Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Round Britain & Ireland Race

#rorcsrbi – At 0700 BST, Damian Foxall's Musandam-Oman Sail was just 100 miles from finishing the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. The MOD 70 was experiencing about 15 knots of northwesterly winds in the English Channel. Musandam-Oman Sail was still achieving a speed of 25 knots but the wind angle meant a considerable number of gybes, drastically reducing their VMG. The team have approximately five and a half hours to cover the last 100 miles; it is too close to call if they can make the line before 12:59:14 to set a new world record. 

Azzam skipper, Ian Walker confirmed that another goal is within their sights during a satellite phone call to the RORC Media Team at 0600 BST:

"We are just rounding the Blasket Islands off the South West tip of Ireland, which seems incredible seeing as we only left Cowes less than 3 days ago," commented Ian. "We now have our running spinnaker up and conditions onboard have improved markedly. We have caught up on some sleep, eaten some food and are set up for what should be our last day and a bit at sea. We have wriggled away from the chasing pack overnight and now have a nice lead which we will aim to defend from here. It seems clear that the prize at stake is not just the first Volvo 65 but will also be the race record for whoever gets there first."

Ian Walker is referring to the monohull race record, set by Franck Cammas' Groupama in 2010 of 5 days 21 hours, 26 minutes and 55 seconds.

There is a battle royal going on between the chasing pack led by Team Dongfeng, skippered by Charles Caudrelier, SCA, skippered by Sam Davies, and Alvimedica, skippered by Charlie Enright. Rounding St.Kilda, SCA made a big gain. Dongfeng and Alvimedica gybed to the east, presumably to get a better wind angle, but SCA went almost all the way to the North Hebridian island of North Uist and looked to be in better pressure and angle of attack. The problem was laying the next mark, Blackrock, but SCA looked to get lifted off the land on the North West coast of Ireland and crossed in front of Alvimedica, making a 30 mile gain from St.Kilda to Blackrock. The all-female team on SCA have until 20:40:53 on Sunday 17th August to take the outright record for the fastest all-female team around Britain and Ireland. The current record is held by IMOCA 60, Aviva, which set it in 2009 and with two of the Team SCA crew onboard: Dee Caffari and Sam Davies.

IRC Overall
Yesterday evening there was a dramatic change in the weather conditions which will have a big impact on the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Shortly before dusk, the southwesterly breeze that had provided fast reaching conditions backed to the west, then northwest. For those competitors still in the North Sea, this meant beating into headwinds. For the faster yachts already around the top of the course, downwind conditions prevailed. At approximately 1330 BST yesterday Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 51, Varuna, was the last yacht to reach the crucial turning point at Out Stack before the wind inversion and in doing so retains the overall lead under IRC. Realistically, looking at the weather scenario, only two canting keel flyers can now beat Varuna on corrected time. Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project, and Brian Thompson's IMOCA 60, Artemis-Team Endeavour. However the two yachts are experiencing a period of light winds off the North West coast of Ireland, much to the advantage of Varuna which has a far lower handicap. Both of the canting keel challengers have moveable ballast while for Varuna to get in their winning position the crew would have been fully hiked out, especially in the early part of the race in the North Sea.

Poles Apart
This morning 14 yachts are making slow progress, beating into a cold north wind in the North Sea. The JV52 Hapsa Hamburg, skippered by Katrin Hilbert, and Class40, Swish, skippered by Roderick Knowles are close to rounding Mucka Flugga. At the back of the pack, two yachts are having a close battle and were contacted the RORC Media Team yesterday.

Ian Hoddle's Figaro II Rare, sailed with just two crew, is the smallest yacht in the race while Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, is a fully crewed and heavy displacement yacht. The two yachts are poles apart in terms design and crew but both are enjoying a tremendous battle in IRC Two. In the fast downwind conditions, Rare is lightweight and able to plane but with the upwind conditions, Scarlet Logic's displacement will come to the fore.

"The adrenaline has subsided and life on board is now routine," commented Ian Hoddle by satellite phone. "When we rounded Lowerstoft on day two our focus was on catching Scarlet Logic who had a 7 mile lead during the first night. With a rhumb line reach, we reeled them in as we navigated through the banks off Yarmouth. It seemed to take forever to finally pass them within a few hundred metres and then our courses diverged, as we went further inshore.

In the late afternoon the front came through with a bad squall. We had timed to perfection the change from Jib Top to J4, so the effects of the 35 knot blast were contained. A second front passed through and left us with 25 knots S/W, so at around 19.00 we finally got some colour in the sky with the pink A4 hoisted. A fantastic blast doing 16+ knots at times. By 22.30 the sky had darkened again, so we dropped the A4, just in time for 30+ knots with gusts. A great day for calling the sail changes!

