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Displaying items by tag: Round Britain & Ireland Race

#rorcsrbi – The course for tomorrow's Round Britain and Ireland race has been changed and the islands of Britian and Ireland are to be left to Port (anticlockwise around). The Race Committee have released the following: "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."

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
#rorcsrbi – Louay Habib interviews Kerry offshore supremo Damian Foxall, co-skipper of Musandam-Oman Sail, ahead of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race that starts on Sunday.

In the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, Damian Foxall was watch leader on Volvo 70, Groupama. Taking Line Honours and setting a race record of 5 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes and 55 seconds, the Volvo 70 went on to win the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race with Foxall achieving cult status in his native Ireland.

For the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland, Foxall is back, as watch leader on MOD 70, Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet with three crew from the elite squad of sailors from the Sultanate of Oman.

"This race is an absolute classic," commented Damian Foxall. "Like the round the world races, the Route du Rhum, this is one of them. When Groupama was getting ready for the last Volvo Ocean Race, this was one of the best things we did; a real test. We always talk about the first leg winner of the Volvo but maybe it's now the Round Britain and Ireland Race, maybe this is the one to look at?

In all the racing I have done, this is as tough as it gets because this is much more intense than other races and I take my hat off to the Irishmen, Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive (racing on First 36.7, Lula Belle); taking the race on Two Handed in a little boat is hard core."

While the MOD 70, Musandam-Oman Sail has all the potential to set a new multihull record for the race, the course record itself (2011 - Banque Populaire: 3 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes, 14 seconds)) will be hard to beat although not out of the question, as Damian Foxall explains:

"Looking at the weather scenario, as of Wednesday 6th August, Sidney (Gavignet) reckons we are looking at completing the course in under 4 days. The course record is hard to beat, but they would have gone when the conditions were ideal, Musandam-Oman Sail doesn't have that option. So first of all we would need a coincidence that would provide the possibility of that goal and, secondly we are a smaller boat, so as I say, it is a difficult ask. Having said that, our goal is not just to take line honours but to set a decent race record.

To get the perfect conditions on a 360 degree course, you need significant wind shifts as you go around the course and these need to be at the correct time. If we get headed any amount of upwind work can really affect the performance of our boat. Sea state is another big factor, Musandam-Oman Sail is easily capable of sitting at 30 knots in significantly less true wind but as the wind gets up, so does the waves and we have to back off to protect the boat but we will definitely be racing against the clock.

One of the crucial points of the course will be where I come from, and we would love a favourable wind shift as we reach the Ring of Kerry. I have experienced a lot of high and lows off the coast of Kerry! I remember a fantastic leg from Galway to the Solent in Green Dragon and many of the transatlantic races I have been a part of come past Kerry.

I will be looking forward to going past God's country!"

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorcsrbi – Dublin offshore sailing team Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are just four days away from their 'biggest ever challenge' in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) Round Britain and Ireland race this Sunday.

Veterans of two Round Ireland races and two Fastnets, the sole Irish entry say the non stop 1800–miler is the next 'logical step' in Coyne's First 36.7, Lula Belle. The race starts from Cowes at noon and is expected to take a fortnight to complete.

The fleet will set off down the Solent to the east and turn west around the south side of the Isle of Wight. After that the course is simple: leave Ireland and Great Britain to starboard all the way to the northern tip of the Shetland Isles, a point known as Outer Stack just north of Muckle Flugga, then return down the eastern side of the UK back to where the race started in Cowes, a non-stop 1800 mile race. The fastest yachts may complete the course in under a week. For the slower yachts, nearly two weeks is likely.

This year yachts flying the flags of 11 nations will be taking part: China, France, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Ireland, Oman, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.

Following the success of a tracking system for the entire fleet in 2010, all yachts will be fitted with a similar device. Tracker here

Although, clearly the Dublin pair will have other matters on their mind, Coyne hopes to post to his blog and tweet from @lulabelle367

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorc – Irish offshore duo Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive will rub shoulders with IMOCA 60 Skipper Robin Knox Johnston and MOD 70 skipper Sidney Gavignet when they join the panelists at a pre–race press conference for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

As previously reported on, the sole Irish pair, who will race on Lula Belle, a First 36.7, set off on Sunday 10th August from the RYS startline in Cowes. The non-stop 1,802nm course takes the competitors around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland, including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga. It is one the most challenging offshore races and the ultimate test of endurance for both the corinthian and professional sailors taking part. 

