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'It's Amazing How That Sail Held' - Skipper Talks Lula Belle At Round Britain & Ireland Finish

23rd August 2014
'It's Amazing How That Sail Held' - Skipper Talks Lula Belle At Round Britain & Ireland Finish

#RORCSRBI - Liam Coyne and his sailing partner Brian Flahive crossed the finish line at Cowes around lunchtime today on their plucky First 36.7 Lula Belle to claim sixth place overall in this year's Round Britain and Ireland Race. Writing from the relative comfort of the shore, Coyne shared with us the pair's final days of racing...

Day 11 started with a night approach to Scilies. We had a great run with the A5 kite down but the wind went forward and we arrived with the jib up.

The worst part of having only one kite left was when to use it. When we rounded the Scilly Islands we should have put kite up and done three or four jibes but we had a spreader stuck through the mail sail and A lot of dark night gybing with it and our last kite did not appeal.

We ended up sailing around the Scillies to Lands End with only the main sail up. It was torture watching Rare pass us and have to be so conservative but we wanted to finish.

At first sunrise we hoisted the A5 and kept it going for 24 hours to arrive at the Isle of Wight at 6am on day 13. Despite Brian sowing it three times and the flogging it got in the last 24 hours, it's amazing how that sail held.

We were lucky to arrive at St Catherine's Point with tide so had a nice easy finish.

I must say I was very appreciative of the crew of Rare, who we beat to second, to come back out to the finish line with their families on board to applaud us over the finish.

The harbour master were good enough to tow us the the marina where the RORC team met us with media and champagne. It was confirmed we won the IRC Two-Handed class and combined classes 3 and 4, and finished sixth overall.

We are overwhelmed with all the well-wishes and messages. It's amazing how many were following [the race]. Boats are now tied up and we have to start repairs. Still have a 450-mile trip home.

Certainly it's one of the toughest races ever but very doable, and I hope our success this year leads a lot of other smaller boats to do this challenge.

 

MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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