MORE than 100 people hoping to paddle their way to glory battled it out in this year's RNLI Great Waterside Raft Race.

Hythe Marina Village was packed with spectators while others decided to view the action from Prospect Place and Hythe Pier, which formed the southern boundary of the rectangular course.

A total of 18 rafts took part in a series of contests.

Hythe Alive won the race for decorated craft, while Eastleigh Boxing Club triumphed in the Formula 1 event and also trounced the opposition in the race reserved for female sailors.

Hythe firefighters were taking part in the Formula 1 race when they received a call and had to be towed ashore by the RNLI.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) said: "On-call firefighters were called to support paramedics with a medical incident at a care home shortly after 1pm.

"HIWFRS left the scene at around 2pm, with the incident left with ambulance colleagues."

Ebenezers came first in the pub race, while Darren and Sarah Ashmore won the kayak contest for the second year running. The Big Race was won by Floaty McBoat Float, entered by Josh Rehel. Ebenezers came second, followed by The Dusty Barrel.

The prize for the "best presented" craft went to a group of 5k pub runners and their entry, The Drunken Trainer.

Ebenezers also won the Ashmore Cup for "best overall effort".

RNLI spokesperson Dan Poole said: "It was another superb effort from competitors and helpers alike. We were absolutely delighted with the turnout, especially with the FIFA Women’s World Cup final on the same day.

"It is many years since we last had so rafts competing."

First held in the 1980s the annual contest raises funds for the Hythe and Calshot branch of the RNLI. This year's event is thought to have netted just under £4,000 - and money is still coming in.