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Record Number of Two-Handed Teams Line Up for Round Britain and Ireland Race

26th April 2022
Dee Caffari and Shirley Robertson team up on the new Sun Fast 3300 RockIT for the RORC's non-stop 1,805nm race: Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race
Dee Caffari and Shirley Robertson team up on the new Sun Fast 3300 RockIT for the RORC's non-stop 1,805nm race: Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race Credit: Tim Butt

For the 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, a record 15 teams are planning to take on the marathon IRC Two-Handed. Short-handed racing with the RORC has been booming in recent years with 84 teams competing in the 2021 RORC Season's Points Championship. The 1,800-mile Round Britain & Ireland Race is a hard task for a full-crew, let alone Two-Handed. Since IRC Two-Handed was introduced 12 years ago, 25 teams have started the race; only nine have finished.

Experienced Two-Handed skippers planning to race for 2022 include Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada, 2020 RORC Yacht of the Year and overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race. 2012 RORC Yacht of the Year skipper Nick Martin will race his Sun Fast 3600 Diablo. The highly experienced Nigel de Quervain Colley will race his Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII and Sam White, 4th in IRC Two-Handed for the 2021 Rolex Fastnet, will race his latest boat, the JPK 1080 Mzungu!

Dee Caffari MBE and Shirley Robertson OBE will be racing together on a brand-new Sun Fast 3300 RockIT (GBR), which is due for launch in April. Shirley's strength is sailing the boat hard, keeping up the intensity of speed. Dee's strength is her knowledge and confidence of the course, possessing all the ingredients towards making the right decisions.

Bellino - Deb Fish & Rob Craigie. For the 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, Rob Craigie & Deb Fish will be racing Sun Fast 3600 Bellino (GBR), which will be among the favourites for IRC Two-Handed. Between them Rob and Deb have competed in 20 Fastnets and have been racing together for seven years, winning IRC Two-Handed for the RORC Season’s Points Championship in 2017, 2019 and 2021. This will be their first Two-Handed Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland RaceBellino - Deb Fish & Rob Craigie. For the 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, Rob Craigie & Deb Fish will be racing Sun Fast 3600 Bellino (GBR), which will be among the favourites for IRC Two-Handed. Between them Rob and Deb have competed in 20 Fastnets and have been racing together for seven years, winning IRC Two-Handed for the RORC Season’s Points Championship in 2017, 2019 and 2021. This will be their first Two-Handed Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race

Dee Caffari has sailed around the world six times and was the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions. Dee has an equally impressive record in the Round Britain & Ireland Race, setting the Women's Monohull Course Record as skipper of IMOCA Aviva (2009), and then breaking her own record as part of Sam Davies's crew on VO65 Team SCA (2014 - 4 days 21 hours 00 mins 39 secs). Dee has completed the race four times.

Nick Martin's Sun Fast 3600 Diablo Photo: Paul WyethNick Martin's Sun Fast 3600 Diablo Photo: Paul Wyeth

Shirley Robertson made history becoming the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal at consecutive games. In the last two years, Shirley has raced Two-Handed with Henry Bomby on Sun Fast 3300 Swell. Shirley and Henry took Line Honours in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race for IRC Two-Handed and were second overall in a fleet of 56 boats, after time correction. Shirley has accumulated expert knowledge racing the Sun Fast 3300, but this will be her first Round Britain & Ireland Race.

IRC Two-Handed was first introduced in the race 2010 but the only entrant, Luca Zoccoli’s Ostar 35 In Direzione Ostinata E Contraria (ITA), retired 100 miles from the Shetlands. In 2014, Ian Hoddle’s Figaro II Rare (GBR), racing with Conrad Manning became the first team to complete the race in IRC Two-Handed. Liam Coyne's First 36.7 Lula Belle (IRL), racing with Brian Flahive was the second, winning the class after IRC time correction. In 2018, Benjamin Schwartz & Chen Jin Hao (FRA) won IRC Two-Handed in the fastest time for the class (10 days, 17 hours 01 mins 42 secs). Since 2010, 25 teams have started the race in IRC Two-Handed, only nine have finished

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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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