HAMPSHIRE sailors were involved in a nail-biting end to the latest leg of the Clipper Round the World Race.

There were just 31 seconds between Henri Lloyd and long-term rivals Great Britain in the 590-mile Race 12, in first and second respectively.

It was a reversal of the previous two races where Great Britain pipped “nemesis” Henri Lloyd to the post both times, but they could not manage a fourth consecutive stage win this time.

The Britain team, whose crew includes Steve Mabey, 47, from Southampton, and youngest sailor in the race Jacob Carter, 20, of Portchester, recovered from a slow start out of Panama but climbed up the rankings steadily over the three-day race.

Skipper Simon Talbot said: “As ever when Henri Lloyd and ourselves get together, it’s very tight racing.

“Ten minutes after the start we turned right while everyone else was going north and that was a losing tack which was always going to put us right the way down the board. I said to all the guys on board that it was an all or nothing strategy.

“We always play a very brave strategy and it’s paid off here. It could have easily been a first but it ended up as a second and that’s still fantastic and another pennant to add to our collection.

“We came second by 31 seconds after a day of some of the most intense racing we’ve had for a very long time. Henri Lloyd are our nemesis so yeah, we’ll have to try harder on the way to New York.”

Switzerland, whose crew includes former Southampton City College principal Lindsey Noble, finished third ahead of Team Garmin and Old Pulteney.

The latter, whose team includes 39-year-old Charles Slater and 41-year-old Kate Hepworth, from Southampton, were in second for much of the race but fell away towards the end.

Teams now have a week to enjoy the tropical delights of Jamaica, before setting off next Saturday for New York.

Organised by Gosport-based Clipper Ventures, the yachts are crewed by novices but skippered by professionals.