,
    managing to win the John Franks Trophy (best IRC school boat) for the second year. What a spectacle to see so many yachts racing in close quarters. Very mixed wind conditions with many retiring when the whole fleet was becalmed for an hour and a half. Over 13 hours to complete the course, but we made it. A fun weekend, thanks to my fellow crew mates for all the hard work and of course to Marcus getting us there.

  7. gary.rowland

    This event is not to be missed. Even in 2018 when winds dropped and temperatures soared Polka Sailing crafted a superlative experience. I can confidently say Marcus is the best all-round skipper to lead a diverse group of individuals to success. Marcus and Ilona work hard as a team to achieve the balance between adventure, essential experience for skippers-in-training, and competition. Marcus has the unique skills required to put everyone at ease and allow individuals to find their true potential. 5 stars is an under-statement. Looking forward to the next event!

  8. gabriellagiuffre (verified owner)

    It was a great weekend racing at one of the most iconic races in the sailing calendar. We had a good day training in preparation for the race with plenty of tips and learning points on racing tactics. The race was very challenging due to very light winds, however our skipper Marcus got us through the long day racing. He navigated us through wind holes, variable conditions and a lot of maneuvering in very close quarters at key points/markers in the race where we were jostling for position with hundred of boats with very little wind. Despite the conditions we placed very well overall and won a trophy. All of this made for an unforgettable Round the Island race.

  9. richardjcrafts (verified owner)

    Just completed Round The Island Race 2018 with Polka Racing and what a great weekend. The conditions were difficult with limited wind but the sun was out and it was a really fun weekend.
    I enjoyed it all and learnt a lot – Marcus’s approach is the perfect balance to get the best out of the boat and learn at the same time, it was great to be a part of the team and win the Sailing School Competition 2018.

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