Eeyore claims Round the Island's Gold Roman Bowl

The fleet approaches The Needles during this year's Round the Island Race Picture: George Mills
The fleet approaches The Needles during this year's Round the Island Race Picture: George Mills
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Eeyore claimed the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl after winning this year’s Round the Island Race.

With a crew of just three, including skipper Joe Richards and his friends David Rickard and Duncan De Boltz, the 18-foot bilge keel from Cowes was the smallest boat in the race.
Completing the course around the Isle of Wight in a time of 13hr, 36min and 31sec, Eeyore lifted the top prize on a handicap rating, with Yves Le Blevec’s

Graghjghnd Prix racing multihull, Actual Leader, the first across the line in a time of 7:33:36.

More than 1,200 entries contended with fluctuating wind speeds from every direction on Saturday, with only 257 boats completing the race before the 10.30pm deadline.  

A member of Gurnard Sailing Club and Cowes Corinthian, Richards said: 'It was an interesting but long race.

‘We actually started at the opposite end of the line from the rest of the fleet which paid us reasonably well in the end. 

'We got down to The Needles middle of the fleet and then there was almost no wind. 

'We bounced off a couple of rocks on The Needles just for good measure and then it’s tempting to stay out of the tide and we did a couple of little tacks and thought "no we need to be strong minded and go out", because you always get a wind bend down off Freshwater and if you sail along under the cliffs it just leaves you in a hole eventually.'
With two second-placed finishes under his belt before Saturday's win, Richards said he was hoping his luck would change.
'It’s probably about time, isn’t it?,' he added.  

He added: 'We’ve been second a couple of times over the years but the reality is there are some very good sailors out there and very good boats - you’ve got to be lucky and get the breaks. 

'Unless you’ve done the preparation and put yourself in a position to get the breaks it doesn’t happen, but you do still have to be lucky.'