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Displaying items by tag: Brian Flahive

#rorcsrbi – After more than a week at sea, Irish Two-Handed team, Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive racing First 36.7, Lula Belle, have had a fantastic 24 hour run, covering nearly 200 miles in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. Just 60 miles to go until Blackrock, the team will be welling up inside as they start to get a glimpse of the Irish coast during the day. Lula Belle is 620 miles (just under a full Round Ireland race distance) from the finish and their current estimated time of arrival in Cowes is midday on Saturday 23rd August. Lula Belle is currently leading the Two-Handed Class on the water and after time correction.

The British Two-Handed team, Ian Hoddle and Conrad Manning racing Figaro II, Rare, have covered 160 miles in the last 24 hours and have 700 miles to the finish. After Rare's pit-stop on the Isle of Lewis last night, the Two-Handed team have made a big gain. Werner Landwehr and Heiner Eilers racing two-up on their Figaro II, Dessert D'Alcyone, are just 19 miles behind Rare. This has created a fascinating battle at the back of the pack. Dessert D'Alcyone and Rare are both 32 feet in length and vying for the prize of the first 32 foot yacht to complete the race.

At 0800 this morning nine yachts were still racing. Ifan James, skipper of Stimpson 42 Palpatine, contacted the Royal Ocean Racing Club yesterday to retire from the race with all crew well. Palpatine left the Isle of Lewis in the early hours of Tuesday morning and is currently passing the Isle of Skye, east of the Outer Hebrides. A scenic sail past the stunning lochs of the West Coast of Scotland in good weather and dry clothes will be a dream compared to the rough conditions experienced over the last few days.

Roderick Knowles' Class40, Swish, rounded The Lizard just before dawn this morning. They are 150 miles from the finish and speeding along at over 8 knots, well inside world record pace for a yacht of 40ft or less. Swish is expected to finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in the early hours of Wednesday morning (20th August).

Pride of Germany
Custom JV52, Haspa Hamburg skippered by Katrin Hilbert, is just 94 miles from the finish, 30 miles offshore south west of Portland Bill. The young crew are all members of the German yacht club, Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt. Founded in 1903, the club's tradition is to encourage young people to take part in ocean racing. The vast majority of the crew is less than 25 years old. In 2010 the club's entry in the race, Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg, came 5th overall under IRC, taking just under 10 days to complete the course. For the 2014 race, Haspa Hamburg is currently 4th overall under IRC and should finish the race in under nine days.

BvB on board
Sent from on board Bank von Bremen to the race blog
Just 10 miles from the Scilly Isles with 237 miles to go, JV53 Bank von Bremen, skippered by Carol Smolawa, is crewed by members of the Segelkameradschaft das Wappen von Bremen (SKWB). Based in Bremen and founded in 1934, SKWB has about 700 members worldwide. It provides each member with the opportunity to use the club's own boats to race offshore and at national and international regattas.

Carol Smolawa sent in this message from the race course:
"After all the rough days, we have a wonderful sailing day and most important, we could dry our clothes! What a wonderful feeling to have dry boots and garments! Under gennaker we sail with 11 knots in sunny and warm conditions; who could not ask for more? Tomorrow morning we will see the Scilly Isles and then the final leg towards Cowes. We are all happy that we are competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. The boat and crew have no major incidences. Now we are giving it our best for the last leg to Cowes," writes Smolawa.

Jellyfish Goes West
J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish, skippered by James George, was positioned 30 miles off the west coast of Ireland last night, so far in the race only the Spanish Volvo Ocean 65, Team Campos, decided to go that far offshore. However, the move looks to be paying off. At St. Kilda, Relentless on Jellyfish was behind Hanse 53, Saga, skippered by Peter Hopps, and British Soldier, sailed by the Army Sailing Association. Relentless on Jellyfish seems to have benefited from more wind during the night and this morning has passed both Saga and British Soldier, moving into first position in IRC Two, just under two hours ahead of British Soldier.

 

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Dubliner's Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive, racing First 36.7 Lula Belle always knew it would be a test of endurance and now after a week at sea the Dubliner's are approaching St.Kilda, 800 miles from the finish of the Round Britian and Ireland race. The pair experienced strong winds through the night which have abated somewhat this morning.