Other press conference panellists include Sam Davies, Team SCA, VO65 (GBR/SWE), Ned Collier Wakefield, Concise 8, Class40 - Holder of Class40 record (GBR), Katrin Hilbert, Skipper Haspa Hamburg, JV52 (GER), Ifan James, Palpatine, Stormforce Coaching (GBR) and Rob Hammond - Ruag White Knight 7 (GBR).

The 2014 entries include an amazing variety of yachts and sailors; exceptional people who come together as a team to attempt to climb one of offshore racing's biggest mountains.

Coyne and Flahive's Two-Handed team from Dublin, Ireland, on the First 36.7, Lula Belle, see the race as the next big step.

"We see this as a real challenge. Offshore sailing is an adventure sport and just as a skier wants to progress to the diamond slopes or a mountaineer wants to climb Everest, so we want to push ourselves and, having done two Round Irelands and two Fastnets, this seem the next logical challenge," said Liam.

"The physical endurance element has to be the biggest challenge for us - surviving two hours on, two hours off, shifts. Also with this watch system you spend a lot of time on your own and the loneliness is an aspect other boats do not worry about. On the water, rounding the Shetland Islands and sailing unknown waters with currents and overfalls, will be a daunting place for a 36ft boat and if big winds hit, that will be tough. The best times will be the same as always; the start line and crossing the finish but I am sure there will be many good memories in between."

Line honours - multihull

The Sultanate of Oman's MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail gearing up for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Credit: Sander van der Borch
MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail is hot favourite to be the first yacht to complete the course. Co-skippers Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and Damian Foxall (IRL) have put together a MOD70 crew selected from Oman Sail's elite squad of sailors, plus well-known South African Volvo and America's Cup sailor Jan Dekker - half of the crew will be Omani for the first time ever.

Sidney Gavignet knows the course well having set the Round Britain and Ireland non-stop singlehanded record in the 105ft Trimaran, Oman Air Majan, in 2010 with a time of 4 days, 15 hours, 9 minutes and 27 seconds. However, the outright record for the course will be a tough one to better. In 2011 Loïck Peyron's Banque Populaire 5 completed the course in 3 days 3 hours 49 minutes and 14 seconds, at an astonishing average speed of 23.38 knots!

First clash of the Volvo Ocean 65s
After racing round the Isle of Wight in the Artemis Challenge during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will be the first outing for the brand new fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s that have been built especially for the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in October 2014. It is the first skirmish between five professional teams: Team Campos, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Alvimedica, Dongfeng Race Team and Team SCA. The race presents a great opportunity for the crew to learn about the boat and themselves in advance of the Volvo Ocean Race. In the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race the Volvo 70, Groupama, took monohull line honours and set the monohull course record of 5 days, 21 hours and 26 minutes, before going on to win the 2010-11 Volvo Ocean Race.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's striking

Ian Walker will skipper Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's entry, Azzam in the race. A multiple Olympic, America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Ian is one of Britain's most successful sailors, but nevertheless the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will be new territory for him and most of Azzam's crew.

"I have never taken part in this race before, nor completed a lap of Britain," said Ian. "It is a great race course and a perfect test for our fleet of boats in the run up to the start of the Volvo. You have to be ready for anything when sailing this course. I don't think we will get much sleep and the currents and numerous headlands will make for very tough training. I love the big starts in Cowes and I can't wait to see what the top of Scotland is like. I hope it is kind to us."

Sir Robin takes up the challenge

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has had a glittering career in yachting and this is his 9th race around the British Isles, having established the first race record in the 48ft More Opposition in the 1976 RORC race, winning Class One in just under 11 days. Sir Robin is famous for winning the Golden Globe trophy in 1968/9 for the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world. In 1994 he teamed up with Peter Blake to win the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe while, at the age of 68 in 2007, he raced his IMOCA 60 around the world in the VELUX 5 Oceans Race.

For this edition of the race around the British Isles, Sir Robin will be 75 and sailing his IMOCA 60, (now aptly named Grey Power), two-handed with Simon Clay, an experienced Open 60 sailor and good friend.

