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Round the Island Race

Annual Round the Island Race in Memory of Past Commodore Edward McDill Willman

In 1966 the Key Biscayne Yacht Club hosted the first Round the Island Race. The legacy of this fun and competitive event preceded itself and fast became the most anticipated annual event on the Club’s calendar. This event welcomes sailboats of all sizes. The race starts in the waters of Biscayne Bay in front of the Key Biscayne Yacht Club, and the course continues south through the Stiltsville Featherbeds, past Cape Florida, north along the Atlantic coast of Key Biscayne, around a mark at the opening of Bear Cut at the north of the island, and back to the Key Biscayne Yacht Club.

The Round the Island Race was conceived in part by Passed Commodore Edward McDill Willman in 1966 together with Member Ray Sullivan. Thirty-one years later, on October 23, 1994, upon the passing of Willman, Sullivan was instrumental in dedicating all future Races to Willman’s memory. Members J.J. Donahue, Jack Fischer, and Leo Swayze may also be credited to the success and legacy of this event.

Five Interesting Facts About the Late Edward McDill Willman

  1. At 18 years old he was a dive bomber in WWII. His WWII bombing squadron was called the “Bombing Banshees.” Many years later he connected with Roger Currie at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club, who was also a dive bomber during WWII.
  2. With a nod to his WWII squadron, he named his two sailboats the “Banshee,” respectively.
  3. Willman was the third cousin to the late Marion Morrison, better known by his stage name John Wayne.
  4. He won over 200 blue water races in his day.
  5. Willman’s son, Todd Willman, wrote a biography about his late father called “On Wings Like Eagles.”