THERE’S life in the old sea dogs yet.

Proving that it will take more than just a number to force them to drop anchor on their sailing ambitions, Hampshire twins Stuart and Adrian Jardine have yet again been riding the waves as Cowes Week’s oldest competitors.

Even a high-speed crash and doctor’s orders failed to force 76-year-old former Olympic sailor Stuart to remain on dry land.

It wasn’t until his injured hand swelled to twice its normal size after he ignored advice not to set sail, that forced him to admit defeat and leave his son Mark to skipper his boat, Lonestar.

But his twin, Adrian, has managed to avoid any major collisions, and remains out on the water aboard Lucrezia, battling it out in the XOD class, which has its biggest ever fleet of boats this year.

With 88 boats all in the running to claim top spot, Stuart, who is the class’s most successful sailor at Cowes, winning the Captain’s Cup eight times, was not surprised there were some crashes.

Injury On Monday he injured his hand after another competitor collided with his yacht, while he was holding the tiller.

Doctors warned him not to go out again but Stuart ignored their advice and raced on Tuesday, only to find that the doctors were right.

Since then he has kept both feet firmly on the ground, while his 36-year-old son Mark steps into his deck shoes and his brother improves on a poor start to the week.

The twins have been sailing all their lives and since the age of 21, they have always raced against each other.

Speaking to the Daily Echo from his home in Milford on Sea, Stuart, a retired Army engineer, said: “Cowes is the best sailing event around and it would have to take a lot to stop me competing. I refused to accept the doctors were right, but unfortunately they were and my hand is still double the size it should be.

“Sailing is a passion and fortunately as long as you keep fit, you can keep going for years and I intend to.

“There is no doubt I will be back next year because there will be a big celebration to mark the XOD class association’s centenary. It will be something very special.”