Clitheroe sailor helps Ben set Cowes course record

The J.P. Morgan BAR catamaran that won the Round The Island Race
The J.P. Morgan BAR catamaran that won the Round The Island Race

Mark Andrews joined the British Finn party last month and after two successes in the space of a week, he’s looking optimistically at the remainder of the year.

Clitheroe-born Andrews began the year watching his British teammates dominate the Finn class on the World Cup circuit with Giles Scott victorious in Palma and then Andrew Mills in Hyeres.

Ed Wright then won the inaugural EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup event in Italy before Andrews got in on the act himself at the second in the Netherlands – his first ever senior podium finish.

He then joined Sir Ben Ainslie at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race as the J.P. Morgan BAR catamaran circumnavigated the Isle of Wight in 2:52 hours.

That bettered the 12-year-old record held by French sailor Francis Joyon by more than 16 minutes and, with European and World Championships in the Finn on the horizon, Andrews is in high spirits: “It was great to get my first win in Holland. We have had four different British winners of the last four events so it is pretty special and we have a great track record.

“For the events we have turned up for I don’t think we have lost one in the last three years. The Finn has always been up there with Ben [Ainslie] and Iain Percy.

“My next regatta is Sail for Gold and that is going to be a little low key but it is all helping towards the build up to the worlds and Europeans.

“To get a medal in either would be amazing.

“It was amazing to break the record, and hopefully it will stand for a while.”

Andrews will compete at the European Championships in Germany next month before moving across the continent to Tallinn for the Finn Gold Cup – the class’ World Championships – in August.

And for Andrews the chance to link up with three-time Olympic Finn champion Ainslie at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race was too good to pass up: “I have done the race three times - with Ben twice and this time was a lot different. To come home under three hours was pretty quick.”

• The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race is the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK and the largest yacht race of its kind in the world, attracting anything between 1,500/1,800 yachts and 16,000 competitors. www.roundtheisland.org.uk