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

Race Archives

2014 Blogs

Crew member on SWE1929 SCA

User Rating: 1 / 5

Star ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Team SCA, along with Azzam, Campos, Alvimedica, and Dongfeng, are leading

the fleet up and around Muckle Flugga, the northern tip of the Shetland

Islands. Currently Team SCA is 35nm behind Alvimedica and Dongfeng, and we

are gaining on them quickly with every passing minute.

On the first day out we found ourselves in a tricky position, Libby

explained. The other boats were still using the A3, the downwind sail,

even though we had reached the maximum safety wind limit for the sail. We

changed the sail but that forced us to put in more gybes along the Dover

Coast, and the other boats sailed past.

We then found ourselves in another situation with wind farms. According to

Libby, there was only a mile of safe gybing area, to the West, so we made

the call to go outside the wind farms. We thought there was a gap between

two large farms but it turned out there was another wind farm! This forced

us to go 30 miles in the wrong direction. It goes without saying, that it

was a massive learning opportunity for all of us, and we are now gaining

back some lost miles on the other Volvo Ocean 65s.

We had quite the day in the North Sea as well. Up here the seas are very

cold and weve had the biggest sea state we've encountered so far in our

training. Sam kept saying it reminded her of the Southern Ocean.

Yesterday, Annie was hit by a wave with such force that she had trouble

hearing out of one ear. With the sea state this large, everyone and

everything is wet and chilly. When asked how to explain life at the

moment, the girls can only say one word: wet. To do a maneuver on the bow,

the girls need a snorkel. To trim the sails, a snorkel is preferred but

the girls have opted for ski goggles. Inside the boat, we are constantly

bailing cold water out from all corners of the boat. Fortunately, for most

of us, despite a few damp arms and jackets, our toes and bodies are warm!

It goes without saying further that it's very fun and very (very) wet!

The waves are relentless! Abby said.

One particularly interesting thing about our current location is we are

300nm further north of our most southern point when rounding the Cape Horn

in a few months. The sea is cold and we have been trailed by curious sea

birds gliding through the air. (I wish I had my birding book!) Needless to

say, being this far North, is quite an exciting milestone for all of us on

Team SCA!

This is some of the best driving ever, Sophie exclaimed, This is so


I feel exhilarated, Dee said, Were all a little bit fatigued, but

were loving what we are doing and everyone is giving it 100%, so its a

good race.

Crew member on SWE1929 SCA

User Rating: 1 / 5

Star ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Game on.

A while back someone came up with the phrase: there is no I in team. Well,

this phrase still stands true today and could not be truer than here on

board Team SCA. Together, we live with little sleep, together we bail out

the boat, together we get doused by waves, together we get up and attempt

to get dressed quickly, together we eat for energy, together we sail fast

and hard. Together, we gain mile after mile on Alvimedica and Dongfeng.

If, for one minute, we worked independently this race would be in vain. We

need our watch partner and our other crew mates to keep us focused and to

get us through the often incredibly long watches and short off watches.

When the wind dies and it becomes too easy to lose focus, or when we have

to grind for 2.5hours straight, we need our team members to keep pushing

us. Of course we each bring different skills to the table, but our skill

sets could not flourish if we did not work as a team. This could not have

been more true than today.

From here on out, in the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race our

timing is crucial. We are currently sailing in the waters of Rockall and

Shannon, according to the BBCs Shipping Forecast.

"It becomes quite tactical as we gybe down the west coast of Ireland.

There will be about one hour between each gybe," Libby explained. Onboard

SCA we can make massive gains and capitalize on other teams losses during

this tricky time.

Over the course of the night we have become neck and neck with Alvimedica,

they are to the east of us off our starboard side, now we are only 3nm

ahead and Dongfeng is about 3nm away down the track ahead of us.

"Alvimedica went offshore so we gained miles on them there," Sam said.

"Currently, we are heading towards the most north west tip of Ireland,

where we will begin a gybe off down the coast."

With three teams incredibly close at the moment, timing and teamwork will

be everything today. There is a buzz in the air, you can see the girls

smiling, and hear the occasional laugh so there is no doubt the girls are

loving their job, the race, and most importantly their team.