"Tactics will be dictated by the weather. There may be weather fronts and the coastal course is a navigational hazard to be avoided, but I don't get into deep analysis, I just get on with it," commented Robin Knox-Johnston. "I never really think about the endurance aspect of this race. When you have spent 312 days on your own around the world, it isn't something that occurs to you; a week or 10 days at sea is just that. When things are going wrong, well it's worse for the other people because I think they will like it less. I am entering this race because I think it is a great race to do; this will be my ninth race around the British Isles and I am using it for a work-up for the Route du Rhum in November."

Artemis returns to defend her title

The overall winner of the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race returns, now known as Artemis - Team Endeavour. The IMOCA 60 will be skippered by Mikey Ferguson, who was on the boat four years ago, and the crew includes Jules Verne winner, solo round the world sailor and multiple world record holder, Brian Thompson. Artemis Team Endeavour has taken part in many RORC races this season with crew including injured members of the armed forces. Team Endeavour is jointly funded by the Team Army Sports Foundation and the Endeavour Fund, an initiative created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Class40 - Records to Beat

Five fully crewed Class40s will be competing this year. Ned Collier Wakefield's Team Concise is back with a new Ker designed Class40 in an attempt to break the class race record he set in the 2010 race of 9 days, 13 hours, 32 minutes and 20 seconds:

"Four years ago we competed in the Sevenstar RBI on our then new Class 40 Concise 2. The challenging forecast made for a wet and wild ride and enabled us to break the 40ft World Record. We are now back with our new Ker Class40 and weather depending, will be looking to break our own record. The race offers a fantastic shake down for our boat for the Route du Rhum and will certainly act as a great test for boat and crew. We are all greatly looking forward to being on the start line and it is always good when you get round the top and start the journey home."

Two-Handed Endurance

Rare, skippered by Ian Hoddle with crew Conrad Manning, hopes to be the smallest yacht to ever complete the race. The bright pink Figaro II has been a familiar sight at RORC races for the past four years, including two Rolex Fastnet Races. Ian has a real incentive to complete the race besides personal satisfaction.

"This will be the longest race Rare has done to date. It is an incredibly tough undertaking to race this course Two-Handed. We have to finish the race in 14 days or we will be out of food and out of leave from work," commented Ian Hoddle. "We will be raising money for the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent as my six year old nephew James was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour earlier this year. Both he and his family, who live on the Isle of Wight, have been supported extensively by this fantastic charity as James very bravely battles this disease. We have raised nearly £5000 so far and wish to exceed this target."

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts on Sunday 10th August from Cowes. The non-stop 1800 mile course takes the competitors around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland, including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#rorc – Ireland's sole Round Britain and Ireland Race competitors Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are up against famous British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the epic race that starts in 11 days time.

As Afloat reported earlier this month, Irish offshore duo Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive, veterans of the Round Ireland and Malta's Middle Sea Race  are in for a 'real challenge' . The race is expected to take over 15 days to complete, the first time organisers have allowed a double–handed class. 

The pair will race in their Beneteau 36.7 Lulabelle, a regular on the ISORA circuit out of Dublin Bay.

News that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, will compete, the second race on his Open 60 ahead of his participation in November's French single-handed classic, the Route du Rhum is certain to add extra spice to the marathon yachting event.

The British founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and first ever man to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968/69, will compete in his ninth RBI race on his yacht Grey Power alongside Simon Clay in the two-handed class.

The 1802-mile non-stop course organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club every four years starts on 10 August from Cowes, the Isle of White.

Simon Clay, 38, an associate of WhiteCap, was campaign manager for Sir Robin when he participated in the solo Velux 5 Oceans Race in 2006/7.

Sir Robin said: "This race has some excellent entries and will provide some tough competition, but it makes for a perfect practice build up for my participation in the Route du Rhum in November.

"I am very happy with how my newly-fitted out Open 60 is performing so far, but I look forward to testing it further on this race."

Sir Robin has competed in six of the Royal Western Yacht Club's two-handed Round Britain and Ireland races, won it twice, raced in the inaugural Royal Ocean Racing Club's crewed non-stop race in 1976 and won Class 1, and made a solo non-stop attempt on the record and failed by three hours 14 years ago.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

#offshore – Irish offshore duo Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive, veterans of the Round Ireland and Malta's Middle Sea Race will race in RORC's Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in a month's time. In a 'real challenge' for the pairing, the race is expected to take over 15 days to complete, the first time organisers have allowed a double–handed class. 

The ISORA pair who race from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire will compete in Coyne's Beneteau First 36.7 Lulabelle.

