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Gear Failure No Set Back, Coyne & Flahive Still Lead Two Handed Round Britain & Ireland Race

21st August 2014
Gear Failure No Set Back, Coyne & Flahive Still Lead Two Handed Round Britain & Ireland Race

#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."

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The Round Britain & Ireland Race

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.

The 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is organised by The Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with The Royal Yacht Squadron.

It is run every four years. There have been nine editions of the Round Britain and Ireland Race which started in 1976 Sevenstar has sponsored the race four times - 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and has committed to a longterm partnership with the RORC

The 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is a fully crewed non-stop race covering 1,805 nautical miles and is open to IRC, IRC Two Handed, IMOCA 60s, Class40s, Volvo 65s and Multihulls that will race around Britain and Ireland, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes on the Isle of Wight starting after Cowes Week on Sunday 7 August 2022

The last edition of the race in 2018 attracted 28 teams with crews from 18 nations. Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 saw over victory and Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy established a new world record for 40ft and under, completing the course in 8 days 4 hrs 14 mins 49 secs.

The 1,805nm course will take competitors around some of the busiest and most tactically challenging sailing waters in the world. It attracts a diverse range of yachts and crew, most of which are enticed by the challenge it offers as well as the diversity and beauty of the route around Britain and Ireland with spectacular scenery and wildlife.

Most sailors agree that this race is one of the toughest tests as it is nearly as long as an Atlantic crossing, but the changes of direction at headlands will mean constant breaks in the watch system for sail changes and sail trim

Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race Records:

  • Outright - OMA07 Musandam-Oman Sail, MOD 70, Sidney Gavignet, 2014: 3 days 03:32:36
  • Monohull - Azzam Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, VO 65, Ian Walker, 2014: 4 days 13:10:28
  • Monohull All-Female - Team SCA, VO 65, Samantha Davies, 2014: 4 days 21:00:39
  • Monohull 60ft or less - Artemis Team Endeavour, IMOCA 60, Brian Thompson/Artemis Ocean Racing, 2014: 5 days 14:00:54
  • Monohull 40ft or less – Imerys Clean Energy, Class40, Phil Sharp, 2018: 8 days 4:14:49

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