The Around Alone fleet have gathered - except for two competitors still at sea and facing time penalties

With the arrival last night in Newport of Emma Richards and Bernard Stamm, the Around Alone fleet is almost complete. The deadline for the yachts to muster was midnight last night, after which a two-hour penalty is incurred for every 24 hours’ delay.

Richards had been hurrying from Bermuda, where she made a stop on a 5,000-mile route across the Atlantic from the UK, while Stamm arrived after a pitstop in Newfoundland, also on his way from Europe.

That leaves only two competitors still at sea. One is John Dennis, a 57-year-old Canadian who is sailing in Class 2 in a 1994 vintage Open 50. It is expected to be another few days before he reaches Newport.

Also still at sea is Graham Dalton, who left the UK on 19 August and was reportedly still 1,000 miles from Rhode Island yesterday. Apart from simply getting himself to the start, Dalton is undertaking his qualifier for Around Alone, for which he has to cover 2,000 miles from port to port. However, the deadline for the qualifer expired last night at midnight.

The question of whether some accommodation can be made will probably have to wait until Dalton’s arrival, expected later this week. If the race committee rule that he is eligible to race, Dalton will still face several hours’ penalty for failing to reach Newport on time.

After his dismasting earlier this month, Graham Dalton is sailing with a spare mast from Ellen MacArthur’s Kingfisher and boom from Mike Golding’s Ecover. Until he arrives, a question also hangs over whether a replacement mast can be stepped in time for the start or will have to be shipped to the first stopover in the UK in October.

The fleet leaves Newport on 12 September on a prologue race to New York, where Around Alone proper will begin on 15 September.