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Sailors from across the UK are preparing to take part in the longest dinghy and board race in Europe, held right here in Kent.
The Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club’s Round the Island Race will take place this Saturday, August 30.
It’s the 56th event and is likely to attract enthusiasts from across the country.
Club commodore Tim Harris says traditionally it’s been more sailing dinghies and catamarans which take part, but recently it has diversified with windsurfers and paddle-boarders joining.
There will even be one competitor braving the waters in a kayak with a sail attached to the back, for the first time ever.
“We have had quite a lot of interest from paddle-boarders this year and rowing clubs including Queenborough,” he said.
Club members have in the past welcomed in the region of 300 boats, but the numbers really depend on the weather forecast. They would be happy with 100 plus entries this time as it’s an important source of income for the club.
Best places from which to watch the action include the Kingsferry Bridge, Harty, the Minster Leas, Leysdown and Shellness.
“The Kingsferry Bridge is where you get the most excitement with people turning the boats over – there’s often a bit of drama there,” Mr Harris said.
Registration, which costs £25 in advance or £30 on the day, opens at 7am.
There are four different starts to the 40-mile race, which is worked out on handicap, and a separate one for the paddle-boarders. Slower boats start at 10.30am; medium speed at 11am; fast dinghy, mono-hulls and slower catamarans at 11.30am and faster catamarans at midday.
It all starts and finishes at the club in Marine Parade, Sheerness, where there will also be a burger wagon and refreshments.
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