JP Morgan AM Round the Island Race: Wind breathes on fleet at last

Boats meet the traitorous Isle of Wight landmark, The Needles. Navigating around their sharp and jagged rocks will be no easy feet. All eyes firmly on the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2014. Thierry Martinez/Sea&Co/onEdition
The wind has picked up across the J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island race track which is great news for the 1500 strong fleet, especially the 70 odd back runners who are yet to round The Needles.

The annual race around the Isle of Wight is one of the largest participation sporting events in the UK and the largest yacht race of its kind in the world.

The new wind means they have a chance of finishing before the cut off time of 10pm tonight and for the front runners, a lunch reservation might be stretching it but late afternoon drinks in the Race Village could be the order of the day.

On board the leading monohull Tokoloshe II, an 8 knot south south westerly was suiting the lightweight Botin and Carkeek design especially well, according to Peter Selby, navigating for South African owner Mike Bartholomew.

'We are a very light boat so we were hoping for very light winds which is what we have had,'he said.

'Things look very promising at the moment but we have had to work really hard to hold on to our position. We had a good start and were second to the Needles but so far it has been interesting and frustrating, with a few lucky breaks and some clever manoevring.'

Tokoloshe was lying behind the two GC32s Team Richard Mille and Spax Solutions, who excitedly reported speeds of 14 knots and a readiness to foil.

Scattered Magic, a Nicholson 33 was one of the many boats to hit the Varvassi wreck off the Needles but among the few to retire. There have been 10 retirements so far in the race, mainly from the start where boats were OCS and struggled to return to the line.

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