Get Prepped For Round The Island

If you’ve ever sailed or watched the round the island race, then you’ll know what I mean when I say the atmosphere and energy during this event is something else. As a competitor myself, I’ve done my homework for the big event, so you don’t have to. Keep reading to find out what to expect, what to wear and a few useful links.

What to expect

The 91st Round the Island Race will be taking place this Saturday (24th June), and, as one of the largest yacht races in the world, it’s expected around 15,000 sailors will be arriving in Cowes for the event, along with many more spectators. Competitors travel from all over the UK, Europe to race the 50 nautical mile course around the Isle of Wight. With the first start at 0800 the fastest boats are set to finish the race in just a couple of hours, whilst the slowest boats may be sailing past sunset.

If you’re not competing in the race, watching it can be just as fun! Check out the spectator guide below to read about the race village, good vantage points and following along online.

What to wear

The key to clothing for a race like this, is versatility. Throughout the day you can expect lots of weather changes and temperature changes. For the early sail out there, the temperatures will be colder, then during the start, where they’ll be lots of movement, it’ll be warmer. Here, I’ve written a checklist of what I’ll be wearing on the big day. This list can also be used for other race days too.

Base layer

As I’ll be having a very early start to get to the start line on time, I’ll start my day wearing a thermal top and leggings for my base layer. However, if it brightens up a bit during the day, I’ll probably change into my technical top that has moisture wicking properties and keeps me a little cooler.

Outer layers

I always wear a pair of salopettes when I’m out sailing as you never know when you’re going to get wet and it’s much more comfortable to stay dry when racing for the whole day. I’ll also have a middle layer and sailing jacket for the upwind legs. This is mainly for extra warmth and to protect from wind chills but also to protect from splashes when I’m out on the rail.


Whilst most people prefer sailing boots as they provide more coverage, I prefer my sailing trainers as they allow me to be nimbler around the boat.


In terms of accessories, as I’ll be on trim, sailing sunglasses are essential to keep an eye on the sails which might also be in the direction of the sun.

In terms of safety, my skipper will be providing this for me. Usually, this will be up to the skipper but if you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to double-check. If you are a skipper, don’t forget to read the ‘safety booklet’ below and check all your onboard safety equipment.


Useful links

Spectators guide

Latest weather news

Sailing instructions

Safety book

Helly Hansens Kit guide video with Pip Hare


Written by Lucy Harris.

Published on 24th June 2022 in Sailing

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