Round The Island Race

18 June 2010, 13:09 | Updated: 18 June 2010, 15:33

Three of Britain’s Gold medallists go head to head in the UK’s favourite yacht race on Saturday (19th June).

Ben Ainslie will compete against Shirley Robertson and Paul Goodison in the J.P. Morgan Round the Island Race.

Ben holds three gold medals against Shirley’s two and Paul’s one. But they won’t be the only ones on the water. 16 thousand sailors will battle the wind and tides around the 50 mile course.

The race is the fourth biggest participation event in the UK. Race starts at 5am off Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The whole thing starts of at 5am Saturday 19 June with 1,754 boats and 16,000 sailors taking part.

It's the one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.

Staged over a 50 nautical mile course around the Isle of Wight, starting and finishing in Cowes, the centre of British yachting.

Famous Faces taking part include:

Dame Ellen Macarthur fires the start gun from the Royal Yacht Squadron at 5am on Saturday 19 June.

Shirley Robertson - the first British athlete to win consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004

Ben Ainslie - Britain’s most successful sailor of all time, a triple gold Olympic medallist.  He will be sailing with a group of young ambassadors from the Prince’s Trust.

Paul Goodison - currently the World number one Laser sailor, an Olympic Gold medallist, European and British Champion.   He is currently campaigning for a second medal at the London 2012 Olympics in the laser class

Francis Joyon - Top French sailor, he currently holds the Round the Island Race record for the fastest multihull which he set at 3 hours 8 minutes and 29 seconds in 2001

Mike Golding - the first person ever to race single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions. He is one of two British sailors ever to have stood on the podium in the Vendee Globe, round the world race.  In 2010 he takes on the Extreme Sailing Series for the second year, onboard the Ecover Extreme 40.

The race is organised by the Island Sailing Club. Entries come from all over the UK, mainland Europe and as far away as the USA. It is an all-encompassing event that caters for and embraces its entrants on equal terms from first timers, families, amateurs and professionals, and including world champions and Olympic medallists competing at the highest level.

Spectators are well catered for with a variety of on shore entertainment and there are some superb vantage points on the mainland and around the Isle of Wight.  Armchair pundits can monitor the race progress on the website, via live text commentary and – new for 2010 – Twitter and the live Race Tracker click here