It may not be the windiest of events on record, and it's unlikely any records will be broken, but as half of the fleet passes the Needles, at least four boats lurched to a halt as their keels touched the infamous wreck.
It may not be the windiest of events on record, and it’s unlikely any records will be broken, but as half of the fleet passes the Needles, at least four boats lurched to a halt as their keels touched the infamous wreck. To add to the drama, the wind chose a timely point at which to die, leaving two dozen yachts to drift back down onto the fleet.
Francis Joyon’s Eure et Loir-Idec, that holds the current multihull record of 3hrs 8mins 29secs, was the first entry to pass by the Needles. However, what was surprisingly apparent, was that the huge grand prix trimaran was very closely followed by several considerably smaller multihulls, including one Hobie cat. It just goes to show that size isn’t everything. In a similar vein, it was great to see the breathtaking J-Class, Velsheda, slowly overhauling a classic wooden-built Cornish Crabber. It’s this great mix that gives the Round the Island Race its unique identity.
Mike Slade’s Leopard, that holds the monohull record of 4hrs 5mins 40secs, was supposed to be competing, but we have yet to see her finely-turned-out crew pass us by. Harrison’s Chernikeef and Hobday’s Bear of Britain, regular sights at yachting events, were typically closely matched as they fought their own private battle to get the inside leg around the turning point.
The wind is currently a 12-knot south-easterly, though very variable in both direction and speed. A seemingly endless stream of boats continue to roll down the Solent towards us, and looking eastwards, the horizon remains awash with a mass of masts and coloured sails.
More news as we have it, so keep posted.