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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: 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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