LIGHT winds are forecast to slow down the Hampshire sailors taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as they head to New York.

With just a few weeks left to go until they are due to finish their 40,000-mile voyage on the seas, the 12-strong fleet are expected to arrive in the Big Apple two days later than planned.

After setting sail from Jamaica on Saturday they were due to arrive in New York this Friday, but the strong winds which have helped them secure a good speed over the last few day have abated.

They are now due into harbour on Sunday.

The Great Britain team, whose crew includes Steve Mabey, 47, from Southampton, and youngest sailor in the race Jacob Carter, 20, of Portchester, are in a “game of cat and mouse” with rivals team Switzerland.

Skipper Simon Talbot said: “We have spent most of the time not more than half a mile from them and are currently only 400 metres off their stern, but they are doggedly thwarting all of our efforts to get past them. We will slowly reel them in, only for the wind to drop and for them to pull back away from us again.

“Looking forward to the next 24 to 48 hours, the forecast is for some light and variable conditions to come across the fleet which could mix things up a little.

“Other than that the weather forecast is making for a pretty straight line drag race for the rest of the passage up to New York, where every ounce of boat speed is going to count, so it looks like this is going to be yet another tough one!”