The J/120 Jalfrezi was the first boat into Crosshaven at the end of the 220 nautical mile first leg of the Triangle Race from Torquay

The J/120 Jalfrezi, in the hands of Gareth Thomas and Trevor Griffiths, was the first boat into Crosshaven at the end of the 220 nautical mile first leg of the Triangle Race from Torquay, and so are the first recipients of the Peter Byway Memorial Trophy.

The silver tray, given by his family, is in memory of Peter Byway who was race director of the Triangle Race for many years, until his sudden death two months ago, and is for the line honours winner of the first leg, because Crosshaven was Peter’s favourite stopover.

Jalfrezi finished at 11.40 am on Tuesday, just under four hours ahead of the next boat, Roc, skippered by veteran shorthanded sailor Desmond Hampton, crewed by Adrian Biggs.

Boats came in thick and fast after this, with the all girl crew of Kirsteen Donaldson and Mary Sturgess sailing Pyxis third, 16 minutes behind Roc, while the winner of the last race, Majic – Peter Howe and Mik Underdown – a further 14 minutes back.

None of the fleet escaped a battering from the gales that have swept into the Western Approaches, though it was of some relief that the winds were from the south-east, giving the boats some exciting downwind sailing.

By late afternoon the winds were up to 30 knots gusting to 40, and race officer Paddy Bettesworth said: “There were some very tired and relieved people here.”

One of the surprises of the leg was the smallest boat in the fleet, The Flying Fish, a Laser 28 being sailed by husband and wife team Rupert and Kathy Smalley, who finished less than five hours behind the first boat home.

Mik Underdown summed up the second half of the leg from Lands End to Crosshaven: “The first six to eight hours out of Lands End was very quiet, but we were all listening to the forecasts.

“The wind filled in around midnight, and just continued to build, we saw 42 knots, but Dignity had gusts of 50 knots plus, it was very, very unpleasant when we arrived, wind, rain and fog.”

Underdown said the crews tried every combination of sails imaginable under the conditions, but there were some fast rides.

There have been more retirements, with Tiko putting into Fowey, and Suroma to Falmouth, while Mustn’t Grumble and Raksha have also notified the race headquarters that they are withdrawing.

Line Honours

1 Jalfrezi J/120 Gareth Thomas/Trevor Griffiths

2 Roc One-off 40′ Desmond Hampton/Adrian Biggs

3 Pyxis X332 Kirsteen Donaldson/Mary Sturgess

4 Majic J 110 Peter Howe/Mik Underdown

5 Quervain VI Jeanneau Sunfast 36 Nigel & Heather de Quervain Colley

6 Dignity Grand Soleil Brian Mills/Russell Farrington