Ten yachts are still racing in the although the next yacht to finish the gruelling 1800 mile race is not expected until tomorrow evening. Over the last 24 hours a low pressure system that arrived from the north west, is bringing gale force headwinds that are hampering the progress of the fleet north of the Irish coast.

Roderick Knowles' Class40, Swish, is in the Celtic Sea, 340 miles from the finish and is expected around midnight tomorrow (Tuesday). At their current pace, Swish is almost 24 hours inside the world record for yachts of 40ft or less.

Roderick Knowles sent this message back to the RORC organisers. "The instruments are playing up so we have no wind readings and we have blown out our gennaker. The good news is we have fixed our fractional kite. All is well, but we are very wet and it has been a tough couple of days, especially on Saturday when we had three reefs in, but now on full main and with that record on our minds, we are pushing when we can!"

Katrin Hilbert's Custom JV52, Hapsa Hamburg, is currently halfway across the Celtic Sea and 300 miles from the finish. Carol Smolawa's JV53, Bank von Bremen, was making good progress this morning having passed Slea Head and making good progress along the stunning coastline, south west of the Ring of Kerry, with 430 miles still to complete.

After two days of rough weather, two yachts are battling it out for class honours in IRC Two. J/111 British Soldier, skippered by Phil Caswell, has made great progress through the night and, after gybing at dawn this morning, they are heading for the north coast of Ireland with just under 700 miles to the finish. J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish, skippered by James George, is 10 miles behind British Soldier but leading the class on corrected time by just one hour.

Hanse 53, Saga, skippered by Peter Hopps, is the new leader of IRC One. The previous class leader, Stimpson 42 Palpatine, is still taking shelter in Stornaway. Peter Hopps contacted the RORC Media Team from the yacht 15 miles from St.Kilda, describing the conditions since rounding the top of the course:

"Our trip up to Muckle Flugga slowed as we got closer and we ended up beating round it in quite a light and pleasant breeze. The wind filled in as expected from the SW, before veering NW and increasing to around Force 9. When our third reef pennant broke we dropped the main and have been sailing under headsail only since. You may have picked up a sudden slowing down on the tracker. This is probably a good thing as we have had a more comfortable sail and have put less pressure on everything. Life onboard is a little damp at present, but I'm sure it's a lot better for us than for some of the others. The hand-hold we rigged up in the saloon is now also doing duty as a clothes line. Looking forward to our beef stew for dinner."

Ian Hoddle's Figaro II Rare, with crew Conrad Manning, sought shelter on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis last night. This morning, the two-handed team are back on the race course having contacted the RORC:

"Yesterday things started to get serious out here and, with a Force 9 predicted, we decided to take cover. Things have been very mad; with two reefs in the main and the storm jib there were times when we were both afraid," commented Conrad. "I went up the rig to fix the wind wand, but still no joy, which means we will be doing it the old fashioned way. We have just left Lewis in good spirits and flying towards the next mark, feeling slightly drier, but not for long!"

At 0930 BST Werner Landwehr, racing his German Figaro II, Dessert D'Alcyone, two handed with Heiner Eilers, is north of the Isle of Lewis with 885 miles to go.

The general weather outlook for the western coasts of Scotland and Ireland, and the Celtic Sea, is that the north westerly winds will prevail, but high pressure is due to arrive from the mid-Atlantic by tomorrow, bringing lighter westerly winds.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive's progress continues in the 1800–mile Round Britain and Ireland race today. The Dublin two handed pair sent this update from Lulabelle as they approach the Shtland islands leaving them with a 1,000 mile to the Solent finish next week. "The first sign of things changing were the waves were now against us then the wind turned. The hard beat started to Shetland. Over 100 miles up wind. Wind in 20's again today.

Shackle on jib blew so we had to stop to fix that. While we were stopped we fixed nav lights. Bulb blew in lights but broke inside so we had to fit spare set to bow. Brian did same hanging from the pulpit. Despite my best efforts he did get dunked a couple of times so he can confirm the gauge saying water temperature 32c is also incorrect.

Life on board is still uncomfortable. The sailing is great it's all the other stuff that's a nuisance. Eating sleeping etc. All our injuries have come from falls down below as boat is rocked.

As day closes we see we have actually sailed 155 miles but only covered 110 of race course. The tide seems to be forever against us. And it's not so much the 2 knts you loose against it it's the 20 degrees you lose of pointing that kills you. The north sea tides are erratic and hard to work with.

