A WINNER of the Rolex Fastnet Race ­— the world’s largest offshore yacht race ­— has been declared.

At least 30 Islanders were involved this year, from a massive fleet of 450-plus vessels.

Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise has been crowned overall winner.

After being confirmed as runaway winner of the IRC Two division yesterday, no other boat still racing on the 695-nautical-mile course can catch the British boat for overall honours.

Tom is the first British winner of the race since Charles Dunstone and his maxi Nokia Enigma in 2003.

Reunited this morning with his two-year-old son, Sam, he couldn’t hide the emotion of winning a race that has come to mean so much to him.

He said: “I’ve had 24 hours to reflect on the race after we finished yesterday, and it really is all about the people, the amazing team that sailed with me, and my incredible partner Francesca who has done so much to make this happen.”

For someone who only took up offshore racing just seven years ago, Tom has come a long way in a short time.

By his own admission, Tom’s first Rolex Fastnet Race in 2015 was a comedy of errors aboard his secondhand Elan 350 cruiser/racer called Sunrise.

But he has proven to be a fast learner who has quickly worked out what it takes to put together a race-winning campaign.

“It doesn't really matter what level in the fleet you're at," said Tom.

"As long as you have a good crew, and the right support, then you can win your class.

"And if you can win the class you can win overall, although that depends on things like tidal gates, wind conditions, things that are much more in the hands of the gods, I think.”