It was an absolutely flying start from the MOD70 Concise 10. Yesterday evening nobody thought that the course record set by another MOD70, Phaedo3, last year would fall. But their fast time to the Needles and rapid progress down the back of the Island set them up for a solid time. Then favourable winds allowed them to make the finish line on one tack, setting up a last gasp dash to the finish line.
Crossing the line after 2 hours 22 minutes and 23 seconds means they beat Phaedo3's record by exactly one minute! Congratulations to skipper Ned Collier-Wakefield and his team.
It was probably, in truth, not the glorious start that most had hoped for with breeze in the high teens and a little bit of rain combining to give the sailors competing in this 81st edition of the race something of a shock to the system. Still, nothing like a fine bit of British weather to help wake you up at 5am!
But despite this damp start the skies have since become much clearer, the clouds have broken, the rain has gone and the sun is shining. Though the conditions may not have been conducive to lounging in the sun, they certainly gave all of the sailors a fast ride down to the Needles.
We did initially expect to see a large number of boats over the startline with the tide pushing everyone to the west. But, caution seemed to play out for most and, though there were recalls in most classes, the tendency seemed to be just one or two keen starters in each fleet.
IRC0 - Are currently spread off the SW coast of the Island with the lead boats around St Catherine's Point
IRC1 - The lead boats here are have passed the Needles, many are rounding as this is published with the back markers still on their approach.
IRC2 - The bulk of this fleet are passing through Hurst Narrows and will be heading round the Needles soon.
IRC3 - Are still on the approach to the Needles, with a fair spread. The front of this fleet seems to be doing very well catching up with the slowest of IRC2 who started ahead (and are, of course, faster on paper).
IRC5 - Are also on their approach to the Needles with the bulk of the fleet off Yarmouth.
IRC6 - The head if the fleet are past Newtown and making their way to Yarmouth.
IRC7 - Are mostly bunched together near Newtown.
IRC8 - The final fleet to start are all gathered between Cowes and Newtown (and off Beaulieu).