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Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race 19 August 2006 - Afternoon Web Update

19 August, 2006 7:41:00 PM BST | Racetime 12:01:41:00

After twelve days at sea, Anthony Richards brought his 200- built Ker 11.3, Minnie the Moocher, across the line at the Royal Yacht Squadron to receive their hooter and complete the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race. Finishing at 1817 hrs the tired crew headed back to their home port of Hamble after receiving their congratulatory champagne where they will no doubt reflect on a terrific race around Britain and Ireland with Minnie the Moocher finishing 8th on the water.

The rest of the fleet are all still filing down the eastern seaboard of the United Kingdom, busily trying to beat their own predicted finishing times. Next to finish should be Andy Middleton's Corby 45, Global Yacht Racing Incisor who is making steady progress along the Channel and is expected to get to Cowes a little after 0500 hrs tomorrow morning followed at around midday by Andrew Pearce's IMX40 Magnum II.

Onboard Gourmet Sailing - Jeu'dEsprit the spirits are still up, reinforced by smoked salmon and egg breakfasts but with the race being longer than predicted and a faulty gas bottle the fine diners are having to slum it a little in the evening as crew member Fiona explains: We're having to be a bit more imaginative with the food now (especially when we don't know how long the gas will last) but the gourmet spice cupboard and well-stocked freezer have meant we've continued to enjoy an impressive range of dinners (sweet and sour chicken last night) and there can't be too many of the boats in the fleet that are still having things like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast - but just not quite enough breakfast and lunch for some of the crew, with bread and milk a bit short and no sugar left. Most of us have lost a few pounds so far, although that might be rather more to do with the lack of alcohol.

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 hourly and can be followed on the Royal Ocean Racing Club's dedicated micro site accessed via http://www.rorc.org

Quotes from the boats:

News from the Sailing Logic boats (Jaguar Logic/Puma Logic) - c/o Allie Smith, Director Sailing Logic:
Spirit's are still high on both the Logic yachts. Puma have taken some 30 miles from Magnum during the night and have also passed Mostly Harmless at last. I am sure that the battle between the 2 yachts is not finished yet and the guys aboard are working hard to try to remain ahead. Jaguar has had an eventful night losing 2 halyards in the space of a few hours.

Daily Log from Jaguar Logic - Pete Summers
The wind always seems to follow us and head us again. This was not helped by the fact all the way up the western coast with the wind on the nose everyone was hoping for a bit of a spinnaker run back home. Spirits are still high although it is obvious that tiredness is starting to creep into everything a little more. As I mentioned yesterday (Friday) was an eventful day and it kept everyone on their toes. At lunch time we were having a lovely sail on a beam to broad reach in about 20 knots of breeze, it was perfect. I made the call to hoist the spinnaker because although we might have to bear away 10* the extra speed would give us a better VMG. Not to mention the smile factor of sailing at around 11 knots. This was short lived about 20 mins after the hoist the wind veered pushing us off course even more and increased to over 30 so we dropped. The smiles were still big as we were doing around 9 knots in the right direction under white sails surfing at 10.5 knots. A few hours later the wind died and it was time to put up the #1 genoa as we were dropping the sail the halyard snapped about a meter from the top and fell back down through the mast, bugger. Well surprise surprise the wind increased again time for the #3, fairly standard stuff for offshore racing. In the mea time while easing the main sheet Mick slipped banging his back putting him out of action, Dr Jon says he should be fine but needs to rest and no jarring, not easily done on a 38 race boat. At about 0115 I awoke to a lot of muttering on deck followed by Peter coming down tapping me on the shoulder saying the #3 is jammed at the top of the mast not going up or down. With the wind around 10 knots we needed it down and the #1 up. There was only one thing for it someone had to go up to see what the problem was. Peter very kindly volunteered and got harnessed up ready to go. We had to bear away to make it more comfortable and safer for him to go up. At the top he called back down to say the halyard had come off the pulley and was now jammed between the mast and the pulley and he was unable to free it. He swapped it with another halyard and came down. Two halyards down and only two left. We are going to have to be even more careful. It was now 0345 the slowest headsail change in history was now complete only 2 hours of sailing in the wrong direction. Everything is sorted now I hope and we are all ready and raring to go again but very much looking forward to getting to the finish line.

Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks makes it home sweet home
Following 10 days, 20 hours and 55 minutes at sea, Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks has finally made it home, crossing the finish line for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race at 14:55 pm on Friday 18 August. The Farr 45 is the sixth boat out of 28 to finish the event, an impressive result for such a novice crew. The young amateur crew were all smiles, cheers and hugs as a sense of relief swept across the deck. The 1760 mile journey began in Cowes, Isle of Wight, but the training, boat preparation and campaign began months earlier when the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme set them the offshore challenge. We have prepared for this trip for the last 18 months and to finally have completed the race is such an amazing feeling. Connor Myant, 22 from London explained shortly after stepping onto the pontoon. The crew, with an average age of only 23 are certainly some of the younger sailors in this competition and for many on board Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks, this trip was the longest offshore race that they have ever completed. It was a massive challenge. 21 year-old Nicky Macgregor of Lymington enthused. I have enjoyed the entire trip from beating up the coast of Ireland, to surfing the waves in the North Sea, to the crew banter when light winds held us back. The Round Britain and Ireland race threw up a series of challenges for the young team, all of which were met with fierce determination and the desire to succeed. The team were kept on their toes by the ever changing weather which brought everything from 40 knots to 0 knots of wind. A string of boat and sail problems forced the team to make emergency repairs, at one point stitching the mainsail at one oclock in the morning shortly before rounding Muckle Flugga, the northern most point. Offshore Yachtsman Nigel King was onboard to mentor the team and was impressed with their performance. This crew really stepped up to the plate and proved that they are the keelboat sailors of tomorrow. They drew together as a team and each of the ten sailors put their heart and soul into this race. Everyone carried their weight. I was really impressed with this young crew. Bath's Jamie Holmes, 22 summed up the general feeling on board the boat. What a great trip, what an experience! It has been one of the hardest things we have ever done but also one of the most memorable. Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks was being crewed by members of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme. The boat and the Round Britain and Ireland Campaign are supported by Unlimited Sailing, the Peter Harrison Foundation and the John Merricks Trust.

Magnum - IMX40
Evening all, 1900: Today has been torrid. We have passed through 2 thunder storms: the first the cloud was so black and threatening and came right down to sea level. The second less so but both left us bereft of wind for considerable periods. We were left wind searching in all sorts of directions even up to NE! Not what we want at all! Once through these we have picked up the prevailing winds again from the SE so its still a beat! The forecast tells us more of the same and tomorrow (Friday). We were drenched yet again in the first thunder storm but this time with fresh water so wet weather gear will finally dry out. As for all our other clothes, they are so salt encrusted that they just suck up moisture once on deck. Now under 200 miles to the North Foreland way point and about 115 from there to Cowes. With decent winds we could do this in 48 hours. We'll see. Looking forward to getting to the finish at Cowes. Too early to know but hopefully Sat night some time.

0400 Friday morning: We have now been through 5 thunder storms. The worst of the storms came during the midnight to 0300 watch and the following 0300 - 0600 watch. From the start of my watch at midnight we had been watching lightening on the horizon gradually closing. We changed our angle to try and lift up behind the approaching storm but ended up going slap through the middle! The lightening was everywhere and almost continuous and continued through into following watch. Rain was likened to the size of oranges! 25kn gusts hit us just after the 0300 watch change and it felt like a giant had hold of the boat and was shaking her violently. Jib dropped and main reefed has us back under control. Gradually we pulled through to the other side only to be greeted with yet another storm. Wind strengths were up and down like a Yoyo. Reefs in and shaken out, jibs up and down. The work went on endlessly all through the night as we hit yet another storm. There is something fascinating about watching lightening at sea. The flashes are so bright and light up the whole area. Quite awesome. Breakfast - bacon baguettes. Good old Pete!

