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ONE OF the world’s best sailors has managed to keep a low profile this past six years living in Ryde, but after being part of the winning Round the Island Race team on Saturday, that could well change.
The career of Jono Macbeth is every bit as dramatic as his Shakespearean character name, with seven Americas Cup campaigns under his belt — four of them wins, with New Zealand and United States teams — and a number of line honours and world titles through a series of sailing events and classes, including the Fastnet, Sydney to Hobart, TP52 Super Series, Maxi and Mini World Series.
On Saturday, he fulfilled another ambition — to win the Round the Island Race.
He was part of the Dark ‘n’ Stormy crew, which scooped a clean sweep of titles, including line honours and the Gold Roman Bowl and Salver — the first time it had been done since 1988 by a certain Duran Duran singer, Simon le Bon, in Drum.
Jono, 49, who has been living in Ryde since 2016, said: “The Round the Island is one of those iconic sailing races — such a big event on the sailing calendar, especially on the Island.
“It is fantastic to be able to sail around the Island and see the different landmarks. And, to be able to say, after 20 years since I first attempted it, I have won it, is pretty special. This was my fourth attempt,” said Jono, nicknamed The Bear, for his strength and endurance.
“The whole race was enjoyable, but there was quite good compression at The Needles and at the backside of the Island. We had a good tussle with Khumbu.
“They pushed us and we pushed them. I suspect that’s why we both finished well.”
Khumu finished less than a minute behind Dark ‘n’ Stormy at the line.
"The Island has become a very special place for Jono to live at and from where to do the Round the Island Race.
“The Island is steeped in sailing history, whether it is for the Americas Cup, Cowes Week or the Round the Island Race.
“It was great to be able to see so many boats back at the start line again, after what has been a tricky period — not just for the sailing community.”