Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has climbed further up the rankings on the 3,542-mile transatlantic Route du Rhum challenge.

The 75-year-old grandfather is currently fifth in the Rhum division in the race from St Malo in France to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, with 1,981 nautical miles to go as of last night.

The British Clipper Race founder and first man to sail solo, non-stop round the world in 1968/9 has been making ground in the competition on his Open 60 Grey Power.

Now, Knox-Johnston, the oldest skipper on the solo event, is north of Cape Verde heading further across the North Atlantic towards the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Hamble sailor Phillippa Hutton-Squire had to abandon her Class 40 Rhum campaign after colliding with another competitor. “I have a compression crack in the mast,” she reported. “It was very scary and not easy but I am not injured and the boat has not incurred any further damage.

“It has been a real disappointment, especially watching the rest of the fleet sail off across the Atlantic while I have had to deal with insurance companies.

“I want to try and get a campaign together for four years’ time.”

Another Hamble-based sailor, Miranda Mirron, is currently in eighth place in Class 40.

She is hot on the heels Fabrice Amedeo in seventh, with just eight nautical-miles separating them.