Spirits are good anyway as we hope to see Shetlands tomorrow" 

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Liam Coyne's First 36.7 Lula Belle, racing Two-Handed with Brian Flahive, is just west of Sunderland with 1450 miles to go, which means that the Dublin Bay pair from the National Yacht Club will have about a week at sea before they finish the Round Britain and Ireland race in one of the smallest boats in the fleet. From the start, Damian Foxall's Oman Sail-Musandam had 3 days and 3 hours to complete the course for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race to set a new world record.

On Day Three of the race the trimaran's three hulls, sailed by Foxall, two British expats and three Omanis, are continuing to hammer on south. The lightening quick MOD 70 has hit the turbo charger, screaming along at 30 knots off the North West coast of Ireland. Currently Musandam - Oman Sail's expected finish time is approximately 1000 on Thursday morning, three hours inside the world record set by Loick Peyron's 140ft trimaran, Banque Populaire 5, in 2011.

"Records are there to be broken and it would be an honour to be bettered by such a great team," commented Loick Peyron by telephone to the Royal Ocean Racing Club. "Perhaps if they do set a new record it will also be good for the race. It will encourage other multihulls to come and try it - it is a fantastic course."

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam is leading the fighter formation of Volvo Ocean 65s that have now all rounded Out Stack and are heading home. At dawn this morning Azzam was passing Sula Sgeir, a remote island that marks the halfway point in the race and is best known for its population of gannets. However it is unlikely that the Volvo Ocean 65s, blasting along at over 25 knots, will have the chance to do much bird watching. Ian Walker, skipper of Azzam, called the RORC Media Team just after rounding Muckle Flugga at 2000 yesterday.

"The decisive factor in the race so far has been sail selection and timing of sail changes," commented Ian Walker. "Obviously you have got to go the right way, but that all ties in with where you decide to go and what sails you want to be on and then you can concentrate on putting the hammer down.

This has been a really tough race so far, right from the start, but we were all fresh for that and the North Sea was non-stop navigational decisions with oil rigs and sand banks on top of heavy conditions and sail changes. It is all about ragging it on deck, coping with the non-stop spray and pushing the boat as hard as we can. One thing we have seen in this race that we haven't seen in practice is being so close to the Spanish team - relaxing for just five minutes reflects in a loss.

The biggest call so far was as we approached Muckle Flugga, we stayed more to the west than the Spanish team. We spent four or five hours with the big sail on trying to get west so that we didn't get sucked up into the low pressure. We knew that as long as we had good wind speed we were inside the shift and, when we eventually gybed, the distance between us would become our lee. In the end the gybe call was very, very, difficult as the wind was very shifty. We gybed as late as we dared and just managed to just get round the top of the rocks. Navigating around a headland like that, with a 100 degree wind shift, was about as difficult as it gets and our navigator Si Fi (Simon Fisher) nailed it - we made quite a big gain."

IRC Overall
Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 51 Varuna, racing in IRC Zero, is the new overall leader for the 20 strong IRC fleet. After time correction Varuna made the top of the leader board yesterday evening and, on the morning of Day Three, Varuna is estimated to have an eight hour advantage over Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project.

However at 0700 BST, Varuna was still 70 miles from Out Stack with a complex weather scenario in front of them while Monster Project rounded Out Stack at about 0500 into the fresh northerly breeze and will almost certainly gain many miles on Varuna over the next seven hours or so.

Class40
Burkhard Keese's Stella Nova has retired with boat damage and they are making their way to Den Helder in Holland, expecting to arrive there before dusk tonight. This leaves Roderick Knowles' Swish as the only Class40 still racing. The British Class40 is expected to round Out Stack in the early evening. The highly experienced crew on board include South African Nick Leggatt, with three circumnavigations including the Class40 Global Ocean Race. He is joined by Ian Munslow with one circumnavigation, two Transats and a Route du Rhum, and Paul Peggs who has over 40 years of offshore racing including two Mini-Transats. So far Swish is on course to shatter the Class40 record set by Concise 2 in 2010.

IRC One
Jankees Lampe's Open 40, La Promesse, is the runaway class leader and currently enjoying a blast past Aberdeen in the North Sea at over 10 knots. Darren McLaughlin's Hanse 531, Saga, has made good progress overnight and is currently due east of Edinburgh. Saga is skippered by Peter Hopps, who has competed in every RORC Caribbean 600 and 12 Rolex Fastnet Races and the crew of Saga have been training for the race all season. For them, just finishing the Sevenstar Round Britain Race is their 'Everest'.

