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Displaying items by tag: Lulabelle

#rorcsrbi – The Plucky National Yacht Club duo that have experienced major gear failure in the last 48 hours are still leading IRC Four and the Two-Handed Class of the Round Britain and Ireland Race with 360 miles to go. Liam Coyne, racing two-handed with Brian Flahive on First 36.7, Lula Belle, is making good speed across the Celtic Sea.

Werner Landwehr's Figaro II, Dessert D'Alcyone, was 35 miles from the Fastnet Rock at 0900 BST, having covered 140 miles in the last 24 hours. Ian Hoddle's Figaro II, Rare, have used their Code Zero to good effect covering 146 miles in the last 24 hours, more than any of the six other yachts still racing. Rare's Conrad Manning reports that the pink hull seems to be attracting a number of visitors as he explained by text message. "More dolphins and these ones have kids too!".

Six yachts are still racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and after light winds slowed their progress yesterday (Wednesday) morning, the wind picked up overnight much to the delight of the remaining competitors. British Soldier and Relentless on Jellyfish are having a tremendous battle in IRC Two and the three remaining Two-Handed teams are making great progress.

Wednesday afternoon JV 53, Bank von Bremen, skippered by Carol Smolawa and crewed by members of the SKWB (Segelkameradschaft das Wappen von Bremen), crossed the finish line of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race completing the race in under 12 days to claim third position in IRC Zero.

"We had a bit of everything thrown at us in the race, the start was fantastic, downwind through the Solent and east out through the Straits of Dover but it was very tough up the North Sea and all the way around to St.Kilda on the west coast of Scotland," commented Carol Smolawa. "We had to tack against heavy winds and we were very happy when we passed the Shetlands and thought, good, we can now go downwind; but the low pressure just followed us all the time.

"I will remember the gale in the west and we had so many different situations to deal with and such high speeds. We had a daily distance of around 240 miles a day and that's incredible! The most special moment was when we had to set the storm jib. A safety warning was coming in from the Coastguard with Gale force 10 expected and we were prepared when the huge waves came crashing onto the boat. Our boat was strong and our crew made it.

"Finishing the race and coming back to Cowes is such a great feeling. We made it and it was such an amazing experience. It was the first time the SKWB Club and myself, plus all the young sailors on board, have done this race. Many years ago I saw the boats preparing for the Round Britain and Ireland Race and I thought 'I will do that one day'. It was so great and such an honour to do this race.

"We wrote to our Club saying that we have 11 sets of foulweather clothing and boots for sale at the end of this race! However, in a couple of days we will have changed our minds and you might see us in four years time. The RORC is such a great organisation and thank you all for such a great race, with great moments for us."


At 0900 BST Hanse 531, Saga, skippered by Peter Hopps, was 50 miles from the Scilly Isles having covered over 100 miles in the last 24 hours. Saga is expected to finish the race in the early hours of Saturday morning to claim first place in IRC One.

In IRC Two J/122, Relentless on Jellyfish, skippered by James George, had an excellent night. Gybing north of the rhumb line, Relentless on Jellyfish made a massive gain over the Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier. At dawn this morning, Relentless on Jellyfish was the first yacht, still racing to pass the Scilly Isles. Over the last 24 hours, Relentless on Jellyfish has gained 26 miles on their rivals to lead the six yachts still racing.

"We can see British Soldier's kite behind us for the first time and we are now in 10 knots of wind planning on how to tackle the headlands along the south coast of England," commented James George. "We are determined to take line honours for the class, morale is good but it's tense on board, we know we have a real fight on our hands with British Soldier. It has been one hell of a race and we want to finish on a high, we are just trying sail fast and hang on to this lead."

British Soldier had to put an injured crewman ashore in the early part of the race. With just five on board, their watch system has had to change, resulting in far less rest and everybody on deck for every manoeuvre, regardless of watch:

"When we saw them (Relentless on Jellyfish) in front of us this morning it was a bit of a blow," commented Phil Caswell, British Soldier's skipper. "We were absolutely gutted but we are over that now and we have eyes on them, working as hard as possible to pass them. We know we have a quick boat downwind and we are determined."

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – After nine days at sea and 500 miles still to sail, Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are struggling to finish the 1800–mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race this Saturday in Cowes. Two spinnakers gone, the mainsheet track shattered, Coyne asks 'what next?' from the deck of two-handed Irish First 36.7 Lulabelle, currently off the West Coast of Ireland. 