Yesterday we continued to make great progress up the Eastern coast of the UK. 25 knots S/W clocked left and around lunchtime we found the low pressure system forecast. Big uncomfortable sea state with 30 knots building to nearly 40 made a tough afternoon. With two reefs in the main, we battled some really big breaking waves. With the wind clocking West and now N/W, we are in upwind mode trying to hold the rhumb line to the Shetlands. Scarlet Logic has returned back in AIS range and has reeled us back in!

Both the boat and ourselves are very damp. Off watch is spent cat-napping on spinnaker bags on the cabin floor - it's like sleeping in a washing machine....Looks like this is going to be the norm for a while now: Muckle Flugga, 196 miles to go."

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, has taken part in thousands of miles of RORC races in recent years and Ross spoke to the RORC Media Team from the yacht, 200 miles from Muckle Flugga and beating into a cold northwesterly wind. "This is the toughest race I have done - if you asked me right now if this is a good race to do, I would say that the RORC Caribbean 600 would be a better call - it's a bit bumpy out here!" joked Ross. "It is now getting colder, especially tonight, it will be thermals and full kit on the rail. We will have to dig in its going to be another seven maybe eight days before we finish and I am looking forward to a beer."

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Big celebrations in Cowes this lunchtime as Ireland's Damian Foxall added the Round Britain and Ireland Speed record time to his impressive offshore sailing CV on board the scratch boat, the Oman Sail MOD 70.

It came down to the wire as the giant MOD claimed the record but with only minutes to spare.

The crew of Musandam-Oman Sail, a MOD70 Trimaran crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 12.42.36 BST on Thursday 14th August 2014 with an elapsed time of 3 days, 03 hours, 32 minutes, 36 seconds. This breaks the previous World Record for a multihull held by Banque Populaire 5 in 2011, by 16 minutes, 38 seconds and is subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.

At 0850 this morning the Kerryman still had 80nm to go and even with boat speeds of 29 knots there was still doubts the MOD 70 could finish before 12:59:14 to claim the record. 

During mid–morning, as some pundits still expected the record to tumble, Foxall reported he was an hour from St Catherines Point and still pushing very hard. Ominously, the crew were expecting winds to get a bit lighter ahead with 42nm to go. It added perfectly to the drama of the three day record breaking dash of over 1,800 miles.

At noon, the giant Oman Sail Trimaran gybed for the finish line, hearts sinking at the prospect of Foxall missing the record by minutes. 

With 50 mins to go and 11 miles to the finish it was nail biting stuff. The MOD was doing 23 knots, but crucially the breeze was SW breeze giving the weary crew a beat against the tide.  

At 12.30 the distance was only 4.4nm with 28 minutes left to claim the record. The situation now looked much more promising than it had done only half an hour earlier. At 12.45 there was just a mile of their 1800 mile odyssey left to sail.

In the end, there was a margin of quarter of an hour. They had done it! Oman Sail had line honours and beaten the world record by 16m 38s, significantly in a boat 60ft shorter than the previous record holder.

It was almost unthinkable that a 70ft trimaran, with no ability to decide when to start, could defeat a 140ft trimaran that had decided exactly when to set off. However a fantastic boat, a perfect performance and an extraordinary series of coincidences lined up to make the impossible a reality.

Co–Skipper, Sidney Gavignet:

"I didn't think this was possible but we had exceptional conditions and a boat with amazing potential that was used properly. I know this course well because I have the solo record for the Round Britain and Ireland. I like it; it is a great course, very challenging, and I am very thankful to Sevenstar and the RORC for organising this race. Loick Peyron was the record holder and he phoned me after we crossed the line to say congratulations. He is a gentleman and someone I really respect as a sailor and a person but I know he will want his record back!

We have been the only multihull this time but I hope all of the others will now think that they should have been here, maybe next time they will. The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland is a great event and very well managed and nothing needs to be changed, especially not the weather.

I am especially pleased for the three Omani crew. Fahad has been with the MOD 70 from the beginning of the project and we know each other well and we have made a lot of progress. We crossed an ocean twice together and he is experienced. With Sammi and Yasser, we did the Tour of Arabia together a few years ago. They are nice boys but at the time I thought there was no chance that they could make it in a boat like this. They went to Kiel with Damian (Foxall) to do some corporate sailing but that was their only experience before this race. Now I am so impressed with them, I have totally changed my mind - they have great potential because they understand the boat and the big loads involved. Their attitude is great and despite very rough conditions they were not seasick. I am so happy for Oman Sail.