"So, we started on Monday morning at 9 o'clock when the rest of the world was going back to work... of course we are happy!" commented Peter by satellite connection. "Everyone enjoyed the spectacle of the start and the speed of the VO 65s and the trimaran, which was really impressive. Unfortunately we were taking our spinnaker down when the Volvos came past so we were a bit preoccupied! That sail has remained firmly in its bag since then - we had a good run up the Channel under poled out headsail which was very effective. We've been at sea for a while now and have settled into our watch system. We're all quite happy and heartily glad we are going anti-clockwise. It looks like we'll have to beat the last bit up to the Shetlands, but we're all here for the experience, which should include beating!!"

IRC Two
Ian Hoddle's Figaro II Rare, racing Two-Handed, leads IRC Two on the water. At sunset last night, just off North Yorkshire, Rare, the smallest yacht in the race, gybed offshore to cover Ross Applebey's Scarlet Logic, which had been making big gains. Through the night Rare led the way, just a few miles ahead of their bigger rivals, and this morning at 0700 BST Rare was six miles ahead of Scarlet Logic. However, after time correction, Scarlet Logic is still leading the class.

IRC Three and Four
Liam Coyne's First 36.7 Lula Belle, racing Two-Handed with Brian Flahive, is just west of Sunderland with 1450 miles to go, which means that the Irish pair will have about a week at sea before they finish the course. Rob Hammomd's J/109, Ruag White Knight 7, crewed by the Royal Armoured Corps YC is currently leading IRC Three on corrected time, and are four miles ahead of Keith Gibbs' C&C 115, Change of Course, sailed by David Dyer.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Dublin offshore sailing team Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are just four days away from their 'biggest ever challenge' in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) Round Britain and Ireland race this Sunday.

Veterans of two Round Ireland races and two Fastnets, the sole Irish entry say the non stop 1800–miler is the next 'logical step' in Coyne's First 36.7, Lula Belle. The race starts from Cowes at noon and is expected to take a fortnight to complete.

The fleet will set off down the Solent to the east and turn west around the south side of the Isle of Wight. After that the course is simple: leave Ireland and Great Britain to starboard all the way to the northern tip of the Shetland Isles, a point known as Outer Stack just north of Muckle Flugga, then return down the eastern side of the UK back to where the race started in Cowes, a non-stop 1800 mile race. The fastest yachts may complete the course in under a week. For the slower yachts, nearly two weeks is likely.

This year yachts flying the flags of 11 nations will be taking part: China, France, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Ireland, Oman, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.

Following the success of a tracking system for the entire fleet in 2010, all yachts will be fitted with a similar device. Tracker here

Although, clearly the Dublin pair will have other matters on their mind, Coyne hopes to post to his blog and tweet from @lulabelle367

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorc – Irish offshore duo Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive will rub shoulders with IMOCA 60 Skipper Robin Knox Johnston and MOD 70 skipper Sidney Gavignet when they join the panelists at a pre–race press conference for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the sole Irish pair, who will race on Lula Belle, a First 36.7, set off on Sunday 10th August from the RYS startline in Cowes. The non-stop 1,802nm course takes the competitors around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland, including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga. It is one the most challenging offshore races and the ultimate test of endurance for both the corinthian and professional sailors taking part. 

Other press conference panellists include Sam Davies, Team SCA, VO65 (GBR/SWE), Ned Collier Wakefield, Concise 8, Class40 - Holder of Class40 record (GBR), Katrin Hilbert, Skipper Haspa Hamburg, JV52 (GER), Ifan James, Palpatine, Stormforce Coaching (GBR) and Rob Hammond - Ruag White Knight 7 (GBR).

The 2014 entries include an amazing variety of yachts and sailors; exceptional people who come together as a team to attempt to climb one of offshore racing's biggest mountains.

Coyne and Flahive's Two-Handed team from Dublin, Ireland, on the First 36.7, Lula Belle, see the race as the next big step.

"We see this as a real challenge. Offshore sailing is an adventure sport and just as a skier wants to progress to the diamond slopes or a mountaineer wants to climb Everest, so we want to push ourselves and, having done two Round Irelands and two Fastnets, this seem the next logical challenge," said Liam.

