A crack team of 14 present and past (or just resting) Prime Energy energizers (geddit?) joined the yacht Rona II for the 83rd running of the Round the Island Race in June. For those who don’t know, the Round the Island race is a sailing boat race round the Isle of Wight – all 55 miles of it. The race starts in Cowes and passes such famous points at the Needles, St. Catherine’s Point and back to the Solent before the finish back at Cowes.
We joined the sail training yacht Rona II at her berth in the Hamble on Friday morning from where we sailed to East Cowes. Rona II is one of four boats belonging to the Rona Sailing Project whose aim is to:
“…provide opportunities for young people to acquire those attributes of a seaman, namely a sense of responsibility, resourcefulness and teamwork which will help them throughout their lives…”
Founded in 1960, the project now trains around 2,000 young people a year and since 1960 over 20,000 young people have benefitted from this.
After dinner on board and a modicum of gin, Saturday saw the crew rising at 5:30am after 3-4 hours sleep to make our way to the start where we were on station well before the first boats started at 06:30. Our start time was at 07:10 – conditions were excellent for sunbathing; less so for sailing…
Of the 1535 boats who entered, Rona II finished 228th out of 714 finishers – a brilliant result, due in no small part to fine judgement by the Captain and First Mate in reading the wind (or lack of it) and the tides.
Barry did an excellent job in gathering together a fine crew, ensuring we were fed and watered and managing to sleep more than the rest of the crew put together!
Speaking for myself – and, I’m sure, many of the crew – when we finished after nearly 14 hours at sea, I felt a real sense of achievement and elation at a job well done, some good laughs and a really good day’s sailing.
Following the completion of the Race a glass of bubby may have been had, followed by a trip to Cowes for the after race party before a weary but satisfied crew returned to the Hamble on Sunday.
Well done to all.
Report by Simon Jefferson, 29th June 2014