After a long day, the first boat in the Round the Island Race has crossed the line

After after nearly 9 hours drifting along in the light breeze, the first boats are finally reaching home in the 2006 Round the Island race.Holmatroskippered by Mitch Booth has taken line honours, finishing at 14.41 hours.

Bear of BritainandSkandia big grinwere making the most of the fill in of wind on their approach to the finish and Team Volvo for Life could be seen by Race Control on the mainland shore towards Hill Head. The TP52 Red has took a route down the middle of the Solent.

At 3pm just off ryde there was still a distinct lack of white sails and with the wind and tide situation we reported earlier, it looks probable that some of the cruising fleet might have retired in the knowledge that they wouldn’t make the 10pm cut off time for finishing.

Yachting Monthly caught up with the crew aboardJoy, a bavaria 42, as they headed home. the skipper told us “more boats than ever before retired today – the sitiation out there at the needles was mad”.

We also spoke to Yachting Monthly’s Mike Shepherd becalmed off St Catherine’s in a folkboat skippered by Simon Osgood.

“We had a lovely sail from needles to st catherines and were making good progress with a south westerly sea breeze but as soon as we reached this point, the wind dropped round to the north.”

When asked what time he was hoping to be back, he said “No idea. We’re hoping to make it before the 10pm deadline but we’re enjoying the sunshine anyway.”

Keep an eye on as the remaining boats make their way towards the finish.