"The physical endurance element has to be the biggest challenge for us - surviving two hours on, two hours off, shifts. Also with this watch system you spend a lot of time on your own and the loneliness is an aspect other boats do not worry about. On the water, rounding the Shetland Islands and sailing unknown waters with currents and overfalls, will be a daunting place for a 36ft boat and if big winds hit, that will be tough. The best times will be the same as always; the start line and crossing the finish but I am sure there will be many good memories in between."

Line honours - multihull

The Sultanate of Oman's MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail gearing up for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Credit: Sander van der Borch
MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail is hot favourite to be the first yacht to complete the course. Co-skippers Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and Damian Foxall (IRL) have put together a MOD70 crew selected from Oman Sail's elite squad of sailors, plus well-known South African Volvo and America's Cup sailor Jan Dekker - half of the crew will be Omani for the first time ever.

Sidney Gavignet knows the course well having set the Round Britain and Ireland non-stop singlehanded record in the 105ft Trimaran, Oman Air Majan, in 2010 with a time of 4 days, 15 hours, 9 minutes and 27 seconds. However, the outright record for the course will be a tough one to better. In 2011 Loïck Peyron's Banque Populaire 5 completed the course in 3 days 3 hours 49 minutes and 14 seconds, at an astonishing average speed of 23.38 knots!

First clash of the Volvo Ocean 65s
After racing round the Isle of Wight in the Artemis Challenge during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will be the first outing for the brand new fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s that have been built especially for the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in October 2014. It is the first skirmish between five professional teams: Team Campos, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Alvimedica, Dongfeng Race Team and Team SCA. The race presents a great opportunity for the crew to learn about the boat and themselves in advance of the Volvo Ocean Race. In the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race the Volvo 70, Groupama, took monohull line honours and set the monohull course record of 5 days, 21 hours and 26 minutes, before going on to win the 2010-11 Volvo Ocean Race.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's striking

Ian Walker will skipper Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's entry, Azzam in the race. A multiple Olympic, America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Ian is one of Britain's most successful sailors, but nevertheless the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will be new territory for him and most of Azzam's crew.

"I have never taken part in this race before, nor completed a lap of Britain," said Ian. "It is a great race course and a perfect test for our fleet of boats in the run up to the start of the Volvo. You have to be ready for anything when sailing this course. I don't think we will get much sleep and the currents and numerous headlands will make for very tough training. I love the big starts in Cowes and I can't wait to see what the top of Scotland is like. I hope it is kind to us."

Sir Robin takes up the challenge

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has had a glittering career in yachting and this is his 9th race around the British Isles, having established the first race record in the 48ft More Opposition in the 1976 RORC race, winning Class One in just under 11 days. Sir Robin is famous for winning the Golden Globe trophy in 1968/9 for the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world. In 1994 he teamed up with Peter Blake to win the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe while, at the age of 68 in 2007, he raced his IMOCA 60 around the world in the VELUX 5 Oceans Race.

For this edition of the race around the British Isles, Sir Robin will be 75 and sailing his IMOCA 60, (now aptly named Grey Power), two-handed with Simon Clay, an experienced Open 60 sailor and good friend.

"Tactics will be dictated by the weather. There may be weather fronts and the coastal course is a navigational hazard to be avoided, but I don't get into deep analysis, I just get on with it," commented Robin Knox-Johnston. "I never really think about the endurance aspect of this race. When you have spent 312 days on your own around the world, it isn't something that occurs to you; a week or 10 days at sea is just that. When things are going wrong, well it's worse for the other people because I think they will like it less. I am entering this race because I think it is a great race to do; this will be my ninth race around the British Isles and I am using it for a work-up for the Route du Rhum in November."

