Eure et Loir-Idec and Leopard of London were the first to cross the finish line in today's Round the Island Race

The French trimaran “Eure et Loir-Idec” gained line honours in the Round the Island Race on 21June 2003. The ORMA60 catamaran belonging to Francis Joyon and designed by Nigel Irens completed the 55-mile course in 4h5mins.

The wind was light at the start but “Eure et Loir-Idec” managed to keep the breeze down the Solent. At the Needles, conditions freshened and the boat picked up to 17 knots boat speed, finishing with a flourish at 22/23 knots on the final run to the line. There were nine crew on board – two French and seven English.

It is Francis’ intention to compete in the Round the Island Race whenever possible: “The Island is beautiful and there is good sailing. I’d like to come back and try to break my record next year.”

Mike Slade in “Leopard of London” finished second but again did not break his existing record. Jules Salter called the tactics with Hugh Agnew navigating. Johnny Caulcutt took a turn at helming.

Away from the experienced racers, BBC children’s television presenters Fran and Anya from “Bring It On” had just five days to learn to sail before entering this famous annual race. They were let in gently with a light breeze at the start. Plain sailing they thought and reached for the bikinis. But it was not to last. Rounding the Needles they ‘oilies’ seemed the order of the day as the breeze freshened. “We were thrown around like helpless puppies”, said Anya. Although they do not intend swapping a career in television for one on the water, their UKSA instructor Ben Willow has invited them back for Skandia Cowes Week – and they just might take him up on the offer.