Looking to the future, the Route du Rhum is the big race for Musandam-Oman Sail and in February we have the Tour of Arabia in Farr 30s. With regards to the RORC Caribbean 600, which is at the same time as the Tour of Arabia, we are thinking about it. This boat is made for the Caribbean 600 and it is always nice to show the boat to new people; on that course she would be a bird that can fly higher! We have not finalised our programme for next year but it is possible."

Co–Skipper Damian Foxall:

"We hit a new top speed for the boat of 43 knots right at the start. You really need the right conditions, perfect trim and the time to set that up to get to that speed and we hardly ever dropped below 25 knots the whole way round. Jan Dekker has done a huge amount of multihull sailing, including winning the America's Cup but when we were blasting down the West coast of Ireland, he turned to me and said, 'Don't you think Sidney should be thinking about preserving the boat for the Route du Rhum?' I said, 'Go and tell him that, he's going for the record right now!' We had in the back of our minds that it was possible - a long shot but it wasn't until we got to the Fastnet, where the wind was not as light as we expected, we were still doing 30 knots and we were thinking - OK this could be possible!

The hard thing about a race record, as opposed to a course record, is that with a course record, you can wait until the weather is perfect and you just go. In a racing format you don't have that option; it is an amazing coincidence that we have had this weather pattern precisely when a race, that is only run every four years, was taking place. Even the tides were with us at the start and the finish! This record was on because of an amazing series of coincidences; the final incredible fact is that the only time we tacked in an 1800 mile circular course was after we had gone through the finish line!

MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail crew
Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and team mates Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA), Sami Al Shukaili (OMA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Jan Dekker (SA), and co-skipper Damian Foxall (IRL)

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Liam Coyne's First 36.7 Lula Belle, racing Two-Handed with Brian Flahive, is just west of Sunderland with 1450 miles to go, which means that the Dublin Bay pair from the National Yacht Club will have about a week at sea before they finish the Round Britain and Ireland race in one of the smallest boats in the fleet. From the start, Damian Foxall's Oman Sail-Musandam had 3 days and 3 hours to complete the course for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race to set a new world record.

On Day Three of the race the trimaran's three hulls, sailed by Foxall, two British expats and three Omanis, are continuing to hammer on south. The lightening quick MOD 70 has hit the turbo charger, screaming along at 30 knots off the North West coast of Ireland. Currently Musandam - Oman Sail's expected finish time is approximately 1000 on Thursday morning, three hours inside the world record set by Loick Peyron's 140ft trimaran, Banque Populaire 5, in 2011.

"Records are there to be broken and it would be an honour to be bettered by such a great team," commented Loick Peyron by telephone to the Royal Ocean Racing Club. "Perhaps if they do set a new record it will also be good for the race. It will encourage other multihulls to come and try it - it is a fantastic course."

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam is leading the fighter formation of Volvo Ocean 65s that have now all rounded Out Stack and are heading home. At dawn this morning Azzam was passing Sula Sgeir, a remote island that marks the halfway point in the race and is best known for its population of gannets. However it is unlikely that the Volvo Ocean 65s, blasting along at over 25 knots, will have the chance to do much bird watching. Ian Walker, skipper of Azzam, called the RORC Media Team just after rounding Muckle Flugga at 2000 yesterday.

"The decisive factor in the race so far has been sail selection and timing of sail changes," commented Ian Walker. "Obviously you have got to go the right way, but that all ties in with where you decide to go and what sails you want to be on and then you can concentrate on putting the hammer down.

This has been a really tough race so far, right from the start, but we were all fresh for that and the North Sea was non-stop navigational decisions with oil rigs and sand banks on top of heavy conditions and sail changes. It is all about ragging it on deck, coping with the non-stop spray and pushing the boat as hard as we can. One thing we have seen in this race that we haven't seen in practice is being so close to the Spanish team - relaxing for just five minutes reflects in a loss.

The biggest call so far was as we approached Muckle Flugga, we stayed more to the west than the Spanish team. We spent four or five hours with the big sail on trying to get west so that we didn't get sucked up into the low pressure. We knew that as long as we had good wind speed we were inside the shift and, when we eventually gybed, the distance between us would become our lee. In the end the gybe call was very, very, difficult as the wind was very shifty. We gybed as late as we dared and just managed to just get round the top of the rocks. Navigating around a headland like that, with a 100 degree wind shift, was about as difficult as it gets and our navigator Si Fi (Simon Fisher) nailed it - we made quite a big gain."