Artemis returns to defend her title

The overall winner of the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race returns, now known as Artemis - Team Endeavour. The IMOCA 60 will be skippered by Mikey Ferguson, who was on the boat four years ago, and the crew includes Jules Verne winner, solo round the world sailor and multiple world record holder, Brian Thompson. Artemis Team Endeavour has taken part in many RORC races this season with crew including injured members of the armed forces. Team Endeavour is jointly funded by the Team Army Sports Foundation and the Endeavour Fund, an initiative created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Class40 - Records to Beat

Five fully crewed Class40s will be competing this year. Ned Collier Wakefield's Team Concise is back with a new Ker designed Class40 in an attempt to break the class race record he set in the 2010 race of 9 days, 13 hours, 32 minutes and 20 seconds:

"Four years ago we competed in the Sevenstar RBI on our then new Class 40 Concise 2. The challenging forecast made for a wet and wild ride and enabled us to break the 40ft World Record. We are now back with our new Ker Class40 and weather depending, will be looking to break our own record. The race offers a fantastic shake down for our boat for the Route du Rhum and will certainly act as a great test for boat and crew. We are all greatly looking forward to being on the start line and it is always good when you get round the top and start the journey home."

Two-Handed Endurance

Rare, skippered by Ian Hoddle with crew Conrad Manning, hopes to be the smallest yacht to ever complete the race. The bright pink Figaro II has been a familiar sight at RORC races for the past four years, including two Rolex Fastnet Races. Ian has a real incentive to complete the race besides personal satisfaction.

"This will be the longest race Rare has done to date. It is an incredibly tough undertaking to race this course Two-Handed. We have to finish the race in 14 days or we will be out of food and out of leave from work," commented Ian Hoddle. "We will be raising money for the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent as my six year old nephew James was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour earlier this year. Both he and his family, who live on the Isle of Wight, have been supported extensively by this fantastic charity as James very bravely battles this disease. We have raised nearly £5000 so far and wish to exceed this target."

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts on Sunday 10th August from Cowes. The non-stop 1800 mile course takes the competitors around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland, including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorc – Ireland's sole Round Britain and Ireland Race competitors Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are up against famous British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the epic race that starts in 11 days time.

As Afloat reported earlier this month, Irish offshore duo Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive, veterans of the Round Ireland and Malta's Middle Sea Race  are in for a 'real challenge' . The race is expected to take over 15 days to complete, the first time organisers have allowed a double–handed class. 

The pair will race in their Beneteau 36.7 Lulabelle, a regular on the ISORA circuit out of Dublin Bay.

News that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, will compete, the second race on his Open 60 ahead of his participation in November's French single-handed classic, the Route du Rhum is certain to add extra spice to the marathon yachting event.

The British founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and first ever man to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968/69, will compete in his ninth RBI race on his yacht Grey Power alongside Simon Clay in the two-handed class.

The 1802-mile non-stop course organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club every four years starts on 10 August from Cowes, the Isle of White.

Simon Clay, 38, an associate of WhiteCap, was campaign manager for Sir Robin when he participated in the solo Velux 5 Oceans Race in 2006/7.

Sir Robin said: "This race has some excellent entries and will provide some tough competition, but it makes for a perfect practice build up for my participation in the Route du Rhum in November.

"I am very happy with how my newly-fitted out Open 60 is performing so far, but I look forward to testing it further on this race."

Sir Robin has competed in six of the Royal Western Yacht Club's two-handed Round Britain and Ireland races, won it twice, raced in the inaugural Royal Ocean Racing Club's crewed non-stop race in 1976 and won Class 1, and made a solo non-stop attempt on the record and failed by three hours 14 years ago.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

Afloat magazine profiles Noonan Boats, one of the country’s leading repair facilities

From collision damage, keel fairing right up to osmosis treatments and re-sprays, Noonan boatyard in Newcastle, Greystones Co. Wicklow offers such a comprehensive service on the East Coast there is little need for any boat to go abroad for repairs these days, regardless of the extent of damage.

And news of the quality work has been spreading with boats from the four coasts Ireland coming to Wicklow for a range of work.

noonan_clip2

Graeme Noonan (left) has extensive big boat repair experience from his time in the marine industry in Sydney, Australia and is an active RS sailor. Founder Tony Noonan (centre) has spent a lifetime in the Irish Marine industry with Neil Watson Yachts, Wicklow Marine Services before setting up Noonan Boats in 1995. Brian Flahive is an active dinghy and keelboat sailor this year finished second in the Round Ireland double-handed class and won the Fireball National Championships.

Father and son team Tony and Graeme Noonan have over 30 years in the business and have recently expanded the premises to over 3,000 sq feet to cater for a growing range of repair work for boats up to 50 feet under cover.

They have a well-established reputation for the treatment of osmosis, to resolve hull blistering. This is a preventative and remedial process that requires specialist treatment.

The bulk of repair work comes from along the East Coast based boats and the nearby port of Dun Laoghaire but the company offers a national service to include transport to and from the Noonan boatyard if required.

“We have an established track record dealing with Insurance companies. No job is too difficult, too small or too big for us” says Tony Noonan.

Most work is carried out in in a purpose-built marine workshop containing two lifting bay facilities that includes keel and rudder repair pits but the firm also carries out on site repairs to suit too.

Repairs are carried out to original specifications and they carry out re-moulding repairs to up to date construction methods e.g. GRP foam core, Balsa core and carbon under vacuum bagging conditions.

A particular speciality is the repair of carbon repairs to dinghy masts, spinnaker poles and hulls. This has become more popular recently with the advent of carbon bowsprits on boats such as the J109s and SB3s.

Keel fairing, the process of improving the accuracy of the shape of a keel to improve boat speed is also high on the jobs list.

The company also has the specialist hot weld equipment to carry out the repair of polyethylene materials as used in the RS Feva and Laser Pico dinghies.

noonan_work

Colour Matching

Making a fibreglass repair to bring a boat back to original specification is one thing but matching gel coat to weathered or faded paintwork is quite another. Noonan Boatyard cosmetically match gels to present colour so the repair can appear practically invisible.

Polyethelene Repair

Plastic boats are durable but they can split and crack. Repairing them requires specialist heat gun welding equipment

Repair and re-spray

Weathered topsides, especially darker colours, always benefit from a re-spray, tired areas including decks and non-skid areas can also be re-sprayed

Floor matrix repair

After a keel grounding with rocks, for example, damage to a floor matrix may not be immediately visible but it is vital that inner frames are checked and repaired

Osmosis treatment, hot vac and copper coat

The yard uses the latest technology in the treatment of osmosis. Hulls are gel-planed to expose lay up prior to a HOT- VAC process and drying. This can be the stage where copper coat is an economical choice. It ends the need for the expensive and unpleasant annual chore of cleaning and repainting a boat’s hull. Simply hose down the hull at regular intervals, commonly once a year, to remove any build-up of sea-slime. We currently have two examples in our yard at present which show after one year and after ten years of immersion – and still working. Come and see for yourself!

Fully Repaired, Tried and Tested

Noonan Boats completed extensive repairs to Oystercatcher, a Gibsea 37, and when this work was completed the firm entered the boat in the gruelling 704-mile race round Ireland.

Local sailors Brian Flahive (Fireball National Champion) who works at the yard and Bryan Byrne manned what was Wicklow Sailing Club’s first ever yacht to entry into the doubled handed class of the Race. Dubbed the ‘Pride of Newcastle’ the entry finished an impressive winner of IRC III and Cruiser Class IV. The pair also finished second in the two handed class.

It was no easy journey but certainly the repairs stood up to the job, a case of repair work being tried, tested and proven!

The Boatyard, Sea Road, Newcastle, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Tel/Fax: 01 281 9175  •  Mobile: 086 170 8875
Email: [email protected]

Published in Boat Maintenance

Dark clouds scudded across the sky over Valletta, bringing with it wind pressure for the ten boats that took to the start line for a coastal race in advance of Saturday's start of the premier event, the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The fleet – just a part of the 84 yachts entered in the offshore race – used the approximately 24 mile course as a warm-up, a chance for the foreign boats to shake off the jet lag and get crews sailing together, for some the first time in these waters.

One Irish boat is entered in the race Legally Brunette from Dun Laoghaire but one of Ireland's top short handed sailors is on board a Maltese entry.

"Aziza", a Grand Soleil 40 owned by Sandro Musu, will be racing with a half Irish, half Maltese crew.

It is Hurley's fifth Middle Sea Race in a row, and this year "I'm proud to be able to introduce three other Irish offshore sailors to one of the best middle-distance offshore races in the world" he told Afloat.ie. Hurley, Andrew Boyle, Fireball champion Brian Flahive, and Liam Coyne will sail Aziza under the burgee of the Royal Malta Yacht Club. The rest of the crew is local.

