Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Round the Island Race: New record set despite strong winds

Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 trimaran, Phaedo 3 Image copyright Round the Island Race
Image caption Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 trimaran, Phaedo 3, finished the 50-nautical mile race in two hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds

A new record has been set in one of the world's largest yacht races, taking place around the Isle of Wight.

Organisers of the 85th Round the Island Race said "stronger than expected" offshore winds had led to the cancellation of some classes.

However, Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 trimaran, Phaedo 3, finished the 50-nautical mile race in two hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds.

The previous record was set by Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie in 2013.

He completed the course in two hours and 52 minutes - dedicating his achievement to fellow Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson who died in 2013.

The one-day race is believed to be the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.

Image caption More than 1,500 boats registered to take part in the race, which attracts about 16,000 sailors

According to BBC Weather, a force 4-6 westerly breeze was forecast for Saturday's race.

The coastguard said several boats were unable to take part due to the conditions, others had to pull out during the event due to "lost rigging and rudders" and one boat sank.

Meanwhile, a number of craft lost their masts and several people were injured or rescued, including a 38-year-old man who suffered minor head injuries after being hit by the boom of a yacht.

Image caption Organisers said strong winds were unsafe for some smaller boats

"Regrettably, what appear to be near perfect conditions on land are not as favourable offshore, especially for smaller, less stable boats," JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race said in an earlier statement.

Image copyright Round the Island Race
Image caption The annual race begins and ends at Cowes

More than 1,500 boats were registered to take part in the race, which started and ended at Cowes and attracted about 16,000 sailors from across the UK, Europe and the US.

Seven people were rescued during last year's race and 70 boats pulled out in 2012 due to strong winds.

The first race took place in 1931 with 25 entries.

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