IRC Overall
Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 51 Varuna, racing in IRC Zero, is the new overall leader for the 20 strong IRC fleet. After time correction Varuna made the top of the leader board yesterday evening and, on the morning of Day Three, Varuna is estimated to have an eight hour advantage over Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project.

However at 0700 BST, Varuna was still 70 miles from Out Stack with a complex weather scenario in front of them while Monster Project rounded Out Stack at about 0500 into the fresh northerly breeze and will almost certainly gain many miles on Varuna over the next seven hours or so.

Class40
Burkhard Keese's Stella Nova has retired with boat damage and they are making their way to Den Helder in Holland, expecting to arrive there before dusk tonight. This leaves Roderick Knowles' Swish as the only Class40 still racing. The British Class40 is expected to round Out Stack in the early evening. The highly experienced crew on board include South African Nick Leggatt, with three circumnavigations including the Class40 Global Ocean Race. He is joined by Ian Munslow with one circumnavigation, two Transats and a Route du Rhum, and Paul Peggs who has over 40 years of offshore racing including two Mini-Transats. So far Swish is on course to shatter the Class40 record set by Concise 2 in 2010.

IRC One
Jankees Lampe's Open 40, La Promesse, is the runaway class leader and currently enjoying a blast past Aberdeen in the North Sea at over 10 knots. Darren McLaughlin's Hanse 531, Saga, has made good progress overnight and is currently due east of Edinburgh. Saga is skippered by Peter Hopps, who has competed in every RORC Caribbean 600 and 12 Rolex Fastnet Races and the crew of Saga have been training for the race all season. For them, just finishing the Sevenstar Round Britain Race is their 'Everest'.

"So, we started on Monday morning at 9 o'clock when the rest of the world was going back to work... of course we are happy!" commented Peter by satellite connection. "Everyone enjoyed the spectacle of the start and the speed of the VO 65s and the trimaran, which was really impressive. Unfortunately we were taking our spinnaker down when the Volvos came past so we were a bit preoccupied! That sail has remained firmly in its bag since then - we had a good run up the Channel under poled out headsail which was very effective. We've been at sea for a while now and have settled into our watch system. We're all quite happy and heartily glad we are going anti-clockwise. It looks like we'll have to beat the last bit up to the Shetlands, but we're all here for the experience, which should include beating!!"

IRC Two
Ian Hoddle's Figaro II Rare, racing Two-Handed, leads IRC Two on the water. At sunset last night, just off North Yorkshire, Rare, the smallest yacht in the race, gybed offshore to cover Ross Applebey's Scarlet Logic, which had been making big gains. Through the night Rare led the way, just a few miles ahead of their bigger rivals, and this morning at 0700 BST Rare was six miles ahead of Scarlet Logic. However, after time correction, Scarlet Logic is still leading the class.

IRC Three and Four
Liam Coyne's First 36.7 Lula Belle, racing Two-Handed with Brian Flahive, is just west of Sunderland with 1450 miles to go, which means that the Irish pair will have about a week at sea before they finish the course. Rob Hammomd's J/109, Ruag White Knight 7, crewed by the Royal Armoured Corps YC is currently leading IRC Three on corrected time, and are four miles ahead of Keith Gibbs' C&C 115, Change of Course, sailed by David Dyer.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Musandam-Oman Sail reached Out Stack, the rock north of Muckle Flugga and the most northerly part of the Round Britain & Ireland course, just before 1500 BST 12th August. The MOD 70, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, has about 46 hours to complete the remaining 1098 miles to set a new world record. Musandam-Oman Sail has averaged an astonishing 24 knots on a screaming reach up to the top of the course and needs to average the same, or better, on the way back down. It seems that the wind gods are with them as the new breeze is from the North West and came in just as the trimaran turned for home. It looks like a reach all the way down the west coast of Scotland and Ireland and maybe, just maybe, Musandam-Oman Sail can beat the 2011 record set by Banque Populaire 5, which is twice as long as Musandam-Oman Sail .

Retirements
Since the fleet left Cowes on Monday morning, the wind speed across the entire course has barely dropped below 25 knots and reports of over 40 knots of wind have been recorded by many competitors. The conditions have provided a full-on, proper wild ride but that has taken its toll with three retirements with all crew safe. The crews of Grey Power, Concise 8 and Cat Phone are all ashore and in good health. Austen Clark's Class40, Arwen has not officially retired but the yacht is safely tied up in Great Yarmouth and competitors on the race course have relayed that all of the crew are fine. Stella Nova has also retired from the race after sustaining structural damage after hitting a large wave. They are returning towards the Dutch Coast trying to protect the boat against any further damage. The coastguard are aware and keeping in close contact with the boat. The crew are all well.

