Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Minisite
Return to the RORC Homepage

Race Archives

2010 Blogs

Crew member on GBR9357T CV8 Hull & Humber

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Half way across the Celtic Sea and the thoughts are starting to turn to the first beer when we get in and a warm shower. While I think we’d all like to be in soon, we all want to savour the last few days on board.

We’ve got beautiful sailing conditions today; not a cloud in the sky and dolphins accompanying us from time to time.

It’s been an incredible race; seeing parts of the UK and Ireland from the sea, a vantage point that people are rarely privileged to gain. I think of Muckle Flugga at the top of Shetland with its white light house and bird colonies and St Kilda’s black cliffs against the stark moon as we rushed headlong south.

However I don’t want to reminisce too much, there still a lot of sailing to do and a lot of laughs to be had aboard the big orange boat. I certainly don’t want to wish it over until we’re good and ready and seen a few more sights.

Crew member on GBR1429L British Soldier

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

DAY 10 - THU 2 SEP 10 - 2200 HRS

The longest beat in history? Well not quite, but definitely the longest beat of the race across the Irish Sea to Bishops Rock and the Isles of Scilly. Plenty of wind (uncanny that it chose the exact bearing of the rhumb line) and water to look at, but not much else. Life on BS continues at a pace - still driving the boat as fast as we can into the crashing seas. Everything down below is damp and following a mishap with the remaining coffee jar (almost inducing a near fit in the 1st Mate), coffee in the bilges means that BS has taken on a definitive coffee house aroma. Whilst this particular brand of frappucino is not my cup of tea, it has rather replaced the pungent odour of damp bodies and poor aiming drills in the heads.

Morale remains worrying high. Starboard watch are quietly reserved, with a steely professional edge above and below decks, whilst Starboard have become a tadge more rebellious, adopting a devil may care attitude, especially when serving up porridge/rice/pasta that may or may not (they refuse to cooperate) have been contaminated with bilge water. A coffee twang will surely give away their secret? Further, they have taken to singing loudly (and badly) a range of songs on the rail. Their repeteoire includes songs from 1980's Children's TV programmes, the occasional poorly remembered song from Queen to the more traditional 'A vow to me thy country.' Singing was banned after their 2nd rendition of Christmas Carols....

So with 270 miles left out of this 1800 mile epic, we're looking forward to getting home. Who knows where the opposition are, but let's hope that wherever they are that we're pulling away.

Skip

Crew member on GBR1429L British Soldier

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

DAY 9 - WED 1 SEP 10 - 2300 HRS

Well here we are in familiar BS territory, approx 30 miles SW of the Fastnet Rock bashing into a south easterly Force 4 heading towards Bishop's Rock (Isles of Scilly) - nothing is very easy. The boat is behaving impeccably - full Main and No 3 and cracking along at average speeds of 7.5 knots+. GPS is telling us 385 NM to the finish. although we expect to cover a few more miles with this current forecast. Finish Sat pm?

The crew remain in high spirits and it's only after a while that you begin to identify individual and group idiosyncrasies/oddities. Port Watch, for example, like to start the day with a tube of Pringles, whilst Starboard have a particular penchant for personal hygiene, almost to a man insisting on taking a salt water shower every day, regardless of weather and angle of heel. What they do share in common is a mutual lack of trust; suspicious and accusing of the others every move, especially concerning food and the timing of sail changes which always seems to be left to the new oncoming watch.

I think that's enough from me - this isn't very comfortable and it's time to coax the Satphone out of it's cosy bag. Thanks Riki in Afghanistan for the offer of a missile strike on our closest rival. We'll have to turn you down on that one in case of infringement of Racing Rule of Sailing (RRS) 41 - No outside assistance permitted. Nice thought though - thanks.

Skip

Crew member on GBR8308T Playing Around Logic

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

After a fast night of close reaching, dawn broke with a cloudy sky. Now September and further South & West, it is quite noticeable how much later the sun breaks out over the horizon. The sea is warmer that daytime we're rapidly discarding layers, and not even fully clothed up during the night and early hours of the morning.

Now we're on our way as fast as possible to Inishtearaght Island.

There's lots of rocks off the coast here to worry the navigators, some of them just below the surface on a direct course between waypoints.

Glad we're doing this part in the daytime. This is our Western-most point of the race, with only the Southern-most point of the compass left to cross before heading back to Cowes.

Inching every last bit of speed from Playing Around has seen us make 15 sail changes in the last 24hrs, starting with Asail, to #1, to #2 back again and so on. Yes, it is tiring for the crew, but it is certainly making a difference as we close down the miles on our competitors. The wind has varied from 5 up to 20kts, and as I write back down to 7kts.

The offshore course down the Irish coast has paid off a bit of our debt, and then it will be all to play for in the Irish Sea and back up the channel.

The last 24hrs will see us dissolve the watch system, everyone on deck to squeeze out every little advantage we can. Tactics and navigation will be hot on the agenda, as we try to interpret the wind and tidal changes of the last few hundred miles whilst we keep the boat moving fast as we can. Even now we are thinking through our strategy and options for the last two big legs, across the Irish Sea and down the Channel.

Readers of the blog will know we no longer have a #3 jib, a sail ideally suited for upwind sailing in 15-25kts. We're compromising using the #2 with a reef for up to 22kts which so far has been quite effective. Above that we'll be changing to the #4, though we recognise that will hamper our performance a little which we will have to make up by better sailing.

The weather today is yet again wonderful. The sun just breaking out from the clouds, and we've had very little rain, most of which was around Muckle Flugga as we crossed a frontal system. Last night the Green Watch spotted a seal coming up to play in the waves, no doubt curious as to what we were doing here.

The daily cycle continues, sailing, food, sleep. Less of the boat maintenance thank goodness in the last 24hrs! Some crew bought books, but due to the washing machine spin mode and with so much else to do, no-one has yet opened a book, other than one with tides charts in it.

Discussion centres on little other than how to go faster.

Gotta go, changing sails again

Pete

Crew member on GBR8308T Playing Around Logic

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Message to British Soldier.

Peter Robson and the crew of Playing Around Logic would like to express their regret to the team of British Soldier on any offence caused on a blog message posted earlier in the race. Peter has confirmed that his lack of typing skills were to blame for the typo, and he did not put what he actually meant to say!!

Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Logo