Orange II completes the course in 3 hours 18 minutes, 9 minutes short of the record

Bruno Peyron’sOrange IIwas the first to cross the finish line of the 68th Round the Island race. The giant cat completed the course in just under 3 hours 18 minutes – about 9 minutes longer than the multihull record. As I write,Orange IIhas about 20 minutes left to beat the record on her second attempt around the island.IDECwon the multihull class on handicap, finishing in 3 hours 34 minutes.

The 1,682 boats participating in this year’s race were greeted by a southeasterly force 4 this morning, sending the fleet close reaching towards the Needles on the port tack. Most boats are under full sail, the occasional gusts requiring a ready hand on the mainsheet. A stiff wind-over-tide chop around the Needles made for uncomfortable conditions as the competitors prepared to go about for the leg down to St. Catherine’s Point, as the helmsmen looked for the ideal spot among the melée of boats in which to make their manoeuvre.

As the day progresses, the breeze is expected to freshen to a southwesterly force 5, easing to a 3 later in the day. The entire fleet has now rounded the Needles, facing a long beat down towards St. Catherine’s Point.