The roots of the event can be traced back to 1968 with a challenge between two boats to race across the Channel from the Solent to Cherbourg. Over subsequent years the event grew in numbers but it remained a handicap fleet of boats owned, borrowed or chartered by their skippers and crews. The event grew through the seventies into the early 80s by which time it was being run under the auspices of the Island Sailing Club at Cowes and included a number of inshore races in addition to the offshore cross-Channel race (weather permitting). In 1982 the date was brought forward from October to July. Thereafter it has been held in early to mid-summer, usually based in the Solent but always with a scheduled offshore race.
1985 saw a move to the Royal Solent YC in Yarmouth for one year. In 1988 and 1989 the offshore race was to the Normandy harbour of St Vaast. Perhaps the most significant change was the introduc-tion of a one-design fleet in 1996, with a separate handicap class for those who wanted to race their own boats. The one-design boats were Sigma 362s that year and Sunfast 36s in ‘97 and ’98. In both years Cherbourg races were planned, though cancelled in ’97. 1999 saw a change of venue: twelve Dufour 35s were chartered from Portway Yacht Charters of Plymouth, and the in-shore races were held in Plymouth under the auspices of the Royal Western YC. The offshore race was up-Channel and finished at Warsash in the Solent.
In 2000 it was back to Cowes, in Sunfast 32s, and a race round the IOW which has remained a feature ever since. For 2001 and 2002 the Sunfast 32s were retained with the regatta base in Poole and Cowes respectively. Bavarias were the one-design choice for 2003. 2004 saw the first IDOR using Sunsail’s one-design fleet, in Sunfast 36s. In 2007 these were replaced by Sunfast 37s and 2011 was the first IDOR to use the new Sunsail Beneteau F40s. Unfortunately the tides in 2011 precluded a race round the Island, so instead there was a race to the Nab and back and a second coastal race into Christchurch Bay.
So there you have it, a brief history of the IDOR reflecting the evolution from a scratch handicap fleet to a one-design regatta. In that time the event has developed into a fine opportunity for crews of all abilities and experience to come together under an experienced skipper and represent their department in what must be one of the best means of team building and bonding. The move to a one-design fleet means that no crew is disadvantaged through lack of access to a competitive boat and of course your position on the water is your position in the race. Most crews are a mixture of novices, dinghy sailors, cruisers and racers of various experience.