Round the Island Race 2011 - Sundowner is victorious

HAPPY CHAPS: Nick Rogers (left) is pictured with fellow crew Jo Hutchinson, Nathan Wilmot and Phillip Hutchinson after winning the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race in Cowes (onEdition) - JP Morgan Round the Island Race 2011
JP Round the Island Race 2011 sees Nick Roger taking victory at the race today.

With more than 1,900 boats and 16,000 competitors jostling for space on a crowded Solent, Rogers mastered difficult conditions to win the Gold Roman Bowl, awarded to the best corrected time around the 50-nautical mile course, after handicaps are calculated.

Indeed, winning the trophy has become something of a family affair in recent years, with uncle Jeremy Rogers claiming the coveted prize in 2002, 2003 and 2006.

'I've been trying for a while, it's a bit of a family tradition and I don't dare think how many times I've been round the Isle of Wight, so to have won is really pleasing,' said Rogers.

'It is really important to me, it's totally different to the Olympics. It's a great challenge, there are so many other boats and so many different elements.'

It caps a memorable few weeks for new father Rogers, after he and Grube finished top Brits at the ISAF World Cup regatta in Weymouth, securing selection for next month's critical Olympic test event.

'I've just had my second son, so I'm really, really proud. My wife is fantastic, she did such a great job and it has just been an incredible two weeks, on and off the water.'

Meanwhile, Ben Ainslie will also refocus sights on his London 2012 campaign after a 'fun' sail around the Solent in 30 knots of wind and 20 foot waves.

Ainslie helmed 40 foot yacht Keronimo with a crew that included Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood. He may have three Olympic golds but the 80-year old Gold Roman Bowl still remains elusive from his impressive resume.

He was hopeful of his chances of winning the top prize, won a record four times by former British prime minister Ted Heath, but the conditions, which weren't aided by a startline tussle with his one-time colleagues on Team Origin, who he skippered to last year's ISAF match racing world title, conspired against best-laid plans.

'It was pretty extreme conditions, we had 30 knots of wind and very rough waves,' said Ainslie.

'It was fun and we all got back in one piece but I'm just focusing on the Finn sailing now and training down at Portland and Weymouth and getting myself ready for the Olympic test event in August.

'It's slowly building it back up. I'll have three days sailing next week and then I'll step it up to four days then five days for the final three weeks up to the event.'

See the event website Round the Island Race