For many, Hayling is considered the spiritual home of windsurfing, and The Round Hayling Island Race is a great celebration of the sport.
First staged in 1980, the 14 miles circumnavigation can take anything from 60 minutes to six hours.
Now in its 36th year, the challenge is open to competitors of all abilities and encompasses three disciplines: Windsurfing, Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP) and Outrigger Canoes. Competitors can choose to complete a four-mile challenge, nine-mile challenge or the full Round Hayling Island 14-mile course.
This year’s event takes place on Good Friday (25th March). The SUP Company will be providing a mini bus to pick up any competitors who retire on the way round the island, while SailRacer will be tracking all competitors and providing online coverage of the event. Every competitor will receive a free event T-shirt and goody bag, courtesy of The SUP Company.
Last year, in the Windsurfing category, Rob Kent of Calshot made it five wins in a row and completed the course in 2 hours 18.44 mins, with his wife Annette taking the first lady position in 2 hours 36.21 mins.
The current Round Island Windsurfing record has stood since 1992, when Guy Cribb set a record of 58:44 mins. However, it is thought that this may have been beaten by Matt Wemms in 1997 with a time of 56:15 mins.
Guy comments “My favourite area is negotiating the bridge- approaching it at full speed and at the last second dropping the rig down, gliding underneath it, looking at barnacles and hearing traffic, trying to keep the board planing, then lifting the rig back up without it touching the water, feeling the wind fill it again and accelerate towards the open water of the west side. There’s nowhere else in the sailing world that has that obstacle in the middle of a race!”
To find out more about the event history and how to enter, call 01489 559111 or visit www.sailracer.org