The marathon race will set off in a months time and, to date, the RORC's toughest offshore race of the year has attracted 20 yachts from 11 nations (China, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, USA, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Oman, Russia, Germany and the UK) to participate in the non-stop race.

Known as the ultimate test of endurance, the 1802nm course, starting on Sunday 10th August from Cowes, takes competitors non-stop around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga.

The motivation for the teams taking part may vary, but the ultimate aim is the same. To race well and to get round the course using the determination and tenacity this endurance race demands from competitors.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
31st August 2010

Tonnerre Expected Tonight

This evening, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, the June winner of Wicklow's Round Ireland race is now tantalizingly close to an overall victory in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. With 101 miles to go, Tonnerre de Breskens could well make it to the Royal Yacht Squadron Line before 01:54:35 tomorrow morning. None of the other boats still racing have a real chance of beating them on corrected time.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is now well into the eighth day. The crew on the racing yachts will have become totally accustomed to life on board. The yacht and its contents is all they have. For days now they have been confined to their yachts, matters that have no real importance in normal life become desperately important, even losing a hat or a glove can have a major effect on them. For those yachts out off the west coast of Ireland, they may not have seen land or even another ship for days. To the crew racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the yacht has become their own little world.

Last night Clipper 68, Hull and Humber found themselves in the teeth of gale force winds off the west coast of Ireland. As one crew member explained from on board:

"Down with the 1, on with 2, on with a reef, off with 2 and on with 3, on with another reef. All the while with starboard watch on the foredeck, pitching in a steep Atlantic sea. Loads of cold water, some of it green, giving us a refreshing jacuzzi. Even Al Duns, he of Norwegian and Arctic sailing, said he had never been quite so wet before... It was a tired starboard watch that tumbled into their bunks at 2 a.m. to be relieved by port watch, to take us on to St Kilda's, then some 30 miles distant. Never a watch to do things by halves, port watch not only rounded St Kilda's, but simultaneously passed our arch-nemesis John B."

At midday today, Charles Ivill, owner of Grand Soleil 54, John B called in 40 miles from the Fastnet Rock and explained that they have been having a few problems:

"At the moment, we have 15 knots from the north and all the crew are well on John B but we have had a few issues. About 150 miles from Muckle Flugga our vang failed, no real problems upwind, but downwind has been another story. We have to put three reefs in the main which is not exactly improving the boat speed! Also, we've managed to get sea water in the fresh water tanks. We have plenty of water to wash in, although you wouldn't believe it if you could smell Timmy Mills' feet! Drinking water is on rations and I am very happy to say that the food is still great. Each crew has made three meals a day and my favourite has got to be Helen's shepherd's pie. It has been a tough race, a real challenge but if you ask me or any of the crew if we will be doing it again, the answer is – absolutely yes!"

Steven Anderson's First 40.7, Encore still leads IRC One by some margin but Adrian Lower's team from the Royal Burnham Yacht Club on Swan 44, Selene and Harry Heijst's Dutch S&S 41, Winsome are having a close battle, with Winsome just holding the lead on corrected time.

Tonnerre de Breskens look set to claim the IRC Zero win tonight and may depose Artemis Ocean Racing at the top of the IRC leader board in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
25th August 2010

High Speed Dash to Scotland

The Volvo Open 70, Telefonica Azul, is scorching along at a blistering speed. After the first 24 hours of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the Spanish yacht has covered 440 miles of the1800 mile course writes Louay Habib.

Hurtling along behind them is Groupama and they are pushing hard. If anything, the wind speed is due to increase during the night. The crews on board will be soaking wet and beginning to feel the effects of fatigue. Food will only be fuel and boat speed will be their primary concern.

To put this amazing 24 hour run into context, the two rocket ships are now north of Edinburgh, and could well be north of mainland Scotland by tomorrow morning!

Several hours behind the two front runners, Jonny Malbon and his crew on IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing, are reveling in the fast reaching conditions, (You can watch video, from on board, in the Competitor Blogs

The overall leader on handicap is the RYA Keelboat Academy's TP52, John Merricks II. The average age of the team is under 24 and they have been training hard all season, as skipper Luke McCarthy explains; "It is a tough call to take on this course in a TP52, but this team has been working hard and should we have any problems we know how to fix just about anything. It is very wet, even down below, but we have made some modifications to the bulkheads, so that John Merricks II is a bit more user-friendly offshore."

