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Howth Yacht Club's Fogerty & Knowles Prepare for Round Britain & Ireland Challenge

12th July 2018
Conor Fogerty at the helm of his Sunfast 3600 which he will sail Round Britain and Ireland in August with Simon Knowles Conor Fogerty at the helm of his Sunfast 3600 which he will sail Round Britain and Ireland in August with Simon Knowles

There's just one month to go for Irish Sailor of the Year, Conor Fogerty racing his Sunfast 3600 Bam double-handed in the 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, a record 37 teams have taken up the challenge of one of the world's toughest offshore races. Many of this year's entries are crewed by passionate Corinthian sailors, fulfilling a life-long ambition to complete the 1,800 nautical mile infamous race. Whilst the teams will race in a variety of performance cruisers under the IRC Rating system, the race for the best corrected time will be highly competitive.

Harmen Jan De Graaf's Ker 43 Baraka will be one of the fancied teams to win overall under IRC having won the Volvo Round Ireland Race this July. Among the latest entries for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race are two top class two-handed teams; Fogerty racing Sunfast 3600 Bam, with Simon Knowles of Howth Yacht Club and Vincent Willemart's Belgian MC Patton 34 Azawakh, overall winner of the 2014 RORC Season's Points Championship.

The Army Sailing Association was second in class in 2014 and are back for this year's edition with a crew of servicemen and women from the British Army. Andrew Britton will skipper X-41 British Soldier. Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster retired in the 2014 edition and is back to finish the race, hoping to put in a winning performance. Performance Yacht Charter have been racing with the RORC for over a decade but will be making their first appearance in the race since 2006 in their Beneteau First 47.7 EH01.

Over the past six months Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra has been racing extensively in the Caribbean, competing in numerous offshore races including the Antigua Bermuda Race and the Newport Bermuda Race. She is currently racing back to Europe in the AAR Bermuda to Hamburg Race in order to take part in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starting on 12th August.

"Since we left Hamble last November Pata Negra has sailed over 10,000 miles; 7,000 of them racing, including two Atlantics," commented Boat Captain, Oliver Heer. "For the race, the owner (Giles Redpath) has put together a team of experienced sailors and we will be looking to get maximum performance from the boat and do well in the race. We have seen in past editions that the most important thing is to keep the boat and the crew in good shape, to do well you first have to finish."

Based in Hamble UK, Sailing Logic has won the RORC Sailing School Boat of the Year nine years in a row and has a long history of competing in the race. For the 2018 edition, Sailing Logic's First 40 Arthur will be competing. "The race is as long as most ocean crossings, but is a completely different challenge with all the tricky tides and headlands of a coastal race. We have a strong team for this race as it has a fearsome reputation," commented Sailing Logic's Prue Nash. "

"I'm super happy to take beginners on the regular cross channel races as we are a sea school and everyone needs the chance to do their first race, but for this one we wanted a higher level of experience given what the weather can be like, especially around the top of Scotland. Jon Tyrrell will be skipper and Jim Bennett is mate. They've just finished the Volvo Round Ireland Race together and three of their crew have previously done that race on Arthur. In addition to the RORC qualifying races, we had a training weekend in the Solent and a World Sailing Offshore Safety course together; we want a strong safety ethos on board. The team have practiced MOBs, storm sails, rudderless sailing, sail changes, watch keeping, living on board and keeping Arthur in one piece and sailing fast and in the right direction!! The training races are vital for this," continued Nash.

The Oxford University Yacht Club will be racing Prima 38 Talisman in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Established in 1884, the club has mostly focused on dinghy sailing, however in 2001 the club started racing offshore.

"The race is an ideal opportunity for four current and one former Oxford student to take place in one of the toughest corinthian yacht races in the world, and is it takes place in the middle of summer it is ideal for students," commented OUYC Rear Commodore Sean Lindsall. "We have a young yet experienced crew which have taken part in several Fastnets, two Atlantic crossings and a previous double-handed round Britain and Ireland. Inshore the team also won this year's Student Nationals. Despite it probably being the wettest, coldest and windiest two weeks of sailing in my life, there will be unforgettable moments and it will be an amazing adventure, which we hope to win!"

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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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