The annual spectacle of Round the Island Race takes place this coming Saturday 29 June 2019. Attracting over 1,700 boats and 16,000 sailors, it’s one of the largest in the world and the fourth largest sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Run.
Competitors arrive from all over the UK, Europe and as far away as USA in order to follow the 50 nautical mile course that spans around the Isle of Wight. The race starts at the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, then the fleet races west-about to The Needles, round St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.
Here’s our guide to some of the best places to watch the race and fill up on some great food and drink whilst you’re at it…
A lovely spot to start your day, take a walk up Yarmouth Pier and watch the main fleet pass by. Why not try a cuppa in The George Hotel and Beach Club with their stunning ornamental garden overlooking the sea?
Head to The Spyglass Inn for a hearty Full English breakfast as you watch the boats come round from St Catherine’s Point. The terrace of The Spyglass is a lovely vantage point, you might not want to leave.
11.30am-5pm: Culver Down
Set on top of Culver Down, The Culver Haven makes the most of this vantage point. Relax enjoy a pint and a spot of lunch as the boats pass by.
1pm – 7pm: Ryde
Located close to the water’s edge, the Three Buoys restaurant is a brilliant spot to watch the Round the Island race, with the dramatic Portsmouth skyline as the backdrop. Serving fantastic lunches and dinners, booking is advisable.
All day: Cowes Seafront
You can catch the early boats and the late stragglers in Cowes all day. A great base is The Yachtsman on the parade. They are serving a full menu from midday and is a great place to view the race action and soak up the sailing atmosphere.