Sailing round the Isle of Wight . . . with accordions!

Our beautiful classic boat Black Diamond celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2012.


We wanted to mark her 50th birthday by doing something that would challenge both the boat and her crew to the full, while at the same time raising funds for a cause very close to the hearts of all who sail the coastal waters of the UK.


So we decided to enter Black Diamond in the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2012 on 30th June.


Skipper Greg Dunn is a veteran of the event, having completed the RTIR 2011 on the trimaran Strontium Dog. The rest of the crew were first-timers in the Solent. As was Black Diamond herself.


To make things even more fun, and because just getting round the gruelling RTIR in a 30-foot, 50-year-old plywood boat wasn’t quite enough of a challenge, we added another dimension . . .


A musical one!


Greg and fellow crew-member James Delarre of the fabulous folk-rock band Mawkin pledged to play their Black Diamond Accordions – ‘The Only Range of Musical Instruments Named After a Boat’! – at every possible opportunity, both ashore and afloat.

Bearing in mind that accordions are not waterproof, however, and the weather conditions on the day were enormously challenging, there wasn't, in the end, any bellows action during the race itself.


But, after the race (which took Crew Black Diamond 8.47 hours to complete), out came the squeezeboxes and James and Greg entertained our neighbours in the marina in Cowes - some of whom were inspired to dance on their decks!


Sailors like us depend on the RNLI.


The RNLI depends entirely on donations.


And that is why we dedicated our Round the Island Race sailing and musical adventure to the RNLI, whose volunteer lifeboat crews rescue an average of 22 people every day in the UK.