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August 2022 will see the start of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s most tactically challenging offshore race as competitors in the non-stop Round Britain and Ireland Race set off on the 1,805 nautical mile marathon, run every four years.

Confirming their continued support of the toughest event in the RORC racing calendar is long-term partner Sevenstar Yacht Transport who is a leading Dutch yacht transport and logistics company. The 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race is their fifth consecutive title sponsorship of the race; a partnership dating back to 2006.

“We are proud to once again sponsor this demanding ‘bucket-list’ race,” says Sevenstar’s Managing Director, Richard Klabbers, who has himself twice competed in the punishing sprint around Britain and Ireland.

“The 2014 race led to an astonishing five world records being broken due to the exceptional weather conditions, thanks to hurricane ‘Bertha’ and in the last event in 2018, 28 teams from 18 different countries had to contend with a huge variety of conditions - from gale-force winds and massive waves, to dead calm and everything in between!” says Klabbers. “The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is there for all those sailors willing to test their personal limits by racing their boat around what can be a highly challenging race course and to finish is a huge personal achievement.”

Sidney Gavignet's MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail team sailed an epic race in the 2014 edition of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and still hold the outright world record of 3 days 03:32:36Sidney Gavignet's MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail team sailed an epic race in the 2014 edition of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and still hold the outright world record of 3 days 03:32:36 Photo: Rick Tomlinson

 

Richard Klabbers, Sevenstar's Managing Director (right) presents awards to Ian Walker whose record monohull run on VO 65 Azzam Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing of 4 days 13 hrs 10 mins 28 secs is the benchmark to beat in the 2022 raceRichard Klabbers, Sevenstar's Managing Director (right) presents awards to Ian Walker whose record monohull run on VO 65 Azzam Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing of 4 days 13 hrs 10 mins 28 secs is the benchmark to beat in the 2022 race

A new Monohull Around Britain and Ireland World Record was established by Volvo Ocean 65 Azzam-Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker during the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 Photo: Ian RomanA new Monohull Around Britain and Ireland World Record was established by Volvo Ocean 65 Azzam-Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker during the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 Photo: Ian Roman

“As organisers, we are delighted to have this enduring partnership with Sevenstar Yacht Transport,” says RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone. “At 1,805 nautical miles the course is two and a half times longer than the Rolex Fastnet Race and it takes competitors through a myriad of different conditions, with crews having to cope with a huge number of elements. This is what makes the race so compelling and most sailors agree that it provides a tough test of character. Experienced amateurs and seasoned professionals alike aspire to compete in a race that is real challenge and run only every four years,” continues Stone.

First organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in 1995, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race circumnavigates all the islands of the UK, including Muckle Flugga, the most northerly point, which at just under 61 degrees is further north than Cape Horn (56 deg) is south and a significant milestone for any sailor.

The overall winner of the 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Pata Negra approaches the finish line in Cowes after racing nearly 2,000 nm in one of the toughest races in the RORC race programmeThe overall winner of the 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Pata Negra approaches the finish line in Cowes after racing nearly 2,000 nm in one of the toughest races in the RORC race programme Photo: Paul Wyeth  

A memorable moment for all crews. Sam Goodchild rounds the most northerly point of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race course - Out Stack at Muckle FluggaA memorable moment for all crews. Sam Goodchild rounds the most northerly point of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race course - Out Stack at Muckle Flugga

Encounters with wonderful sea life and spectacular scenery await competitors in the RORC's Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as they navigate the 1,805nm course © Pascal Bakker/Junique Raymarine Sailing TeamEncounters with wonderful sea life and spectacular scenery await competitors in the RORC's Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as they navigate the 1,805nm course © Pascal Bakker/Junique Raymarine Sailing Team

Teams celebrate the finish of one of the toughest, and for many longest offshore races, which for all is a real personal achievement Photo: Patrick Eden/RORC   Teams celebrate the finish of one of the toughest, and for many longest offshore races, which for all is a real personal achievement Photo: Patrick Eden/RORC

The 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will feature a wide variety of yachts racing under the IRC rating rule as well as one design and open classes, such as IMOCA, Class40 and Multihulls. The majority of the fleet will race fully crewed, but with the popularity of the Two-Handed class in recent years, the race is expected to have a record entry.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts on Sunday 7th August 2022 from Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. 

