Robin hurts elbow, and almost half the fleet have finished
As the weather deteriorates and squally showers hit the fleet, the wind strength has remained in the early ‘teens and many yachts have made good progress. At 1600hrs there were just 20 or 30 boats short of the Forts off Portsmouth. With 726 boats have finished, and about 40 are accounted for as unfinished for various reasons, 1000 boats are still sailing. Life in the race box is frantic with a sudden surge of finishers – roughly 150 boats are in the queue for the declaration barge!
Those watching from Cowes were treated to two fly pasts by the Red Arrows RAF aerobatic team earlier in the afternoon.
Of the Team Volvo for Life J80s, Shirley Robertson was the first to finish at 1418. 15-year-old Michael Perham (pictured left), who became the youngest person to sail across the Atlantic single handed earlier this year, is still going on Cheeky Monkey with his father Peter. The pair have passed Ryde, and, better still, have thus far avoided the rain!
There have been several retirements; Wishwell (skipper Simon Powell) broke her boom. Of the crew of six, two received minor injuries and were taken ashore by Ryde Rescue.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s race aboard Open 60 Lombard Marine Finance was hampered by an elbow injury. He told us: ‘After I knocked my elbow, I was even able to delegate the delegating to Robin (Aisher). I can’t move my arm but apart from that we had a really great time. It’s better to injure yourself near Cowes rather than in the Southern Ocean.’ Sir Robin was sailing with the Island Sailing Club’s Robin Aisher – his official finish time was a respectable 11.43.01. Doctors say he may have splintered a bone or pulled a tendon.
To cheer him up, official race partner of the JP Morgan Round the Island race and exclusive whisky sponsor of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky welcomed the sailing hero and his crew ashore with a special limited edition bottle of the whisky lover’s favourite single malt.
The experience hasn’t put Sir Robin off an 8th attempt at the race next year, however, and he enjoyed his day regardless: ‘Seeing 1,800 boats really is spectacular. One of the biggest differences with this race is that you are forever putting the sails up and down, whereas I’m used to putting them up and leaving them there for a month!!’