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Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race - 17 August 2006 - Morning Press Release

17 August, 2006 9:32:00 AM BST | Racetime 09:15:32:00

With the finish line of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race tantalisingly close at just 115 miles for Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy's Noonmark VI, the rest of the fleet are struggling against light southerly headwinds as they make their way down the east coast of Britain. Conditions are expected to remain light for the next two days as a slow moving low pressure system works its way across the racecourse making the final stretch agonising for some. Noonmark VI reported that they had just passed Dover at 0900 hrs this morning (Thursday) and were, "touch and go as to whether we'll make last orders in Cowes tonight!"

A text message received this morning, however, from the Murray 41, Predator of Wight, who have just rounded Muckle Flugga on the way back to Cowes, reported some tough conditions onboard in the past week saying: "The mainsail keeps splitting and we had to sail downwind under bare poles at 6 knots for one hour to sew back the leech. Then the head ripped off 24 hours later and broke 60% of the slugs! We've replaced them with various shackles from around the boat and we had to sail under trysail to achieve this. We've also been bailing 6-8 buckets of water every shift change since the Scilly Isles and now 50% of the berths are saturated and the boat seems to be held together with Sicoflex and duct tape! Down below is also covered in diesel from a leak and a suncream bottle exploded in the cockpit so moving around Predator is like Bambi on Ice!! The heads pipe is completely jammed and the rudder tried to fall out of the bottom of the boat. The crew's quote for this trip is "living the dream" - and somehow we're all still a happy crew!"

Overnight the young crew of Unlimited Sailing/John Merricks have managed to extend their lead over Volker Linzer's Norddeutsche Vermogen to 49 miles as the lighter winds have favoured the lighter Farr 45 on the water. Simon Harwood's Talisman finally rounded Muckle Flugga during the night leaving just the Sigma 38 of Kieran Jameson, Changeling, to get around the headland. Changeling is currently a little over 70 miles from the turning point and should reach it by tomorrow morning.

The crew of Clem Jones' J/160, Jeu D'Esprit, meanwhile are having a super race with crewmember Fiona reporting: "We've got a Champagne lunch planned for today in honour of Muckle Flugga - we might eventually have to start getting inventive with pasta or rice and the spice cupboard but for now we're enjoying the proper food while it lasts and praying for anything other than southerly winds...! We're stuck with what's left of the biscuits and Green & Black's chocolate so when those are gone they're gone, but the Thai green curry is back for dinner by popular demand and it's calm enough to have showers without risking acquiring any more bruises than we already have, my back is better AND we're now homeward-bound, so things could be a lot worse."

As the race comes to its conclusion the RORC will continue to bring daily updates and position reports from the boats highlighting the highs and lows of this premier coastal yacht race. All yachts competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race have been fitted with a tracking device developed by the RORC in conjunction with OC Technology. Yacht positions will be updated half-hourly and can be followed on the Royal Ocean Racing Club's dedicated micro site accessed via www.rorc.org

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