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Race Press Conference officially launches Britain’s favourite yacht race
The Island sailing Club hosted the 2010 Race Press Conference at midday today. The sun shone, the media arrived in their droves, along with some of the best-known racing teams in the world, charity representatives and celebrities from the world of sport and TV.
Introducing the proceedings, the assembled gathering heard from the Commodore of the Island Sailing Club, Bill Pimlott who welcomed everyone, explained that the very early start of 0500 was owing to tides and this year is exceptional. He went on to praise the 200 or so volunteers who give up their time to bring this amazing event to life. Bill also highlighted the family element of the race and that it is always a great day out for everyone involved. He concluded by thanking the title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management for their continued sponsorship support and huge involvement.
Following on from Bill, we were introduced to Roger Thompson, the new UK Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management who said that the partnership with the ISC and the Race worked extremely well and just gets better every year. He continued, “the introduction of tracking is an experiment this year but we hope it further enhances the event for everyone.”
On the charity fundraising front, Roger went on to say that the Race has raised £350,000 in the last three years and they hope to take this up to £500,000 this year and a £I million by 2012.
Sailing on Challenge Macmillan is Iwan Thomas, a former Olympic athlete who represented GB and Northern Ireland in the 400m and then represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games.
Mike Perham is sailing on Challenge Prostate UK. Mike was only 17 when he became the youngest person to sail round the world solo in a 50ft racing yacht over 164 days, completing his journey in August 2009.
The Charity Cup is presented each year for the most money raised for a charity during the Race. Last year it was the team at J.P. Morgan who raised the most for charity - £17,694.11 for the Ellen MacArthur Trust. In the last four years J.P. Morgan Bournemouth has raised nearly £50,000 for the Ellen MacArthur Trust. Daisy Skeplethon from the Ellen MacArthur Trust went up on stage with Andy Graham and Gary Hall from J.P. Morgan Bournemouth team for the presentation.
The four Extreme 40s were fully represented at the press conference with the skipper of last year’s line honours multihull winner Oman Sail Masirah, Loick Peyron on stage and telling the inimitable Richard Simmonds, the MC, that he wasn’t that interested in setting records, “we just want to win!” Meanwhile it was great to see Mike Golding and his team from Ecover and Nick Moloney who is at the helm of Team Metherell.
Finally Paul Campbell-James is skippering Oman The Wave, Muscat. At only 27 years old he already has two world championships and 17 national titles under his belt!
On the stage, alongside the sailing superstars was The Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry who is sailing with Ben Ainslie on the Prince’s Trust yacht. Then Scott Waddington was introduced. Who? You may well ask! Well, Scott is the owner and skipper of the oldest boat in this year’s race, Nellie, an Itchen Ferry built in 1862. He talked lovingly about how he had inherited the boat from his father and has restored over the years to re-launch just last month. Despite Nellie's 148 years, she has never been sailed around the Island, making this year's Race a most auspicious occasion