Lionel Lemonchois helming Prince De Bretagne who took line honours at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race
Over 1900 yachts competed in the annual J.P Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, starting off Cowes on the Isle of Wight, UK.
The 80th edition of the event started in fresh conditions, with a beat to the first turning mark, The Needles, at the western end of the Isle of Wight. Casualties came thick and fast with several collisions, and at least three crew swept overboard. Fortunately all were recovered safely.
Seas at The Needles were reported at 6-8 feet, fortunately for the competitors the winds did not increase and abated a little, however the fleet had an extremely fast ride.
First start was at 0600hrs in a 23-25kt south-westerly, and in poor visibility. Organisers signalled code flag Yankee, meaning that all competitors were required to wear life jackets.
First home was the 50ft trimaran Prince de Bretagne skippered by Lionel Lemonchois, who finished in a time of 3hours 59m 58sec for the course of just over 50nm. Lemonchois won the Jules Verne Trophy in 2005 (round the world speed record) and has since won two trans-Atlantic races.
As the race leaders in the monohulls rounded St Catherines, at the southern most point of the isle of Wight and approximately half-way, the breeze increased to Force 7 (35kts) causing several ripped spinnakers, and a ripped mainsail aboard the TP52, Team Origin. The mainsail damage did not seriously hinder Team Origin, who went on to become the first monohull to finish taking 45 minutes after Lemonchois. A second TP52, Weapon of Choice was third.
At the last count, there were 191 withdrawals from a total fleet of 1908, with two other boats being called as premature starters.