As I write this article, sitting on the marina with an espresso and my second pan au chocolat in my hand, it’s a pleasant 16 degrees celsius. Small, white cumulus clouds are drifting aimlessly across a clear blue sky and all's right in the world. Not bad for the end of January, but not unusual either, for those of us lucky enough to be based here, in Gibraltar.
OK, enough of the gloating. We may be based in Gibraltar, but nothing will stop us from our annual repatriation to dear old Blighty in time for the 86th annual Round the Island Race.
As ever, berths are available on a first come - first served basis with both new and existing students and friends welcome to join us and the 12,000 or so competitors from around the globe, who congregate here every year to make this the most special yacht race of the season. But it’s more than that. It’s a festival. It’s fun!
No matter how many times I contemplate competing in this annual regatta, surely the Gumball Rally of the yachting World, I cannot help but get excited. As one of the first events of the English ‘season’, it’s right up there with the The Grand National, Wimbledon, Henley and The Oxford - Cambridge Boat Race.
Sadly, I suspect my best year’s of top-flight professional tennis and competitive rowing are soon to be behind me, but the iconic Round the Island Race is one event I hope to be competing in for many years to come. This year the race is on the 1 July and tides dictate an early start. We should be rounding the Needles (usually a windward mark) with the sun still low in the sky. Is there a better way to spend a fresh Summer’s morning in England? If there is, I can’t think of one.
As ever, we’ll be offering a full package including a training day, the race itself and fun and games ashore afterwards! After all, the Round the Island Race wouldn’t be complete without a pilgrimage to the Yacht Haven’s beer and champagne tents and live bands. We do like a party here at Jolly Parrot.
If you’d like to join us this year for the 86th running of the Round the Island Race, be quick about it. We only have limited space available and we’d love to have you along.