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Round the Island 2023 - a rock and roll of a race!

Thirteen Sigma 33s entered this year’s Round the Island Race as part of IRC Group 3 which included 120 boats in four divisions. 

With just over an hour of foul tide to contend with after an 08.50 start, and a freshening SW breeze, competitors had the classic Solent decision to make – mainland or Island shore. 

As it turned out the mainland shore offered the advantage and at the Needles, Princess Jalina (aka Stan the Boat), chartered by David Palmer - a Sigma 33 veteran of the 90s and early 2000s - had established a good six minute lead over Gary Bower’s Kerry Jeane which was followed by Workout and Prospero of Hamble.  

By St Catherine’s Point, with strengthening winds and negative tide, those who delayed their gybesinshore lost ground. As the sea state worsened and 20-27 knot winds became the norm, a lot of rocking and rolling meant gybing skills were more important than ever in the run to Bembridge Ledge. Up for the challenge, Princess Jalina continued to stretch her lead over her fellow Sigmas with Kerry Jeane and Ben Archer’s Kusima in pursuit. But for the IRC and ISC fleets in general, as is so often the case, the conditions on the south side of the Island proved a severe test of racing skills and seamanship. Two multihulls overturned, boats were dismasted, and countless spinnakers blown out. 

For the beat back to Cowes, the lee of the Island provided some respite. Workout made some gains on Kusima with 41 seconds separating them at the finish, but it was Princess Jalina who was the comfortable winner 11 minutes ahead of Kerry Jeane who in turn was 17 minutes ahead of third placed Kusima.   

Overall in the IRC category of the race, Princess Jalina managed a very commendable 23rd place,(335 starters), and 7th in IRC Group 3, highlighting once again the Sigma 33's enduring competitiveness and potential in IRC racing. 



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