Volvo Ocean 65 - Azzam out in front
The Volvo Ocean 65 fleet have been launched right from the start and the crews are also feeling a few knocks and bruises. Team Dongfeng's Pascal Bidegorry required stitches to a hand wound and one of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team has bruised ribs from a fall down below. A tremendous battle is raging between Azzam, skippered by Ian Walker, and Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martinez. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam has completed 18000 miles of training including two Atlantic crossings, whilst Iker Martinez and his team have literally only just started their campaign. Azzam has a six mile advantage over Team Campos but are several miles to weather, taking that into consideration. Azzam has a substantial lead heading towards Muckle Flugga, but the wind shadow of the Shetland Islands and the low pressure system, which is almost stationary at the top of the course, means that there could be some very funky weather as the two leaders round Out Stack tonight. 

Team Alvimedica, skippered by Charlie Enright, has found another gear and have caught up with Team Dongfeng to form a sparring partnership for third place. Meanwhile Team SCA leaked 30 miles yesterday and have found it hard to make that up in the One Design fleet. However, the weather ahead may give SCA some opportunities to get back at the leaders.

IRC Overall
The main trophy and a $20,000 shipping voucher from Sevenstar Yacht Transport are up for grabs in IRC and the well travelled Volvo 70 Monster Project, skippered by Andrew Budgen, has been in the driving seat for the last two updates. Monster Project is just 170 miles from Out Stack and still in the overall lead but the Volvo 70 has been slowing down in the last few hours, averaging about 4 knots less than her speed from the start. Just behind, Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 51, Varuna, has maintained her average speed of about 15 knots and is closing the time correction gap on Monster Project at virtually every tracker update. However, looking at the weather ahead, the forecast is for the breezy conditions to hold at the top of the course for at least another 24 hours which may favour Monster Project.

Brian Thompson's Artemis-Team Endeavour has lost boat speed since last night but their estimated finish time of 4 days, 20 hours, 54 minutes and 55seconds is well inside the IMOCA 60 record set in 2010 by the same yacht.

Two yachts in IRC Two have made big gains today in terms of corrected time under IRC: Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, and Ian Hoddle's Figaro II, Rare. Both yachts have averaged well over 9 knots since the start of the race and are now 4th and 5th overall. Scarlet Logic is winning IRC Two and is estimated to finish the race six days quicker than the 2010 winner, Harry Heijst's S&S 41, Winsome. Rare are top of the Two-Handed Class and should they complete the course, will be the smallest yacht ever to complete the race.

"We are racing for the CLIC Sargent Charity; my 5 year old nephew James was diagnosed in January with an inoperable brain tumour and is undergoing intensive radiotherapy treatment at Southampton General Hospital," commented Rare skipper, Ian Hoddle, before the race. "Myself and Conrad (Manning), my team mate, hope to raise as much money as we can to help the charity. James came down to the boat before we started and he loves being on board. As we go around the course, I know that there will be times when it gets tough, maybe too much for us to take, but at those times I will think about James and that will give me the strength to dig a little bit deeper and get through that moment."

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – There may well be a record pace at Muckle Flugga, the most northerly point of the Round Britain and Ireland race but for one small Irish boat, Lulabelle sailed by Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive, it will be some days before they reach that part of the course in what has so far been a heavy air battle for the National Yacht Club pair.

Coyne sent Afloat.ie the following from the race course: 'Well first 24 hours over and we are very happy with the Boat. All is going well. Very tough but rewarding night. Lula Belle equalled her 24 hour record. 200 Miles in 24 hours. Miles per ship log not race course.

First time on North sea and got cracking introduction. Wind hit 42 knts at one gust.

Brian hit top speed 16.9 knts with only white sails up.

We are now hoping to make as much progress as we can up north. The real test for us starts tomorrow when we expect winds of 20kns plus on nose. How long we can handle that pounding will make or brake our race. So for now spirits are high and we are pushing hard'

The Irish Two-Handed team have experienced some epic conditions.

At 0800 BST on the second day, Lula Belle had covered over 200 miles of the course in under 24 hours. Last night at sunset, Liam Coyne sent this message from Lula Belle.

"Darkness setting in almost 90 miles covered. Heading for foul tide at Dover and when we round there wind should be more favourable. Hitting 39 knots of wind now with big seas but at least it's in the correct direction. Gybing at 35 knots is no fun. All going to plan so happy so far."

