Skip to content

Round the Island Race: How to get the perfect start with your B&G chartplotter

Nail the start with the RacePanel software on your Vulcan or Zeus chartplotter

The annual spectacle that is the Round the Island Race has over 1,000 boats entered each year. With such heavy traffic, building tide and a 1.2nm long line, getting a good start can be a real challenge – but getting off the line in a good position can give you clear air all the way to the Needles lighthouse and a huge advantage over your competitors, stuck to leeward and in dirty air. Not to mention that to be over the line will involve returning against the tide and against the flow of many hundreds of boats.

B&G’s RacePanel software, included as standard on Zeus and Vulcan chartplotters provides a highly accurate, high-resolution starting aid that can help you be on the line as the gun fires. Here’s how to set it up.

The sailing instructions state:

‘The starting line is formed by bringing the RYS FLAGSTAFF into line with the white line on the ORANGE DIAMOND ON THE CASTLE. Vertical light beams are installed at the RYS to identify the starting line transit.
The outer distance starting mark (ODM) will be a Committee Vessel, displaying an ISC burgee, attached to the Williams Shipping Buoy, which may not lie on the starting line. In the unlikely event of the Committee Vessel not being attached, the ODM will be the Williams Shipping Buoy.

B&G’s startine software allows you to place the ends of the line in a number of ways: by ‘pinging’ the line, or sailing up to the line at each end and ‘pinging’ the position of each end, or by adding waypoints, cursor positions, or relative positions.

For this race, we know that the RYS flagstaff will be the port end of the line – and it is in position 50° 46.004N, 001° 18.055W.

Go to RacePanel from the home page of your chartplotter. then  the open the right hand menu and press ‘start line > port end > set coordinate port and enter the above lat/long.

You’ve now placed the port end of the line.

Now do the same for the starboard end, but instead of setting coordinates, select ‘place from port’.

The Sailing Instructions give a bearing of the line of 169° true. We need to take the reciprocal of this, which is 349°. Williams Shipping buoy is the outer distance mark, but may not be exactly on the line – but the range between the flagpole and the buoy is 1.2nm.

Enter the range of 1.2nm in metres (2222m) and the bearing as 349 and the line is placed.

Ensure you’ve got ‘tidal effects’ turned on for the layines and these will be automatically adjusted for tide. Find this menu in Settings > Chart > Laylines.


When the startline is set up, it can be seen overlaid on the chart as shown here.


Alternatively, the Start Line data page shows a simplified graphical representation of the line.


Setting up a split-screen view gives the best of both worlds…

Next up: view the exclusion zones on your chartplotter

Read our next blog to find out how to display exclusion zones and waiting areas on the chartplotter screen. 

Latest Blogs from B&G

B&G and the Vendée Globe

Most of the Vendée Globe fleet put their trust in B&G. Find out more about the electronics on board an IMOCA60.

Tom Cunliffe's Tales from the Helm: Vikings

No electronics or even a compass: how the Vikings did it...

Tom Cunliffe's Tales from the Helm: Logbook

Tom Cunliffe spins a yarn - and explains why a paper logbook is still crucial with electronic navigation.


The most important part of the race: how to get the perfect start