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A Pint Before the Off: Howth's Conor Fogerty & Simon Knowles Set for Round Britain & Ireland Race

9th August 2018
Campaign sponsor Aidan McManus (left) of the King Sitric restaurant in Howth with Simon Knowles (centre) and Conor Fogerty relaxing in their home port with a pint in the King Sitric prior to departure for the Cowes start of the Round Britain and Ireland Race on Sunday Campaign sponsor Aidan McManus (left) of the King Sitric restaurant in Howth with Simon Knowles (centre) and Conor Fogerty relaxing in their home port with a pint in the King Sitric prior to departure for the Cowes start of the Round Britain and Ireland Race on Sunday

The 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race  has a record entry of Two-Handed and Class 40 teams and Ireland is in the mix with the potent Howth Yacht Club duo Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles in the much-fancied Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 BAM!

29 teams in total will line up for the start on the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes at noon on Sunday 12th August, which will be streamed live. Details below. 10-15 knots from the south is forecast, giving fast reaching conditions as the fleet head east out of the Solent. Later in the day, the wind is due to shift to the southwest and freshen to 20 knots, pressing the teams into upwind mode as they head along the southern headlands of Great Britain.

Aiden McManus Conor FogertySkipper Conor Fogerty (right) victualling for the 1800–mile voyage in the kitchen of the King Sitric with Proprietor Aidan McManus

Well over 100 intrepid sailors from all over the world will race non-stop around the notorious 1,805 nautical mile route. Just finishing the race is a massive achievement; winning class will be monumental. The yacht with the best corrected time under the IRC rating rule will be awarded the John Illingworth Trophy. The organising authority, the Royal Ocean Racing Club are all set for the race and a hero's welcome for the multi-national teams at the finish back in Cowes.

Two-Handed Teams

A record 10 teams will be racing with just two crew in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race; finishing the race will be a memorable achievement. Only three Two-Handed teams have successfully completed the race in previous editions, including 2014 winners, Ireland's Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive. Briton, Ian Hoddle is back in 2018 with Virgin Media Business, racing with Ollie Wyatt. Irish Sailor of the Year, Conor Fogerty will be racing Bam with Simon Knowles. Briton Gavin Howe, who has raced the course in both a sail and powerboat, is racing Tigris with Sam Cooper. All three teams will race Sun Fast 3600, which should prove to be a monumental battle.

Two sailors from the winning team of 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race will also be taking on the race Two-Handed; El Velosolex Sl Energies Group's Benjamin Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao both raced with Dongfeng for their epic win in July. For Chen Jin Hao (aka Horace), this will be his second Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, having come third in the VO65 class in 2014. RORC member Charles Emmett will be racing his classic Sigma 36 British Beagle Two-Handed with Tim Winsey and the team are likely to take at least 10 days to complete the race.

Two well campaigned British yachts will have a private duel in IRC 1, Mark Emerson's A13 Phosphorus II will be taking part in their eighth RORC race for the season. Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra has raced over 7,000 miles in the last six months, including two Transatlantic Races.

The British Army has a long tradition in offshore racing and nine serving men and women will race the Army Sailing Association's entry X-41 British Soldier. The crew are Private Soldiers, Sergeants and Captains, right up to Colonels. However, military rank is subordinate to position on the team for the race. The Oxford University Sailing team will also be taking part in their first race on board Prima 38 Talisman.

Record Class 40 fleet

Eleven pocket-rocket Class40s will be racing; the 40ft Monohull World Record for the race was set in 2014 by Roderick Knowles' Swish (8 days 19:06:49). In the right conditions, all of the Class40 teams competing this year are capable of breaking that milestone. The Class40 Line Honours winner will receive the Lekeitio Cup.

Briton Phil Sharp racing Imerys Clean Energy is amongst the favourites, ranked third in the world for 2018, the skipper is aiming to become the first Class40 sailor to win the Route du Rhum for a second time. However, he is not the only Class40 sailor with big ambitions. Hannah Stodel has won three Paralympic sailing world titles and this race represents an early test on her long-term ambition to race in the Vendee Globe. Sam Goodchild is also in preparations for an assault on the Route du Rhum and will be skipper on Peter Harding's Phor-ty, alongside two-time Vendee Globe sailor, Mike Golding.

The most experienced team will be Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Campagne de France, this will be Miranda's sixth race, including setting a world record with Sam Davies in 2006. Oman Sail will also be racing and French skipper Sandrine Pelletier will lead an Omani crew. The husband and wife team of Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davis will be racing Aparito with Pip Hare. Chris says the most challenging part of the race will be managing Elin's unrealistic expectations!

There will be live coverage of the start from 11:30 BST Sunday 12th August via Facebook Live here. With commentary from the water and the Royal Yacht Squadron Line as the fleet set off. 

All competing yachts are fitted with YB Trackers and a freely available race tracker will allow fans to follow their progress 24-7. Regular race updates will bring you all the news as the teams battle around the course.

Updates on Conor and Simon's progress on Team

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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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