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

Phil Sharp's Imerys Clean Energy is under 200 miles from the finish of the Round Britain and Ireland Race, Tony Lawson's Concise 8, skippered by Jack Trigger is stalking the leader. The battle for line honours is expected to conclude tomorrow with both teams well inside the 40-foot world record.

After the retiralretiral of the Howth entry BAM, Irish interest in the race is maintained by ISORA entrant Wanderlust, currently second in IRC class four.

On the eighth day of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, all but three of the 18 teams still racing had rounded Muckle Flugga. Stories are coming in from the yachts about the cold front that brought storm force winds to the fleet. The extreme weather has now passed leaving in its wake patchy breeze and lumpy seas. Far to the south, the leading Class40s were still in over 20 knots, beating into the North Sea. The smallest yacht in the fleet, Benjamin Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao's Figaro 2 El Velosolex SL Energies Group, is under 500 miles from the finish and continues as overall race leader after IRC time correction.

After eight days at sea, fatigue becomes a big factor. The crews on board Phil Sharp's Imerys Clean Energy and Concise 8 have been on the wind since Muckle Flugga, and the beating is due to continue with the wind expected to veer west. They will need to stay fully alert as they negotiate one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Just 21 miles wide, the Dover Strait has 400 ships passing through every day!

The race for line honours is likely to be decided by tomorrow (Monday). The 40ft and under world record was set in 2014 by Roderick Knowles GBR, Class40 Swish (8 days 19 hours 6 minutes 49 seconds). To beat the record would require one of the two leaders to complete the race by 07:06:49 on Tuesday 21st August.

The provisional race leader after IRC time correction is Benjamin Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao's Figaro 2 El Velosolex SL Energies Group. The French and Chinese two handed team are 500 miles from the finish, negotiating a transition zone 60 miles east of Aberdeen. The wind is expected to veer north later today, giving Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 Pata Negra (which is over 100 miles ahead of El Velosolex SL Energies Group) fast downwind conditions before this arrives. The Army Sailing Association's X-41 British Soldier, skippered by Major Will Naylor is sixth overall and the crew, who are all serving members participating in Army sport in their spare time, is racing in a pack of yachts that will also benefit from the forecast northerly breeze.

"After a 'drive it like you stole it' to Muckle Flugga, it was more like 'try to keep it in one piece' after the Shetlands," Benjamin Schwartz, El Velosolex SL Energies Group told the media team. "We had a really furious downwind with a top speed of 21kts over the ground, pushing as much as we could with the big kite and then the small one, with a few of broaches on the way! Then upwind was very tough with maximum gusts at 50kts and a bad, bad crossed sea. We are now playing between the transitions, trying our best to keep our advantage on the boats behind and not let Pata Negra go too far ahead. We have a restricted autopilot now as our speedo interface is broken - a big handicap."

Three yachts are yet to round Muckle Flugga. The Oxford University Sailing Club's Prima 38 Talisman skippered by Simon Harwood has approximately 60 miles to go. The two handed team of Charles Emmett and Tim Winsey, racing Sigma 36 British Beagle, are leading IRC 4 and are approximately 136 miles from Muckle Flugga. A seasoned corinthian solo sailor, with more than 20,000 miles of offshore and ocean racing under his belt, Emmett is competing with his good friend Tim Winsey. After making two pit stops to repair her Sun Odyssey 45.2 AJ Wanderlust, Charlene Howard from Michigan, USA who is racing two handed with Neal Brewer from Arundel, UK is still over a thousand miles from the finish.

Sadly, Chris Staples' Sigma 36 Tantrum of Langstone was dismasted, but we are pleased to report that the crew and yacht are all safely in Ballycastle,Northern Ireland.

