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John Shuttleworth sisterships win the Hoya around the Island race Grand Prix Class and take 3rd over the line.

The Hoya Round the Island Race is one of the largest races of its kind in the world. Each year a huge range of boats from old gaffers to Americas Cup challengers, and multihulls enter this famous race.

This year there were 1735 entrants and the fastest boat tipped to break the record was the 60ft Grand Prix trimaran "EURE ET LOIR".

Two Shuttleworth Trimarans entered the Grand Prix Class which started 8 pm on Saturday June 16th.

Meridian ( ex Caledonia) and ProVu ( ex Shockwave ) were designed as virtual sisterships. Meridian ( then Caledonia ) won her class in the 1988 OSTAR, breaking the class record by over 6 days. which prompted the subsequent building of Shockwave. Both boats were 30ft LOA, and later Shockwave was lengthened to 34 ft by adding a scoop to the main hull to carry the weight of 5 crew in the Three Peaks race. Shockwave held the Three Peaks race record for a number of years. Both boats have been recently refitted and are being seriously campaigned. Meridian has been optimised for rating and ProVu (Shockwave) for outright performance. This was reflected in the results where Meridian won the Grand Prix class on handicap and ProVu completed the fourth fastest time around the Isle of Wight ever. Coming third over the line. Beating all the monohulls on elapsed time including the open 60 monohulls and the 90 ft LOA "Leopard 2000"

The following race report is by Alistair Wood, the skipper of ProVu.

ProVu Racing - First British boat home in 4th fastest time ever!

Saturday 16th June saw the 2001 edition of the classic Round the Island yacht race, a 51 mile anti-clockwise circuit of the Isle of Wight, which starts and finishes off Cowes. The near record entry of over 1700 yachts, ranged from the awesome 60ft GP trimaran "EURE ET LOIR" (OSTAR record holder) to classic wooden gaffers would start in classes at 10 minute intervals. There were a total of 63 multihull entries.

Although overcast, the SW 4-5 breeze promised a fast trip, with the 60ft trimaran aiming to break the longstanding race record of 3 hrs 55 mins, set in 1986. For this race the regular crew of PROVU (ex-Shockwave) comprising Peter Bryant, Alistair Wood (skipper) and Charles Darbyshire (navigator) were joined by the boat's designer John Shuttleworth. Having studied the entry list, we were aiming for a top 6 finish.

The multihulls were given the first start at 0800, but as usual, during our 10 minute preparatory period, we were jostling for position with several hundred other yachts, many of whom were motorsailing around, awaiting their start. Dodging around to avoid collisions, we made a poor start and were trapped in the dirty air of the boats ahead.

Using PROVU's exceptional windward efficiency, we were soon able to climb above the boats ahead into the top 10, then crack off and focus on catching our competitors ahead on a fetch to Hurst Castle at up to 16 knots. The huge 60ft trimaran, which had hit the front after a cautious start, made an impressive sight balanced on one hull.

By Newtown, we had passed the fastest inshore trimarans and our near sister-ship Meridian to lie 4th behind the 60ft tri and the two incredibly fast all-carbon Formula 28s, TALANCE AQUITAINE and LORIS - the three boats vying for line honours. Approaching Hurst Narrows we worked the tides and a calmer patch to close on LORIS as we hit the tidal rip at Hurst Castle and came hard on the wind for the short beat to the Needles lighthouse at the western end of the course.

Benefiting from their local knowledge, we followed the Formula 28 catamaran LORIS through the infamous gap between the rocks and the wreck of the Varvassi and powered up for the reach to St Catherines light on the southern tip of the Island. Wearing motorcycle goggles to see through the spray, we drove hard through the waves, confident that PROVU would handle the rougher conditions round the back of the island better than the two inshore rocket-ships ahead.

By St Caths, the half-way point of the race, we had moved into third place ahead of LORIS and were holding the gap to TALANCE ahead. With an elapsed time of exactly 2 hours, it was clear that we had a chance to break the race record, which would undoubtedly be smashed by one of the two French trimarans ahead. After a slightly cautious passage through the rough tidal race at St Caths, we hoisted our borrowed spinnaker to gybe down the run to Bembridge.

From here, it was a case of concentration to push hard to the finish. Barring breakages, we wouldn't catch the two boats ahead, but a small error could see the boats behind catch us fast. As TALANCE rounded Bembridge and found the flat water they prefer, they wound it up to disappear at an awesome rate.

We rounded No Man's Land Fort to re-enter the Solent as Charles reported we needed to average 15 knots to break the old record. We powered up to speeds of 19+, with the main hull just kissing the flat water, and spirits were high. Unfortunately it was not to be, as lighter breeze near Osborne Bay dropped our speed below the target.

At 2 minutes past noon, a delighted crew crossed the line to be the first British boat home and record an elapsed time of 4 hours 2 minutes and 36 seconds, just 7 minutes outside the previous race record, but still the fourth fastest time in the race's history.

On corrected time, ProVu was third in the Grand Prix Multihull class, behind Meridian (Shuttleworth 30 tri) and Eure et Loir (Irens 60 tri), which set a new race record in 3hrs, 8 minutes.

ProVu Communications