South West London sailors stand out from the crowd in Round the Island Race debut

By Pippa Field

Sailors Kate Hudson and Lizzie Hollick made sure to stand out from the crowd on their J.P Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race debut on Saturday, decking themselves from head to foot in fancy dress.

Hudson, of Wandsworth, and Wimbledon’s Hollick, were among 16,000 competitors who contested the 83rd edition of the 50-nautical mile circuit around the Isle of Wight on Saturday.

It came after the pair, along with fellow friend Joanna Hancock, successfully bid for the sail on charter yacht, Jeopardy II, in an auction of promises raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support last autumn.

Sharing the seas with the likes of five-time Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie and Dame Ellen MacArthur, the friends were out to enjoy themselves decked as a mermaid, shark and crab.

And while less than favourable wind conditions made for a long day on the water for all involved, Hollick, who works as a freelance TV producer, could not wipe the smile off her face.

“Beforehand I was just thinking about how funny we were going to look walking down to the harbour from the hotel at 5am dressed in our fancy dress,” said the 33-year-old.

“There was lots of laughter on the boat, we were led by skipper Nick Barlow along with two other crew members Mike Barrier and Phil Price who helped us out.

“We actually bid for the boat the year before and went out for a sail in the Solent and enjoyed it so much that we jumped at the chance to bid for the boat again. And then we were also racing money for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust at the same time.”

With wind at a minimum, racing was well off the record pace set by Sir Ben Ainslie in 2013 with line honours this time round going to Pete Cumming aboard GC32 Team Richard Mille in 8hrs 51mins 37secs.

Of the 1,584 boats who entered the race, only 717 successfully finished the race over the course of the day with Hudson and Hollick on board Jeopardy II among that number, finishing in 262nd place overall in 12hrs 03mins 04secs.

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (Saturday 21st June) is one of the largest participation sporting events in the UK and the largest yacht race of its kind in the world. Organised by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes, it is dubbed ‘Britain’s favourite yacht race’, regularly attracting around 1,500 boats and 16,000 competitors.
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