Gourmet Sailing Jeu'dEsprit
So now we're dodging gas rigs near the Humber after the oil rigs out in the North Sea off Scotland. Back over the border into England again and the sun keeps teasing us by coming out just enough to get us into shorts and sun screen but then hides again and with the wind at 15-20 knots we all get back into oilies again pronto. Our ill-fated jib top lived up to its reputation and tore as we brought it down last night (or was it the night before? -it's all getting a bit blurry now). So the after-dinner entertainment was sewing, with me being left-handed starting at one end of the tear and other crew members taking it in turns to do the other end. We all had a serious sense of humour failure when it looked like the wind was going to turn south after we rounded Muckle Flugga and it would be a beat all the way home again after the beat all the way up, but thankfully it turned and we've been tootling along down the North Sea having decided to stay well out. Just as well - we're having to be a bit more imaginative with the food now (especially when we don't know how long the gas will last) but the gourmet spice cupboard and well-stocked freezer have meant we've continued to enjoy an impressive range of dinners (sweet and sour chicken last night) and there can't be too many of the boats in the fleet that are still having things like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast - but just not quite enough breakfast and lunch for some of the crew, with bread and milk a bit short and no sugar left. Most of us have lost a few pounds so far, although that might be rather more to do with the lack of alcohol... The boat definitely has a smell of its own now, some crew members (mentioning no names, JK and Willy) were very nobly not taking advantage of the plentiful hot water on board and were volunteered for showers yesterday by the other crew members... The girls of course have been showering very regularly, to the point where the skipper had to unblock the shower sump pump filter this afternoon. JK's cake went down a storm last night after dinner - that effectively counted as the rum ration as well, but on the biscuit front we're down to digestives, and the chocolate is now being rationed, which is a good incentive to finish asap. The 'mother watch' system has worked brilliantly, with various crew members discovering hitherto unknown culinary talents - Henry: rest assured Jackie's cooking has improved beyond all recognition and we're considering publishing a recipe book on our return. A definite difference of opinions has emerged between the watches as to whether we peel sails or go bare-headed on changes, and how far we push the sails on their limits of wind strength and angle, but no-one likes breaking things and Jeu d'Esprit has looked after us very well so far even if we are now all very keen to finish. We might be a bit damp and smelly, but we've never been worried about the boat holding together even with all the slamming upwind. We passed 35 miles East of Flamborough Head at 4pm today - going home!! It was very nice to hear the Humber Coastguard last night. (Fiona -A Watch - 53 degrees 58.3 North, 0 degrees 59.6 East at 16:21)

Magnum - IMX 40 - The final leg
At last at the corner of England and turning down Channel to our final destination - the finishing line at the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes. It's been a long very hard race with no respite; even to the end, the wind is still 'on the nose' and we have a beat down Channel for about 130 miles. We should finish sometime Sunday morning. During the night the seas have reflected the strong winds of overnight and are boisterous. We saw yet another thunder storm on our approach to The Thames Estuary but it cleared ahead of us. Lots of shipping as you would expect in the approaches to the Dover Straits. Something not seen on our journey around the British Isles  it's been very lonely at times with not another light to be seen for a whole night. Our racing normally in the Channel means we spend a lot of our time monitoring and dodging the big shipping going up and down Channel and on the clearest of nights when mid Channel we can see the loom of 3 or 4 lighthouses over both the English and French shores. During the night all the sea water getting in through those odd little places for the last 11 days has finally caused havoc with our electronics. Various ships instruments started to play up. A squirt with WD40 helped but some have not revived. Not enough to cause any problems just another job to add to the ever growing list for when we get back. We have run a 'dry' ship, in the alcoholic sense, and we are all looking forward to getting in to Cowes tomorrow morning!

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