Gavin Howe's Sun Fast 3600 Tigris rounded Muckle Flugga at around midnight and contacted the media team. Gavin is racing two handed with Sam Cooper.

"We dropped the mainsail last night, which was sort of always in our plan with the weather forecast we had, even before the start. Just before dark, with 25 knots from behind, we were hit by a squall of about 37 knots. At the time we had a reefed jib and two in the main and were coming off waves at 19 knots. I shouted down to Gavin who was sleeping. We managed to get it down quite well and secured. We continued on with the reefed jib on its own and the boat was really well mannered in four metre waves. The swell was actually worse this morning as the wind had shifted, with three or four huge waves over 24 hours completely swamping the cockpit, so we have decided to have the companionway completely sealed up and the washboard in. If you are up on deck you have to clip on." 

Sailing Logic's First 40 Arthur, skippered by Jonathan Tyrrell celebrated their arrival at Muckle Flugga, the most northerly point of the course, with a bottle of fizz and well they might, having experienced the brunt of the cold front the day before:

"We broke all known First 40 speed records at 22.9 knots under just the J4 and two reefs in the main," exclaimed Arthur's skipper. "We changed down to the storm jib and trysail soon after that and saw 55 knots of wind for a while. We are all having fun and the boat is doing well, but having rounded Muckle Flugga, we are delighted to put the Code Zero up for the first time in this race. We are very much looking forwards to heading south!"

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

Six days into the Round Britain and Ireland Race, the two leading Class40s have rounded Out Stack off Muckle Flugga, the most northerly part of the 1,805 nautical mile course. Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy leads the charge south. Jack Trigger's young team on Concise 8 poses the biggest threat, and Nicolas Troussel's new French Class40 Corum has retired from the race having collided with a shark. Charles-Louis Mourruau's Colombre XL (The Lost Boys) moves up to third. In the race for the overall win under IRC, Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 Pata Negra is still in pole position, but Benjamin Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao's Figaro 2 El Velosolex SL Energies Group is within striking distance of the overall lead.

As Afloat.ie reported yesterday, Conor Fogerty's Irish Sun Fast 3600 Bam! has retired, as reported by co-skipper Simon Knowles on Thursday 16 August: "Bam! retired this morning after losing our second spinnaker halyard and spinnaker damage. Back to Dublin unfortunately. Fair winds and safe sailing to all you guys still racing."

Phil Sharp posted last night: "We are all very much looking forward to rounding Muckle Flugga tonight and making the turn south, though what will come will be heavy upwind and reaching conditions, more suitable for both Corum (now retired) and Concise 8. So, it's important for us to keep pushing and extend as much as we possibly can."

The leading Class40s are well inside world record pace for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Imerys Clean Energy rounded Out Stack approximately two hours ahead of Concise 8. With the wind now forward of the beam, Imerys Clean Energy's loss of their masthead spinnaker is not an issue, and the leader is pulling away from their pursuer in the North Sea. Corum officially retired from the race yesterday evening. "They are all safe and they're going straight to France," commented Corum's Marine Rafflin "Before arriving at the Shetland Islands they collided with a shark and damaged one of the rudders."

Leading IRC overall after time correction, Pata Negra is due to round Out Stack this afternoon. El Velosolex SL Energies Group is estimated to be second overall, just over one hour behind Pata Negra after time correction. Ian Hoddle's Sun Fast 3600 Game on (Virgin Media Business) is third.

"We've just gybed to head into Muckle Flugga and the Out Stack and we're pretty well at our highest at 60 50.00 N. It's COLD! It says a lot when we queue up to grind to warm up," commented Pata Negra's Chris Hanson. "The day and night have been a fantastic kite run with plenty of long surfs, but squalls caused us to drop and raise the kite eight times. Credit to bowman James Crampton, frequently clipping on and out onto the bowsprit to trip the kite. Last night, with the foredeck light beaming from above, James looked just like a sailing version of angel in the snow!"

