Round the Island race

(8 customer reviews)


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Polka – John Franks Trophy Winners 2018 & 2019

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 in Cowes, the 60-mile course take us back to Cowes for a well-deserved drink!

Option Desciption Availability Price Book
Round the Island race - Round the Island 2020 (29th - 31st May) Round the Island 2020 (29th - 31st May) (4 berths left) £575.00
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More info

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 take 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.

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.

Staring from Hamble, we’ll 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, berthing on 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.


3 Day Event

28th June 2019 – Training Day – liaising in Hamble at 0930 for a race tactics briefing ashore, training day and a relaxed dinner in Hamble.

29th June 2019 – Race Day, an early start (usually around 7 am), race around the island and spend the evening in Cowes.

30th June 2019 – Sail back to Hamble after a leisurely breakfast ashore, we finish early afternoon.

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).

We sail from Hamble Yacht Services. Our adventures start here! Hamble Yacht Services offers easy access from the M27, has plenty of parking and nearby access to the bars and restaurants of Hamble.

There’s plenty of free parking on site.

What’s included / what to bring

All our racing options include:

  • Accommodation on board the yacht, including meals, drinks and snack (meals and drinks ashore are not included)
  • Lifejacket and safety harness
  • All race entry fees
  • All yacht expenses (berthing & fuel)
  • Professionally qualified, insured  Skipper
  • Polka Sailing Team Polo shirt

What you’ll need to bring:

  • Enthusiasm and a willingness to get involved!
  • Wet weather gear – An outer, waterproof layer, with a hood

Marine Superstore has good pricing & normally a good ‘Sail Rail‘. We can also secure a discount on full price Musto clothing. Get in touch to find out more.

  • Several warm layers
  • Sailing gloves (not just for warmth, for handling ropes)
  • Waterproof, non-marking boots
  • Non-marking shoes or trainers
  • Sunhat (or cap)
  • Suncream
  • Sunglasses – polarised are best as they got glare
  • Sleeping bag
  • Quick drying towel

For offshore racing, we also recommend:

  • Warm hat for night sailing (in addition to a sunhat)
  • AIS PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) – Click here for options
  • Eye mask and earplugs (may help you sleep better when off watch!)


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4.88 out of 5 stars

8 reviews

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7 reviews with a 5-star rating

  1. philip

    A fabulous experience!

    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!

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  2. Andrew

    Round the Island Race 2019

    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.

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  3. gary.rowland

    Perfection Personified

    gary.rowland (verified owner)

    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!

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  4. gabriellagiuffre

    Round the Island Race 2018

    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.

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  5. richardjcrafts

    Polka Sailing - The Winning Team

    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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  6. James Clarke

    Dinghy sailor tries yacht racing!

    James Clarke

    Everything was above expectation, this was my first yacht race. (I’m a dinghy racer). We had strong winds this year and Marcus made decisions that kept us in the race. He was calm and controlled throughout. I will come back again to race again, once all my muscles have recovered!

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  7. Shirley


    Marcus kept a really good atmosphere going and was unflappable when under pressure

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