Veteran sailor sets record – for the longest time ever taken to finish yacht race (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Veteran Poole sailor sets record – for the longest time ever taken to finish yacht race
Veteran sailor Edward Hooper has set a new record in a yacht race around the Isle of Wight – for the longest time ever taken to finish.
Skipper Edward, 73, from Poole, and friend Steve Peake, 64, took 25 hours and 15 minutes to complete the 55-mile race.
Their 21ft yacht plodded along at a tortoise-like speed of just 2mph and finished 12 hours behind the penultimate boat.
Race organisers stopped timing competitors at 10pm, 14 hours after the start of the historic Round the Island Race.
Edward and Steve’s pace saw them finally cross the finish line at 9.25am the next day.
The organisers were so impressed with the pair’s determined effort that they have now honoured them the dubious record of taking the longest to finish.
More than 1,500 yachts entered the 83rd annual race to sail around the Isle of Wight in a anti-clockwise direction.
But the fleet was plagued with a breeze of just three knots - 3.5mph - from the start.
More than 600 boats decided to turn back after just a few hours when the change in the ebbing tide left them merely treading water.
Dozens of boats had to be rescued by the RNLI after being left stranded on a sandbank near The Needles.
But tireless Edward, a retired naval officer, and construction project manager Steve decided to plod on.
At one point they had to anchor their 21ft junk rig yacht Amiina for six hours while they waited for the tides to change before continuing the race.
Edward had hoped to beat the 10 hours it took him to get round the course in last year’s race but instead set a new record for the longest ever race.
Edward, a granddad of two who has been sailing for more than 60 years, said: “This was my third Round the Island Race and this was the second time on Amiina.
“We were one of the smallest boats in the race and also one of the last to start.
“The wind was incredibly light but that’s just part of the challenge. The main problem was the tide, which when it turned against us was very strong.
“Lots of boats gave up early on but I don’t see the point in that. Once you’ve entered the race you should do everything you can to finish it.
“We ended up anchoring overnight so we could catch the favourable tides to take us to the finish.
“We hadn’t planned on taking so long but we weren’t too bothered because it was a beautiful evening.”
SLOWEST TIME RECORDED
Although they came dead last, Edward and Steve were still only the 725th boat to finish the annual race.
A massive 669 boats gave up while almost 200 didn't even cross the start line.
Organisers of the J.P. Morgan Round the Island Race, held last Saturday, have confirmed Edward's result as the slowest time recorded in the modern era of the race, which first took place in 1931.
Because race rules state boats must finish by 10pm on the day of the race, Edward's result will not be officially counted.
But organisers did present them with special tankards given to everyone who finished.
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