While the leaders in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race have entered the North Sea heading south, the majority of the fleet are still on the west side of the course feeling the brunt of the North Atlantic. A depression is due to arrive later today with 30-35 knots expected with a significant wave height.

"Life on the good ship British Soldier continues, but we are now on a broad reach meaning the boat is a little flatter and the Olympic level of gymnastics is not required to get into a bunk," said Army Sailing Association's Major Will Naylor who has competed in the race twice before. "The winds are picking up now (mid-20's), we are thinking of the 30 to 35 knots forecast for tomorrow and particularly Friday night. Hard yards for the team, but they are well prepared."

In IRC 2, El Velosolex SL Energies Group is leading from Vincent Willemart's Belgian Mc34 Patton Azawakh, with Ross Applebey's British Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster currently in third place. Ross contacted the media team by satellite phone from the Atlantic Ocean, 60 miles from St Kilda.

"We have completed one and a half Fastnet Races and we are not even halfway," commented Ross, putting the enormity of the challenge into perspective. "In this race, our crew cannot go 100% all of the time. In a Fastnet, you spend longer on the rail and change sails a bit quicker, but this is a real marathon, and you have to pace yourself. El Velosolex SL Energies Group is sailed by two hardened Volvo Ocean Race sailors and they are going to be very difficult to beat. We know from having to retire last time that looking after the crew and the boat is crucial."

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

Today’s cancellation of the first day’s racing in the WIORA Championship at Galway gives some idea of the conditions being experienced by the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland fleet as they race northwards along Ireland’s west coast towards the next turn at the remote Scottish island of St Kilda writes W M Nixon.

Near or real gales from between southwest and west, with the pressure markedly increased by the exceptionally dense air, provide exceptionally challenging sailing conditions. The succession of sail changes needed to optimise for the weaving wind direction results in crews getting into a sweat under their foul weather gear. And then, as they settle down for a while under the new sail configuration, they find they’ve become very cold and tired without the adrenalin pumping, and the general energy-sapping dampness is all-pervading.

That said, doing well is a great stimulus, and aboard Phil Sharp’s Class 40 Imerys Clean Energy they’re right in the groove, and should be past St Kilda before dark tonight, a clear 30 miles ahead of Corum and Concise 8.

The Irish entry, the Sunfast 3600 Bam! (Conor Fogerty & Simon Knowles) is west of the Aran Islands, and has pulled back a couple of miles on sister-ship Game On, but there’s still a margin of 15 miles to recover after they’d lost more ground through damage to their A5 (that’s the storm asymmetric). The tear has now been fixed, but making sail repairs under such conditions is not a project any sane person would seek to enjoy. And there’s every indication that it’s going to continue to blow big boots from the southwest to west for the next couple of days at least, after which the winds start to get messy. 

great foze rock2It’s for real! Photographic evidence of the existence of the Great Foze Rock as recorded from the Class 40 Aparito early this morning

Meanwhile, those armchair sailors who have doubted the very existence of the Great Foze Rock, the lonely and unlit westerly outlier of the Blasket Islands, have their answer thanks to the appropriately-named Class 40 Aparito, which took a snap going past at 0850 this morning.

The Great Foze is no apparition. It’s for real. But somehow now, thanks to Spellcheck, everyone seems to think it’s called the “Great Froze Rock”. It ain’t. It’s just plain Foze. As any Kerryman knows.

Race tracker here: http://yb.tl/rbni2018

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

The anticipated freshening sou’westers have been taking their toll as the Sevenstar fleet race along Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard writes W M Nixon.

On-water leader Corum (Nicolas Troussel) – having been hitting speeds of 16 knots once she’d the Blaskets astern – has since been slowed back by sail and gear problems, and the front runner in convincing style is now Phil Sharp’s Class 40 Imerys Clean Energy, which will soon pass the latitude of Tory Island – though by now far out to sea – as she shapes her course for the remote Scottish outlier of St Kilda with 16 knots and better regularly on the clock.

pata negraThe Lombard 46 Pata Negra currently leads IRC overall as she races along the Connacht coast this morning. This is the boat which was chartered by Howth’s Michael Wright/Kieran Jameson team to take second in Class 2in the RORC Caribbean 600 in February.

