Suzanne and Alan share this report from the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2018. Ed
Shortly before the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2018, Concise 10, much favoured to break the course record, was sold and withdrawn from the race. Other boats were also withdrawn, leaving 28 to start.
At the skippers’ briefing, hosted by Wouter Veroraak from Sevenstar, the weather forecast and sailing conditions were much to the fore. With a double low-pressure forecast for Tuesday/Wednesday to the west of Ireland, just when most boats will be in that area, there were concerns following a very stormy race in 2014.
Small crew numbers
Most of the boats now have a small number of crew members and there are a number of boats sailing with just two crew on board. There will certainly not be much sleep for any of the sailors and watch systems are being operated for the larger crews.
Instead of the three, four or five days taken to complete the race in 2014 by the fast vessels, most of the fleet this time will be at sea for at least ten days.
Well known in Island sailing circles
Among the contestants this year is Ross Applebey on board his yacht Red Oyster. Ross is well known in Island sailing circles and with his wife Sarah on her boat, ‘High Potential’, was the winner of the Golden Roman Bowl in this year’s ISC Round the Island Race.
Ross has undertaken many long distance races including The Rolex Fastnet and is an experienced offshore sailor. He hopes to complete this race in 11 days.
Warm-up for 2020-2021 Vendee Race
Hannah Stodel is using this race as a warm-up for her planned challenge for the 2020-2021 Vendee Race. She and her crew of three have chartered Region Normandie from the French owners.
With Region Normandie being a Class 40 yacht Hannah thought that the strong winds would aid her. However, Region Normandie broke a halyard right at the start, but with crew member Quentin Bes-Green climbing the rig to fix the issue the boat continued.
“We didn’t get the best start in the world.
“We will complete this race and this has made us very, very aware of how important it is to keep the boat together.”
Sailors from 18 countries
Crews from 18 different countries in the 28 boats started the race, which is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line at midday on Sunday 12th August.
A cold front from the Atlantic made for dark skies and a gusting southerly wind was accompanied by rain as the boats headed from Cowes towards Ryde and the South of the Island before passing the Needles and heading towards Lands End.
For the first night the wind strengthened and shifted to southwest and the 140 sailors in the fleet braced themselves for a hard beat in the English Channel towards The Lizard.
Images: © Suzanne Whitewood