This year's J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island will go down in history as a windy edition of the event. Having shattered the multihull race record in the MOD70 trimaran Phaedo 3, in a time of 2 hours 23 minutes, 23 seconds, owner Lloyd Thornburg and skipper Brian Thompson have stepped ashore to give their first interviews. The American skipper competed last month in the Round Ireland race and was one of three MODs to break that speed record too.
"Today was incredible - one of the best sails we've ever had on the boat and the sun really shone on us," says Thornburg. "We're over the moon, the team work on board was fantastic and it was just on the edge where we could keep the full main up, so the boat was totally powered up. Reaching and downwind it was right on the edge."
"It was a beautiful day out there," adds Thompson, "but not the perfect conditions for the fastest trip ever. Had we been able to reach the Needles without tacking we might have finished 10 minutes faster, but that would be a really special day."
The largest monohull in the fleet, Mike Leopard's 100ft Leopard, took monohull line honours, but failed to beat the record time he set in 2013 by 13 minutes. The majority of the fleet is now between the Needles and St Catherine's Point, although an increasing number are approaching Bembridge.
Sir Keith Mills' Ker 40+ Invictus is leading the FAST40+ fleet, and rounded Bembridge Ledge around 1230. Reporting from on board, crew member Alex Mills says: "It was pretty fruity down the back of the Island, but we got away with it unscathed."
Between the forts at the eastern end of the island and the finish, the wind is very gusty and very shifty so the top teams will have to fight hard all the way to the end for a good result.