Meanwhile Ireland's Damian Foxall is setting a ballistic pace on the MOD 70.  Musandam-Oman Sail's estimated finish will be at 10:24 BST, Thursday 14th August. The MOD 70, skippered by Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, is two hours inside the course record set by Banque Populaire 5 in 2011 of 3 days 3 hours, 49 minutes, 14 seconds.

Sidney Gavignet contacted the RORC Media team at 1000 this morning, just 100 miles from the top of the course, having raced approx. 600 miles in 24 hours.

"Right now the wind speed is 20 knots from 230 degrees, Jan Dekker is at the helm and the boat speed is 30 knots," commented Sidney Gavignet. "We blew out our old J1 yesterday, so we have to be very careful with our J2. Record or no record, we try to be gentle with this lady but she is strong. This morning I can see that the crew are starting to get a bit tired but they are doing fine. Sami (Al Shukaili) and Yassir (Al Rahbi) are having an amazing experience and even Jan Dekker says that it is a long time since he has experienced such a high speed for so long. Last night, the sea state was a bit rough so we had to slow down but the night is short at this time of the year and there was a big moon. The night made me reminisce about my last race around the course alone." (See video below)

With the fast reaching conditions experienced so far, the battle for the overall win for the 20 yachts racing under IRC is looking like it will favour the light displacement carbon fibre flyers. Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project, has been in pole position since the last update and remains so. Monster Project gybed offshore shortly before sunset yesterday to open up a 40 mile lead on the water from Brian Thompson's IMOCA 60, Artemis-Team Endeavour.

Monster Project has been having a tremendous battle with Volvo Ocean 65 Team SCA. Team SCA gybed offshore yesterday at 1630 BST past the entrance to the Thames Estuary but the move didn't pay off. By Lowestoft, Monster Project had pulled out a 30 mile lead on the all-female team. However, Team SCA fought back taking on Monster Project in an all-night gybing duel and by 0800 BST Team SCA was 3 miles ahead of Monster Project.

IRC Zero
Second overall under IRC is Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 51, Varuna, which is leading IRC Zero by a comfortable margin. Behind them, the other two German yachts are having a fantastic duel in IRC Zero. JV52 Haspa Hamburg, skippered by Katrin Hilbert, and JV53 Bank von Bremen, skippered by Carol Smolawa, are both 1563 miles from the finish, side by side just north of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

IRC One
Jankees Lampe's Open 40 La Promesse, racing Two-Handed with Bart Boosman, is having a cracking race after recovering from a knock down, which punched two holes in their mainsail inside the Solent. The mainsail was lowered and repaired by the Two-Handed team and after celebrating with baguettes of prawns and brie (Bart) and gruyere and tuna (JanKees), they stormed to the front of the IRC One. La Promesse is now 18 miles ahead of Ifan James' skippered Stimson 42, Palpatine, and well ahead after time correction.


IRC Two
The fleet are currently just off Lowestoft at a crucial stage of this part of the race. Ross Applebey's Scarlet Logic is still leading the class and set new speed record of 22.5 knots while surfing past Dover yesterday. Ian Hoddle, racing Two-Handed with Conrad Manning on Figaro II, Rare, made a move inshore at midnight just before Beachy Head. Rare sailed an additional nine miles but the tactic saw them catch right up with Scarlet Logic on the water.

News that a crew member on J/111 British Soldier had dislocated his shoulder was received by the Race Committee yesterday evening. British Soldier, skippered by Phil Caswell, pulled into Dover to get treatment for the crew member who is now being treated ashore, British Soldier have continued racing with only five on board. The British Army Team seem determined to make up for lost time and are currently producing the fastest boat speed in pursuit of the class leaders.

IRC Three and Four
Keith Gibbs' C&C 115 Change of Course, skippered by David Dyer, encountered rough weather last night and had to pull into Dover for minor repairs to their pulpit but resumed racing at 0200 BST this morning. The Royal Armoured Corps Yacht Club now lead IRC Three but the team, led by Rob Hammond, are still 30 miles behind their arch rivals British Soldier.

Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive, the Irish Two-Handed team racing First 36.7, Lula Belle, are going well but have experienced some epic conditions. 

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Famed British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is out of the Round Britain & Ireland race without spending a single night at sea. The Clipper Round the World Race founder has been forced to retire from the race after splitting the mainsail between second and third reefs on his yacht, Grey Power. The mast has also been damaged. Sir Robin and his crew member Simon Clay are now heading for the nearest port which can take the Open 60, which is Calais in France. The race started this morning off the Isle of Wight after being postponed due to bad weather yesterday. Sir Robin said he had had a great sail otherwise and had hit 21 knots, but repairs will take a couple of days so carrying on was not possible. Sir Robin spoke to race organisers RORC at 1830 BST to inform them of his retirement.