After 24 hours, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, leads Class Zero. Tonnerre de Breskens loves heavy weather and is absolutely flying up the North Sea. They are now north of Vroon's homeland, Holland. Vroon claims that after a lifetime of racing, including 25 Fastnets as skipper, this race will be his swan-song. But after this incredible ride, he might just change his mind.

In IRC One, Philippe Falle's Reflex 38, Visit Malta Puma is first in class after 24 hours. Averaging over nine knots, the sailing school team is just north of Norwich, having covered 225 miles of the course. Astounding for a boat of only 38 feet.

However only a few miles astern are their team mates. Peter Robson skippering the First 40.7, Playing Around Logic is leading Class IRC Two after 24 hours - a great recovery after a drama at the start when a crew member had to climb the rig in very difficult conditions. They have been enjoying champagne surfing conditions, surfing at over 14 knots.

Tonight before the sun sets, the crews taking part in this challenging race will be using the last of the light to check lines and equipment on deck, before settling into their night watches. The wind is forecast to change to a more northwesterly direction, heading the fleet and the sea state may well become rough. It could well be a bumpy night in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is being tracked with OCTrackers. Each boat is supplied with an OCTracker beacon, a self contained unit that transmits the position of the boat at regular intervals using GPS. You can watch the race as it unfolds by visiting:

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) announced today the introduction of a Two-Handed Division in the non-stop race around Britain and Ireland, sponsored by Sevenstar starting on Monday 23rd August from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. The news will be of interest to the ten double handed entries for this weekend's Round Ireland Race start from Wicklow.

RORC Racing Manager Ian Loffhagen commented: "We have been receiving a lot of interest and enquiries from competitors who wanted to race double handed in this non-stop challenge, so have made the decision to open it up to enable them to race alongside the fully crewed boats. They will race for the Rebel Maid Trophy."

"Originally we did not have a Two–Handed Division in the race out of deference to the Royal Western Yacht Club's two handed (stopping) Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race. However when they reached their entry limit the RWYC kindly told us that they were happy for us to open our race to two handed boats."

"The Sevenstar RBI will be the most challenging race of the RORC season for the two handed fleet and we are hoping that it will appeal to the Class 40 fleet in particular. However because of the timing of this announcement the race will not be part of the Season's Points Championship for the Two–Handed Division. It is a stand alone challenge and it will be a big one at that!"

The first boat to enter the Two-Handed Division is Michel Lebrun's IMOCA 60, An Ocean of Smiles.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland non-stop race covers 1760 miles and is also open to IRC, IMOCA 60s, Class40 and multihulls. It has attracted a highly competitive and international fleet ranging from Volvo Open 70s to Mike Slade's 100ft Leopard 3 and seasoned RORC racers. The yachts will race clockwise around Britain and Ireland, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line and a Race Village will be set up in Cowes Yacht Haven. Competitors will be encouraged to join the party at the Race Village following the Rolex Commodores' Cup prizegiving celebrations on Saturday 21st August. The general public will be able to view the yachts taking part in the race and mingle with crews in the Race Village prior to the 1400 start on Monday 23rd August.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race can also be followed via the event website: and all yachts will be fitted with a tracking device to follow the progress of the fleet. 'Armchair' sailors around the world will also have the chance to test their skills by taking part in a 'Virtual Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race' which will mirror the 1760nm race. The virtual game is free to play and is designed to be as close as possible to the real thing.

Enquiries are open for the race via the Royal Ocean Racing Club:

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

The south-west corner of Ireland has taken three scalps since the RBI fleet departed Kinsale yesterday. 

The Open 40 Livewire was observed yesterday being towed into Baltimore harbour, with co-skipper Stuart Dodd up the mast disenatangling the snuffer. The head of her spinnaker was wrapped around the top of her forestay.

Livewire said they had had 'another epic kite disaster at top speed', and said that they had sustained too much damage to other sails to carry on. They were hoping to motor back to Kinsale after boat has been checked over.

One of the front runners in the IRC fleet, Yogo Racing Izara, retired with a split mainsail, but now plans to head for Dingle to collect spare mainsail and plans to continue racing.

Quid Non is returning to Plymouth single handed as a 500-mile qualifier for the OSTAR race.

Backlash II, a 38-foot catamaran, has retired and is in Ballinskelligs Bay


Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
Page 4 of 5

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