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Rugged Atlantic Conditions Take Toll in Round Britain & Ireland Race

15th August 2018
Howth’s Conor Fogerty & Simon Knowles in Bam!, are offshore beyond Valentia Island. See pre race video interview with Fogerty below. Howth’s Conor Fogerty & Simon Knowles in Bam!, are offshore beyond Valentia Island. See pre race video interview with Fogerty below.

The anticipated freshening sou’westers have been taking their toll as the Sevenstar fleet race along Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard writes W M Nixon.

On-water leader Corum (Nicolas Troussel) – having been hitting speeds of 16 knots once she’d the Blaskets astern – has since been slowed back by sail and gear problems, and the front runner in convincing style is now Phil Sharp’s Class 40 Imerys Clean Energy, which will soon pass the latitude of Tory Island – though by now far out to sea – as she shapes her course for the remote Scottish outlier of St Kilda with 16 knots and better regularly on the clock.

pata negraThe Lombard 46 Pata Negra currently leads IRC overall as she races along the Connacht coast this morning. This is the boat which was chartered by Howth’s Michael Wright/Kieran Jameson team to take second in Class 2in the RORC Caribbean 600 in February.

In these conditions, just one flap of a light offwind sail can start the inexorable progress to its total destruction, and with boats being pushed to the limits, other gear problems can suddenly and irreversibly emerge. Thus on the Irish coast alone during the past 18 hours, the Class 40 Esprit Scout has retired into Cork Harbour, the A13 Phosphorous II (ex-Teasing Machine II) is now in Castletownbere, and the Class 40 Phor-Ty (Sam Goodchild) is recently arrived in Rossaveal.

Of those still racing, the most impressive performances are being recorded by Imerys Clean Energy, well out in front with 70 miles between her and Corum, while in the IRC Open Division it is Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra which is setting the pace.

This is the boat which Howth’s Michael Wright/Kieran Jameson team chartered for the RORC Caribbean 600 in February, and despite losing most of their spinnakers, they took second overall in Class 2.

This morning Pata Negra is zapping past the latitude of Slyne Head at better than 13 knots with everything holding together, and she leads IRC overall.

In the two-handed division, the Figaro 2 El Velosolex (Benjamin Schwartz & Chen Jin Hao) has continued to demonstrate what potent performers these specialized boats are, and she holds the Two-Handed Division lead with the Blaskets receding towards the horizon astern at better than 9 knots.

The two leading Sunfast 3600s in the Two-Handed class, Game On (Ian Hoddle & Ollie Wyatt), and Howth’s Conor Fogerty & Simon Knowles in Bam!, are offshore beyond Valentia Island. Bam! has pulled back Game On’s lead a little, and the gap is now down to 8 miles as both boats start to feel the speed benefits of the strengthening winds. But with 1380 miles still to race, there’s a lot of sailing to be done before this contest is finally resolved.

Tracker is here: http://yb.tl/rbni2018

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