Accompanied by a swarm of RIBs and Ian Roman's photo helicopter,Ben Ainslie stormed across the finish line at 0802:15 to smash the 12-year-old race record. He finished the race in two hours 52 minutes 15 seconds, carving more than 16 minutes off Francis Joyon's 2001 time and taking the record time to less than three hours.
Second across the finish line was Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard. Having sailed the first half of the race in one hour 40 minutes the giant monohull looked to be well inside the record time of three hours 53 minutes she set in 2008. However, Leopard slowed in the second half of the race and it wasn't clear that she would better the record time until she was a few minutes away from the finish. She finally crossed the line at 0843.50, shaving nine minutes 45 seconds off her previous record.
Speaking while enjoying a glass of celebratory champagne, Slade said: 'When we were rounding St Catherine's Point we were concerned that the wind would start dying off Shanklin - but it stayed up all the way round the Island. We're also looking forward to the handicap result - if it drops as forecast we could do well on handicap as well. It looks like it will be a good day for everyone - they will all get round and everyone's going to have a great day.'
The back markers in the fleet of almost 1,500 boats are having a very different experience to the front-runners. Stephen Payne's Moody 27 family cruiser Phantom of Cramond in ISCRS Division 8B, for instance, is enjoying a much more leisurely sail - at 0850 they were passing Yarmouth, just nine miles from the start.
With the winds stronger than forecast so far, some damaged sails have been seen. Paralympic Gold medallist Helena Lucas, sailing with Campbell Field on the Elan 450 Squire Sanders, reported splitting a spinnaker in half between the Needles and St Catherine's Point.
How to follow the Race Day action
Here are some useful links to the Official Race website to help keep spectators fully up to speed on the racing as it unfolds from 0500hrs.
The Blog rtir.me/liveblog
The Tracking rtir.me/livetracking
The Weather rtir.me/weather
The Latest News rtir.me/news
The Results rtir.me/results
The Race Facebook page will be maintained with news and the Race Twitter feed will be fully fed. For those wishing to contribute to the Twitter news as they sail around the Island, please use hashtags RTIR and/or raceforall to raise another one euro for the Official Charity, The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Official Race website: website
by Peta Stuart-Hunt
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9:50 AM Sat 1 Jun 2013GMT
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