HE BATTLED monster waves, brutal storms and exhaustion but at least one Hampshire sailor cannot wait to get back out to sea.

Victorious Jacob Carter was one of two Hampshire sailors on board the yacht that sailed triumphantly into San Francisco to win the latest leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and believes this could be the first of many.

Even the drama of having a fellow competitor fall overboard during the worst storms to hit the fleet has not dampened the 20-year-old student’s desire to keep going.

He said: “It feels great to win, it was always going to be the big one and to come into San Francisco in first place after so much juggling up and down the leader board – we thought we could do it, but when we actually did it we were ecstatic.

“I feel really positive about the rest of the race – the boat’s in good nick and we’re racing really well – one of the biggest worries is a big change of crew but we are positive we can keep on winning.”

The 5,600-mile race from Qingdao, in China, to San Francisco proved the most gruelling yet for the fleet with one sailor thrown overboard – only the fourth time in the race’s 18-year history that someone had to be recovered from the water.

Jacob, from Portchester, who is part of the crew on Great Britain, which also includes Steve Mabey, 47, from Southampton said the incident had a huge impact on all the crews.

He added: “When we heard about that it was devastating, not what you want to hear at all, and it hit a lot of people hard. So we ran through our own safety procedures on board and our thoughts and prayers went out to the team and Andrew Taylor at that time.

“The most memorable thing I’ll take away from this race is how well we all performed as a crew.

The first two weeks were brutal and then it got a bit easier which has given me time to recover coming into San Francisco. We got in and went to the South Beach Yacht Club and had a few sherries and had a bit of a party on the boat but since then I think all I have done is sleep.”

Team Switzerland, which includes former City College principal Lindsey Noble, currently stands in fifth place and Qingdao, which is skippered by Gosport’s Gareth Glover, is in sixth.

The next leg of the race, which heads to Panama, starts on April 19.