At 1925 Concise 8 also phoned the Race Committee to inform them that they would be retiring into Harwich. All of the crew are fine.

At 19:30 the following statement was received from Conrad Humphreys and his crew; "The crew on board Cat® Phone, Class 40 are experiencing issues with the lower section of the mainsail track coming away from the mast and are heading for shelter from the strong winds from Hurricane Bertha. The crew are OK and focused on trying to see if they can resolve and resume racing. More news later."

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail, co–skippered by Ireland's Damian Foxall and Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, is now over 40 miles ahead of the Volvo 65 fleet and has averaged an astonishing 27 knots since the start. At that speed, Musandam-Oman Sail will finish the race in 2 days and 18 hours, smashing the race and course record.

The leading monohulls are a trio of Volvo 65s: Team Campos (ESP), skippered by Iker Martinez, holds a slender lead from Azzam (UAE), skippered by Britain's Ian Walker and Dongfeng (CHI), skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier.

The race leader overall under IRC is Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project, having pulled out an 8 mile advantage on the water from Brian Thompson's IMOCA 60, Artemis - Team Endeavour. Brian Thompson contacted the race team at 1230 BST this afternoon; the Vendée Globe winner and solo round the world expert is not prone to exaggeration.

"Blasting past Beachy Head in sight of all the Volvos, Monster Project is just ahead. Musandam-Oman Sail was quite a sight blasting past us. We were happy to be first boat through the Forts and out of the Solent. Lots of water on deck - so much that two of our life jackets self inflated!"

With wind reports of over well over 30 knots the fleet in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race are eating up the miles. Big conditions are expected in the North Sea tonight, with high winds and a significant sea sate affecting the progress of the entire fleet. Currently the North Sea is experiencing wind speeds in excess of 40 knots from the south west. There is a significant sea state emanating from the Norwegian coast with waves as high as 8 metres. It is likely that the majority of the fleet will hug the eastern coast of the United Kingdom. However, inshore oil rig platforms and sand banks will pose navigational problems.

Cowes resident Jonny Malbon was the skipper of Artemis Ocean Racing, the overall winner of the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Jonny is racing on Class40, Concise 8, and sent this video back from on board (above).

Girls in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

Abby Ehler was born in Plymouth and is no stranger to the Volvo Ocean Race. She was part of Amer Sports Too, the last all-female entry in the race. Abby spoke to the Royal Ocean Racing Club by satellite phone as the Volvo 65 SCA was hurtling past Dover.

"After training for over a year, it's pretty awesome to be lined up against so many other teams. It has been a heavy weather start, we have just gybed and we are back up to 25 knots, so it's very exciting right now. It's like being in a washing machine on a roller-coaster, the noise is pretty deafening and most of the time it is hard to hear each other but it is exhilarating. It was what we want and it will be like this in the Volvo Ocean Race- it's what it's all about. We are expecting a real tough first night with a lot of wind and obviously we are a bit nervous and anxious about what lies ahead but it is all about getting the basics right and sailing the boat safely. It is pretty wet and wild at the moment but we are expecting the worst of the weather tonight."

IRC Two Focus: Scarlet Logic - Helen Liddell

Scandinavian by birth, Helen Liddell lives between the UK and Thailand. Her partner David regularly takes part in the King's Cup and raced in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race. Helen wanted to take part in a challenging race and thought the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race would be the ultimate challenge.

"The early conditions we have witnessed are making this a hard race and immediately more challenging than David's Fastnet," commented Helen "There should be some interesting banter once we are reunited! I looked at a few race charter options but decided on Scarlet Logic as the Oyster is well built and, over the last few years, has been very competitive. We should do well in the race."

As Scarlet Logic powered past Ryde, they sent this blog back from the boat: "Just touched 20.7 knots with a goose winged Oyster! Wind 37 knots. Great start, we flew down Solent. The huge 70 foot trimaran passed us, leaving a massive rooster spray from the one hull in the water. British Soldier did multiple broaches in front of us and an Open 40 blasted by on the plane. Volvo 65s came by like Formula 1 racing machines. Rainbow as shower came through. Ryde lit up in the sunshine."

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – The decision to postpone this morning's Round Britain and Ireland race leaves the 1880–mile course and race record wide open, according to the co-skipper of the fastest boat in the race. Ireland's Damian Foxall, a former Volvo Ocean Race winner, says routing shows a possible three day circumnavigation time opeing up all sorts of record possibilities for the marathon course.