Oh, and we are about 660nm away from the finish line back in the Solent

thats just one lap around the Canary Islands!!

Crew member on SWE1929 SCA

User Rating: 1 / 5

Star ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Day and Night

It is 0245 Friday morning in the waters of the Fastnet (south of the Irish

Sea). Libby and Sam are sitting on the floor staring at the navigation

computer, analyzing, waiting to make the call to gybe back across

Alvimedica. The off-watch girls are sleeping in their gear and have thirty

minutes to rest until we gybe back. The girls on deck are in full

concentration mode; they say nothing except for "trim on," "hold," and

"nice numbers. And it has been like this all day and all night as we've

played a game of snakes and ladders with Team Alvimedica.

A few days ago, after an epic start by Team SCA off of Cowes, we sailed at

the back of the Volvo Ocean 65 pack as we raced more of an easterly route

to avoid wind farms. For a few days we watched the rich get richer with

various pressure systems affecting the area for the boats ahead of us.

Today, we closed our 52nm mile gap on Dongfeng, coming within 4nm of the

team yesterday morning and we closed and sealed our 40nm gap on the young

guns on board Team Alvimedica.

Playing catch up has certainly not been easy in the least. As we sailed

down the west coast of Ireland, we've relied on tactics and timing to make

our massive gains and crawl back. Now, as we reach the southern tip of

Ireland we will be on longer gybes until the Scilly Islands.

"Now, it will be about sailing fast and not making mistakes," Libby said

after finishing up a well thought out "surprise" gybe in front of

Alvimedica. (I say surprise because, as a crew, we initially thought our

last gybe was to our lay line and course.) But, as Libby explained, "on

the last gybe we continued to get lifted* as the wind shifted, we saw an

opportunity so we decided to capitalize on it." The gybe was so last

minute that the internal weight was left to shift to windward until after

the gybe and some of the girls were still putting their boots on when they

began to furl the staysail.

This is just one example of what the last twenty four hours has been like;

nearly every waking and sleeping (when you can get some) moment has been

about passing Alvimedica and leaving them well in our trail. A true game

of cat and mouse, snakes and ladders, and a drag race!

As per normal on board Team SCA, timing is everything and only tomorrow

will tell if all our focus, determination, and hard work will pay off!

*A lift is a shift which allows your boat to head up toward the windward

mark more. It "lifts" your course higher.

Crew member on SWE1929 SCA

User Rating: 3 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

New pictures on photo deck:


Member of Support Team of Relentless on Jellyfish

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

The wind in the North Sea on the race track did not follow the forecast and

has been reluctant to veer from NW to N as predicted. As a result we have

seen a number of boats pushing a long way to the right of the course as

they try to find the best route with the shortest distance to Shetland

(Scarlet Oyster, Rare and Relentless have all been pushing a long way N.

As I look at the tracker all three of the boats have tacked in the past 3

hours and all are following a track that is WNW and I am sure each will be

hoping for the promised wind veer so they get a lift on Starboard that

carries them into the windward mark at Muckle Flugga.

East of Shetland we expect the wind will veer to 020 until Midnight.

But then the swing will reverse and the wind will start to back round back

to 350 until 1000 on Friday. But after Midday on Friday we expect the wind

to start backing further round ending up at 240 sometime after 2200 on

Friday as a new low pressure system pushes down from Iceland.

By 2200 on Friday the new low will be centred 63 28.00N and 018 43.00W.

By 1300 on Saturday we expect this new low will have moved SE and be

centred on the Faroe Islands. This will be the dominant influence on the

race for Classes 1-3 producing a powerful SW flow around 20-25 knots.

See the charts on this page

All crews will be reviewing which is the making tack and trying to find the

best way up this windward leg.

After they round the top, the boats may have been hoping for another spell

of downwind, but as a result of the low pressure system that is approaching

from Iceland they will have to wait a bit for that. This low will push the

wind into a Southwesterly direction from Friday evening to Saturday

evening. After that as the low moves further E we expect the wind to start

veering again and the boats will be reaching past the Western Isles of

Scotland before a further veer and a return to downwind sailing.

Chris Radford

Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Logo