In these conditions, just one flap of a light offwind sail can start the inexorable progress to its total destruction, and with boats being pushed to the limits, other gear problems can suddenly and irreversibly emerge. Thus on the Irish coast alone during the past 18 hours, the Class 40 Esprit Scout has retired into Cork Harbour, the A13 Phosphorous II (ex-Teasing Machine II) is now in Castletownbere, and the Class 40 Phor-Ty (Sam Goodchild) is recently arrived in Rossaveal.

Of those still racing, the most impressive performances are being recorded by Imerys Clean Energy, well out in front with 70 miles between her and Corum, while in the IRC Open Division it is Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra which is setting the pace.

This is the boat which Howth’s Michael Wright/Kieran Jameson team chartered for the RORC Caribbean 600 in February, and despite losing most of their spinnakers, they took second overall in Class 2.

This morning Pata Negra is zapping past the latitude of Slyne Head at better than 13 knots with everything holding together, and she leads IRC overall.

In the two-handed division, the Figaro 2 El Velosolex (Benjamin Schwartz & Chen Jin Hao) has continued to demonstrate what potent performers these specialized boats are, and she holds the Two-Handed Division lead with the Blaskets receding towards the horizon astern at better than 9 knots.

The two leading Sunfast 3600s in the Two-Handed class, Game On (Ian Hoddle & Ollie Wyatt), and Howth’s Conor Fogerty & Simon Knowles in Bam!, are offshore beyond Valentia Island. Bam! has pulled back Game On’s lead a little, and the gap is now down to 8 miles as both boats start to feel the speed benefits of the strengthening winds. But with 1380 miles still to race, there’s a lot of sailing to be done before this contest is finally resolved.

Tracker is here: http://yb.tl/rbni2018

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

Heading into the third night of the 1805-mile RORC Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard is starting to provide the kind of speed sailing in which the pace-setters in Class 40 excel writes W M Nixon.

With a vigorous southwest wind developing, the leader-on-the-water Corum (Nicolas Troussel) has seen the numbers rising as she makes a finely-tuned approach to the major headlands of the Kerry coast, and at 1800 hrs was clocking 13.7 knots, a good knot faster than Phil Sharp’s Imerys Clean Energy three miles astern.

Once they’ve passed the Blaskets, the kites will be out, and then the speeds will become stratospheric provided that everything holds together, for torn sails and damaged rigs have wiped out many a promising performance along this Wild Atlantic Way.

Meanwhile, back in the Celtic Sea and still slugging northwestward from the Isle of Scilly, Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles in the Sunfast 36000 Bam! look to be well placed on the west wing of the fleet, provided the wind doesn’t back even more to life everyone up past Dursey Head.

Off the Irish coast, the Class 40 Colombre XL is now putting in some painful windward work south of Baltimore to make up for taking a leeward track in search of speed. But in the same area the Lombard 46 Pata Negra (Giles Redpath) has been freed just enough to give her a course which will enable her to lay past the Fastnet separation zone and hold onto her IRC overall lead.

If that backing of the wind favours Bam’s closest contenders El Velosolex and Game On in the same way, then Bam will still find herself in third place of this close-fighting two-handed trio. But with the way the wind is weaving around, things might yet pan out very nicely overnight for the Howth boat, which is powering along at 7.2 knots, rather better than Game On’s 6.4.

Race tracker here http://yb.tl/rbni2018

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#RB&I - Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles in the Sunfast 3600 BAM! were yesterday evening narrowly leading the two-handed division in the RORC Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland’s 1,805-mile marathon, writes W M Nixon.

The Howth Yacht Club duo were trying to keep cover on the Figaro 2 El Velosolex SL Energies Group (Bejamin Schwartz & Chen Jin Hao) close to the north of them, and Sunfast 3600 sister-ship Game On (Ian Hoddle & Ollie Wyatt) to their southeast as the fleet approached the massive tidal gate of Portland Bill, sailing hard on the wind.

El Velsolex to the north found freshening breeze in under Portland Island, which also got her more quickly into the Bill’s beneficial tidal shadow.

With the local sharpening of the breeze, she was able to make a clinical of job of rounding Portland Bill within a stone’s throw of the shore in slacker water, and then lengthening away into Lyme Bay on port tack.

This left BAM! with the least bad option of following, and though she too was right in on the shore at the point itself, the spark had gone from the breeze and for a while she was hung up at only 2.2 knots over the ground.

El Velosolex, meanwhile, got away into a lead of thee miles before the Irish boat got going again, but at least Game On had been left well astern, so much so that she opted to go well offshore.

Any beat westward in the English Channel will find a varying pattern of wind strengths, and through the night as the fleet slowly neared Start Point with the Mach 40.3 Corum (Nicolas Troussel) leading narrowly on the water from Phil Sharp’s Class 40 Imerys Clean Energy, at times those inshore were favoured.

But then those offshore began to get better breezes, and when the group to the north closed with the southerly group off Start Point around 7am this morning, El Velosolex had lengthened further to eight miles ahead of BAM!, but the latter was now neck-and-neck with Game On.

The two Sunfast 3600s — less than two miles apart — elected to continue the offshore tack on starboard, but at 10.29am El Velosolex tacked onto port.

This was the state of affairs at the noon position, with the Figaro still heading for the distant shore, while Game On and BAM! are holding on starboard and having a right dong, Game On ahead by 1.7 sea miles and sailing at 6.3 knots, and Bam! on her weather quarter shown as sailing at 6.4 knots. And they still have 1,670 miles to go.

Crossing the Celtic Sea from the Isles of Scilly to southwest Ireland will be interesting, as the wind is forecast to be bang on the nose at first, but backing through tomorrow. This suggests that keeping to the left will be a strategic imperative, but for how long will be anyone’s guess.

Race Tracker here: http://yb.tl/rbni2018

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

The Howth Yacht Club duo of Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowes are off to a good start in both the Two-Handed division and overall in the 1805-mile RORC Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, which started at noon off Cowes with an eastbound first leg out of the Solent, and then headed west round the south of the Isle of Wight with the next turn beyond the Isles of Scilly. Progress was initially fast in a brisk southerly, but the wind is now veering and easing, and the Fogerty/Knowles team in the Sunfast 3600 Bam! are back to 8.9 knots, having been recording 11 at one stage.

On IRC handicap they lead the Two-Handed Division and IRC 3, staying narrowly ahead of sister-ship Game On (Ian Hoddle & Ollie Wyatt) and well clear of Tigris, the third Sunfast 3600. The pace on the water is being set by the strong Class 40 division, with Volvo Round Ireland Race star Corum (Nicolas Troussel) currently fleet leader on the water.

Race Tracker here http://yb.tl/rbni2018

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

A regular ISORA competitor will take on the marathon Round Britain and Ireland Race double handed class starting on Sunday 12th August, a feat that follows in the wake of Liam Coyne's National Yacht Club First 36.7 Lulu Belle that took double–handed honours in 2014. The Irish Sea racer Kuba Szymanski's Beneteau First 40.7, Polished Manx II is one of ten double handed entries for the race.

The 2018 Sevenstar sponsred race will feature a wide variety of yachts racing under the IRC rating rule as well as one design and open classes, such as IMOCA, Class40 and Multihulls. The majority of the fleet will race fully crewed, but with over 10 entries and expressions of interest for the IRC Two Handed Class, the race is expected to have a record entry for Two Handed challengers.