Foxall's scratch boat crew, racing on Musandam-Oman Sail, the Sultanate of Oman's flagship campaign, had already made the decision to postpone its own start for 24 hours before RORC organisers issued their own blanket postponement. 'We saw very strong winds for 24 hours so we had already opted for to delay our start until tomorrow', he told Afloat.ie, this morning.

The postponement, says Ireland's top Ocean sailor, means anti–clockwise winds for the whole voyage and possibly no upwind sailing at all. Foxall believes it will be reaching conditions all the way to Scotland. Then the wind is to clock north–easterly at the most northerly point of the course opening up further fast sailing times later next week.

Meanwhile, it has been a cracking day in Cowes today with sun shining and a top wind speed of 30 knots.

Irish skipper Liam Coyne, in the First 36.7 Lulabelle, acknowledged that they bow to RORC when it comes to safety and recognise RORC felt it would hit the 50's in the channel today but at the same time Coyne says he would have 'preferred to go today as the strong winds were on our backs and our plans were showing a 9 day race with us rounding Shetlands by Wednesday/ Thursday and catching the north westerly's down the west coast of Ireland'.

'The day delay for us [Liam Coyne/Brian Flahive] means we will hit the low pressure in north east later in the week and not get down the west coast till Saturday Sunday next and have 30knts on the nose. So while some may set records it has definitely made out job much more difficult', the Irish skipper said.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Within an hour of the start of a race that is expected to last up to a fortnight the Round Britain & Ireland Race Committee have taken the decision to postpone the start by 21 hours. The new start time will be 0900 on the 11th August 2014. The race was due to start at noon today.
The Race Committee took this decision after receiving advice that the low pressure system known as Bertha is moving more slowly than previously predicted, with the result that the forecast winds for the start and the immediate period afterwards includes sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts in excess of 50 knots in the English Channel.
The advice is that this delay will allow time for the severe winds to abate as the low pressure system moves North East.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – News that the Round Britian and Ireland course would be reversed drew a packed house to the Press Conference and Skippers' Briefing last night. It was standing room only, as world-class professional sailors and experienced offshore Corinthians listened in. The Royal Ocean Racing Club made the following announcement on the eve of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race:

"In consideration of the weather forecast for the foreseeable future, showing a low pressure moving through The Channel in the early hours of the morning and eventually becoming stationary over Northern Scotland, bringing a strong Westerly to North Westerly airflow for the first days of the race, it has been decided by the Race Committee to reverse the course to sail anticlockwise around Great Britain and Ireland. The decision was based on aiming to provide a more enjoyable race for all the yachts in the fleet. The start will still be from the Royal Yacht Squadron to the East."

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was a panellist at the Press Conference, made up of a broad cross-section of the 200 sailors from all over the world who will be taking part in the race. Sir Robin will be competing two handed at 75 years old. The offshore legend has raced around Britain and Ireland eight times before and was the first man to race around the world non-stop, single-handed.

RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen asked if Sir Robin was happy with the change of course: "Is the Pope Catholic? Like everyone else I'm absolutely delighted we're going that way round. We'll get round faster. I think it's a very sensible decision on your (RORC) part. The smaller boats will have taken a hammering and none of us would have enjoyed it. So I think this is a very sensible decision by the race organisers."

RORC Commodore, Mike Greville, welcomed Sevenstar Managing Director, Richard Klabbers to the Skipper's Briefing. Richard Klabbers competed in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race on board Harry Heijst's S&S 41,Winsome. "From my own experience last time, I know how hard it is. It took me 14 days that time but we avoided the bad weather at least. I wish you all the best of luck. We are a partner of this race to give back to this sport, not to create more business, so please, all of you, come back all in one piece safe and sound."

Volvo Ocean Race navigator, Campbell Field gave a detailed weather briefing to the ensemble, explaining why the decision was made to reverse the course. "Part of the decision when we looked at the forecast this morning was due to the following: quite a lot of wind has been driven from a westerly direction as former Hurricane Bertha makes her way through. Part of that data that helped make the decision to not go to the west was that boats would have been making their way across the Celtic Sea with the potential for significant wave heights of 6-8 metres - you could see 10 metres out there - and a fairly ferocious westerly breeze with nowhere to go."

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is set to start on schedule at 1200 BST, tomorrow, Sunday 10th August. The fleet will still start in an easterly direction from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line towards the Forts in the Eastern Solent. Conditions look to be absolutely spectacular with the fastest boats flying downwind at phenomenal speeds.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
Page 3 of 5

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating