Norwegians steal line honours in light airs

The Round Britain and Ireland race has witnessed its closest ever finish with the first five boats arriving in Plymouth just 38 minutes apart after 2,000 miles of racing.

Norwegian-entry Solo, sailed by Rune Aasberg and Arild Schei, snatched victory from long-time leaders Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on Sungard Front Arena, who had led up until the final headland.

The wind died to such an extent in the closing stages that some of the leading bunch dropped anchor in strong tides off Start Point to avoid going backwards.

Aasberg and Schei managed to get into the wind first to cross the line at 13:07:02 on Friday and claim line honours and a class win with an overall time of 19 days, 52 minutes and two seconds.

Nannini and Peggs arrived 13 minutes later, with only four minutes separating them and third-placed Alex Bennett and Malcolm Dickinson aboard Fujifilm.

South African team Nick Leggatt and Pip Hutton-Squire on Phesheya Racing were a further nine minutes back with Dutchmen Hans Plas and Robin Verhoef on Roaring Again 11 minutes behind them.

Plas and Verhoef were the first finisher in IRC Class 1, with the first four all sailing Open 40s.

There were tight finishes throughout the fleet with Elixir, sailed by Flic Gabbay and Roger Barber, pipping BluQube, sailed by Katie Miller and Matt Lingley, to the line by 18 seconds in drifting conditions this morning (pictured).