The first ever RORC Round Britain and Ireland race was held in 1976, but it was not until 2014 that a Two Handed Team successfully finished the race. In 2014, Liam Coyne's Irish First 36.7 Lulu Belle, racing with Brian Flahive won IRC Two Handed. Ian Hoddle's Rare was runner-up and the first team in the history of the race to complete the gruelling 1,800 nautical mile challenge. Hoddle will be back this year with a new boat, his Sun Fast 3600 Virgin Media Business, co-skippered by Ollie Wyatt.

"Our goal is to win the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race IRC Two Handed Class, and based on the close competition in the 2017 RORC season, the biggest challenge will be the intensity of an 1,800 mile match race over 9 to 12 days," commented Ian Hoddle. "We have learnt that a race is never won until the finish line is crossed. Hard won miles can disappear at any point and the complexity will push us to our physical and mental limits. The experience from the 2014 edition was fantastic; starting alongside some of the best boats and pro-crews on the planet, the RORC organisation, the media helicopters, and finally meeting my family after a tough race was very emotional."

Kuba Szymanski's Beneteau First 40.7 Polished Manx II will be flying the Polish flag in the Two Handed Class. The veteran skipper is a short-handed expert having completed the Round Ireland Yacht Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race on many occasions.

"Lulu Belle, the Two Handed winners in the last edition told us their epic story of the race and I know how good Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are; they are our role models," says Szymanski. "To prepare for the race we will be racing and training as much as we can, maybe 10,000 miles. We will be confident of the boat and the crew, but the biggest challenge will be the weather."

Werner Landwehr's German Figaro II Dessert D'Alcyone will be racing Two Handed again having come third in 2014 and is one of the smallest boats competing. Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada, class winner in the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race is currently the smallest boat in the fleet and Ross Hobson's Pegasus Of Northumberland the largest. The British Open 50 took line honours for IRC Two Handed in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#srbi – The National Yacht Club and ISORA have announced that Liam Coyne, Co-Skipper of "Lula Belle" will give a talk in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire on the 12th November at 20.30. All are welcome to attend this unique presentation.

The "Dynamic Duo" of Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive came together for only one race in the season of 2014. They had sailed two-handed together for many years taking an active part in ISORA and also competing in the D2D, Round Ireland and the Fastnet races.

The full story of their campaign featured in WM Nixon's weekly sailing blog on Afloat HERE.

At the end of last season Brian had moved to live in Malta so it was decided that if they were to sail together again they would have to make it "worthwhile". To make it worth the trip from Malta they decided to enter the 1800 mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race!!! As the organisers had only just allowed two-handed entries for the first time, they seized the moment and entered.

They could not have picked a worst year to take part in this race. The weather conditions for the start were affected by the remnants of Hurricane Bertha. So bad was the weather that the organisers changed the direction of the race to go anti-clockwise around the course. To avoid the worst of the weather the start was also delayed for 18 hours. 28 boats took part in the race.

Racing Two-Handed around Britain and Ireland requires all round skill, great seamanship and tenacity. Most of the time the Two-Handed pair are alone on deck while the other sleeps. It can be a lonely existence on deck and the lack of sleep and the effects of exposure to the harshest of conditions is bound to take its toll on both yacht and crew.

Lula Belle overcame all the challenges that the course could throw at them. Despite significant breakages and technical problems, they limped over the finish line at 11:40:54 on Saturday 23rd August in an elapsed time of 12 days 02 hours 40 minutes and 54 seconds. They took 5th place overall in the race and 1st in the Two-Handed Class and the combined IRC Three and IRC Four Class.

Liam Coyne will give a talk on his adventure. He will talk about the technical and mental preparation required before and during the race. With the inclusion of video excerpts he will describe the challenges both he and Brian faced and how they dealt with them.

This talk is a great opportunity for any sailor who ever dreamt of racing offshore to learn about the severe challenges Liam and Brian lived through while taking part in what is probably the most challenging offshore race ever.

Liam will give his talk in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire on the 12th November at 20.30. All are welcome to attend this unique presentation.

Bar food is available in the Club before the talk.

For any enquiries contact Peter Ryan – 087 2545037 or [email protected]

Published in National YC
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