We have been to far from shore over the last few days communications have not been possible.
Days 4 and 5 were just a hard slog against the tides and wind to get to the Shetlands but we finally got there. We rounded Muckle Flugga but knew there was a rough weather system coming from west. We had to decide to take shelter or head out. We decided to head west and we would be able to cross on southerly winds to the centre then head south on the north westerly winds the other side.
This would cost us a lot more time but it would be safer. Lula Belle 2 handed does not perform well up wind. With the lack of weight we get blown cross ways in the water.
We went west and it was a hard slog as our southerly winds were more south west and with wind it was very difficult to keep it west and not north.
Finally a day later and the winds died. We knew we were in the eye of it. On the way the Shetland Coastguard radio had moved from force 8 to force 9 and then warned as system had passed Faeroe Islands the winds were severe storm force 10. We were very apprehensive. We readied the boat with 3 reefs and storm sail and sat and waited. Two hours later for shift change Brian came up and asked for a report. I said it's like been stood up for a date. Your sitting here with all your gear and your date has not arrived. Two hours later when the storm hit Brian said, 'your date has arrived' and 'she's nasty'.
It was a nasty storm. I don't know if going west cost time but I was so glad we were meeting this from the north and not coming sideways to this storm. As we still have no wind instruments from day two we don't know how strong the winds were but the waves were enormous. There were massive waves from the north. These were not to bad as we could surf these. The small waves from the west were the dangerous ones. As they hit the stern of the boat they would cause her to turn to wind to round up. All we could do was to ride it out. Later the northerly waves got quite scary as they started to break behind us and water would fill the cockpit and on occasions in the wash boards. These were scary. They came in sets of 3 every 20 minutes.
Then to make things worse, waves from the east started. These were far more dangerous, as the west waves only caused round ups, these east ones caused us to accidentally gybe. And as anyone knows an accidental gybe is dangerous but in force 10 it's really not nice.

"An accidental gybe is dangerous but in a Force 10 it's really not nice..."

We had to turn the Boat more to weather and suffer the round ups as this was the safest option. We don't know the wind strength but we were doing 16–knots boat speed at one point with only a 3 reefed main and no head sail. We battled this for 12 hours. When it finally subsided. This was a night to remember but we were glad it was over.
We arrived at sunrise to the majestic sight of the Sun rising over St Kilda. The wind was about 20 and we had reached the half way point. We have no idea how we are doing in the race but now we have the A5 up and we are pushing for the home county of Mayo and Belmullet. With the speeds we are doing we should be there by Tuesday morning about 5am after 8 days. Sailing now with the kite was exciting but hard work. When your 2 hour shift finishes your arms feel like they are going to fall off your shoulders.
Then Monday night day 8 disaster strikes. Due to wind shifts we were back to white sails only and then the wind died. This was expected and really we needed to go to kites. But the night was so black we did not really chance flying the kites.
We have no wind instruments. And normally we would pick a cloud, star or something to point at but the sky is only black. No reference point. Very unstable ways to fly a kite. We took the decision at 2 am leave it so with main only we proceeded. By 4 am the sky had broked a little so we went for a hoist. Hoisted the brand new A2 for Brian to say there's a rip in that and there was. No sooner had he said those words than it completely shredded. Not one spin on the new kite.

liam_coyne.jpg

Liam Coyne at the pre–race press conference – Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

We then put up the A3 and went with that. I went to bed and Brian started his shift. 20 minutes later I was awoke been turned upside down as the Boat broached. It was not righting so I rushed up to help Brian. We finally stopped it flogging and the boat righted only for us to see this kite now also had come apart.
Completely deflated we got the kite back on board and decided to think about things. We were heading west so decided to gybe to Belmullet. Everything was going so good. We were screaming down south it looked like our racing now just started and our two weapons of kites are gone. What next?
Well as we gybed to Belmullet the track for the main sheet shattered. Bits of track everywhere. Bearings everywhere. Brian and I just looked at each other. We had come through everything that could have ruined our race and here on a mild night of no more than 16/18 knts of wind everything is going wrong.
So here we are on day 9. A lame duck. As always our main priority is safety of us and vessel and we believe nothing damaged or broken pose a threat to that. We have decided to try to finish. We have one small kite with a repair done to it left and our white sails.
It has to be said it's doubtful we will be able to finish but we will give it our best shot.

Liam and Brian, we're all behind you! – Ed.

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Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

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