The coastal course also gave a chance to sort out the local conditions, which were fresh today, as well as this archipelago's fascinating geography. The fleet started in Marsamxett Harbour, in the shadow of the towering spire of St Paul's Cathedral and the landmark dome of the Carmelite Church. There was no shadow from the breeze however, which shortly before the start piped up to 15 to 18 knots. The northwesterly wind angle put the fleet on a broad reach and shortly after the start, many boats put up spinnakers or big genoas; the TP52 Lucky hoisted an asymmetrical spinnaker and shot to weather of the fleet and led out of the harbour. At the opposite end of the line was the 38-footer, Seawolf of Southampton (GIB) flying a symmetrical kite, that enabled them to sail more of a rhumbline course down the coast. Offshore the 3 - 4 metre sea was slightly bigger than the accompanying 18 to 20 knots of breeze; once on the opposite gybe the bigger boats made use of the following seas to surf at speeds of 18+ knots in the gusts.

The course took the boats a mile out to a fairway buoy, and then on the opposite gybe, around and down the eastern end of Malta to round the outer island of Filfla, leaving it to starboard, and a long beat back to the finish in Marsamxett Harbour.

Today's fleet was a good cross section of the breadth of the full list of competitors with boats from Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Gibraltar, United States, and United Kingdom. The lone Maltese boat was Elusive Medbank (MLT), Arthur Podesta's  Beneteau 45. This will be Podesta's 31st Rolex Middle Sea Race, and the lifetime sailor has the distinction of having done every race since the inaugural start in 1968. His track record is good with wins in 1970 and 1983, and a 2nd and 3rd place as skipper. Arthur's core crew is made up of his daughter Maya (who's done 9 races), and his two sons Aaron (9 races) and Christoph (8 races).

Following today's coastal race, Podesta reflected on the day, "It was a fantastic pre- Rolex Middle Sea warm-up. We're going to start off next Saturday in less wind; it might build up but it's good that we had today's wind that topped 27 knots. We managed spinnakers, we managed to top 15 knots of boat speed, and we also managed not to break anything, so that's a good hooray."

The conditions down the coast got lumpier and several competitors – Lucky and Bonita – retired rather than risk breakdowns that would keep them from the main event. Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky's owner/skipper said "We came here to do the offshore race, everything was fine, though with 24+knots we probably should have tucked a reef in. But we got the boat going, we checked out all the safety equipment, and we're ready to go on Saturday."

The first boat to finish was the Valentine Zubkov' Shipman 63, Coral (RUS), at 14:29:12 (an elapsed time of 4 hrs, 29 mins); but, it was David Latham's Seawolf that won the coastal race on corrected time, followed in 2nd place by Elusive Medbank, Peter Hopps' Nisida (GBR) in 3rd, and Coral in 4th (the balance of results were pending at press time).

Valentin Zubkov, owner/skipper of line honours winner, Coral, said, "It was really a good wind. They (RMYC Race Committee) gave us a long course around Malta, the wind was 25-30 knots; it was fantastic. To be honest, we didn't hoist all of our sails, keeping safe, but we hoisted a large 330 sq m gennaker and our maximum speed was 22 knots."

This will be Zubkov's third Rolex Middle Sea Race on Coral; in 2008 they were 11th on elapsed time, but corrected out to 56th place as the boats' handicap reflects the carbon boom and rigging.  In the strong winds of the 2009 race, they ripped the main and jib and broke the furling system and had to retire. This year, with some improvements to deck hardware and new sails, Zubkov said, "Now we have three professionals from Synergy, the Russian team...we grew up together. It's a little better, now we have 50/50 pros and amateurs (six + six).

"This is one of the top regattas for me, I can't go to Rolex Sydney Hobart, and no chance to go to Rolex Fastnet, so this is the most high-rated regatta and it's the end of the season. We try very hard to be here, and we put a lot of effort into it. I like this race, it's very interesting: there's no wind, and then there's strong wind."

Quite a few boats and competitors are still enroute to Malta, while many of those already here spent the day dockside running through a punch list of tasks to complete over the next three days.  The 606-nautical mile offshore race begins on Saturday from Grand Harbour, with a start at 11.00am.

Tomorrow, Thursday, is a Crew Party at the Royal Malta Yacht Club, and on Friday there will be a skipper's race and weather briefing. The Rolex Middle Sea Race commences on Saturday, 23 October 2010. The final prize giving is on Saturday, 30 October. George David's Rambler (USA) established the current Course Record of 47 hours, 55 minutes, and 3 seconds in 2007.

Published in Offshore
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