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Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race ' 8th August 2006 (Day 2)

8 August, 2006 8:55:00 AM BST | Racetime 00:14:55:00

At 2039 hrs on Monday 7th August, just two and a half hours into the race, the Ker 11.3 MoonraKer was forced to retire from the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race due to a complete failure of her steering gear as she rounded the turning point of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. In a phone call to race control last night after the crew of MoonraKer had successfully limped back to Cowes unassisted, crew member Andrew Mills commented: 'We had roared off to Bembridge from the start line and were undergoing a series of spinnaker gybes when we first realised that something was wrong with the steering gear as we just couldn't bring the boat up into the wind following the gybe. It was only blowing about 15 knots at the time and when we went down below to inspect the steering gear which is attached to the inside of the hull we found that it had come free and we had no option but to retire. At least it happened in the Solent and not 200 miles off Muckle Flugga! We managed to drop the kite and set up the jury rig steering tiller that connects to the top of the stock of the rudder and made it back to Cowes in time for a beer. The crew are disappointed not to take any further part in the race but we would like to send good luck and good speed to everyone else taking part!'

It was always going to be a tough race for the MoonraKer crew who launched the boat just hours before the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and were frantically trying to sort out teething problems throughout the afternoon before the race. This team of Royal Engineers had done a fantastic job to get on the start line and were well in contention when their troubles started. We wish them well for the future and hope to see them compete in many more RORC races in the future.

Meanwhile at the front of the fleet this morning, Jean-Philippe Chomette's Nacira 60 Solune had edged into the lead by the slenderest of margins from the Open 60 Artemis Ocean Racing skippered by Jonny Malbon as the two yachts made good progress down to Plymouth. Both boats are touching around 12 knots under asymmetric spinnaker as they fly down the South Coast of England enjoying a very tight personal battle for overall line honours, clear ahead of the fleet.

Overnight, some of the crews had the chance to email race control with updates and here is a selection from around the yachts:

Mostly Harmless (Prima 38) - Bob Clitherow
We are off! Good start up at the S Bramble end of the line in 10kts NE. Puma Logic ahead (they looked close to being over!) and Magnum behind. First right call was to go north of Raid Bank for better wind and tide. Only Puma stayed with us. At the end of the Bank, as the boats merged, we were alongside Minnie the Moocher. Clearly Kerr 11.3s go slowly with all that food on board. Next call was to go inside Nomansland Fort. Very few boats did and we gained masses on those that didn't as we could just hold a kite down to Bembridge. We rounded Bembridge Ledge at 19:22pm ahead of Puma, Magnum and comfortably ahead of the other two Prima's. A perfect peel to the runner and a gybe. We are now coming out of the tide into Sandown Bay. The watch system kicked in a while ago and the cabin is gently reverberating to Neal, Chris and Mark's slumbering. Someone is talking about supper. Chicken slices. Hmm, maybe I should have had a bigger lunch! Actually, joking apart, I am really impressed by all the effort that has gone into getting us to the start line. The piles of food that Helen has bagged up into daily rations is testament. I can praise them here now, as they won't read it until we finish. We even have our course drawn out on a map by Neal's daughter. I may have to rely on that at some point.

Magnum 2 (IMX40) - Andrew Pearce
It's now coming up to 10pm. 4 hours into the race. Winds have been low in the 10kn range from the NE and so an 'a' sail leg down the Eastern Solent. Not our usual clean start, we were held up by one of the big Super Zero boats. So we had Puma and Most Harmless just ahead as we got to the Forts. With the turn round the corner to go west we have gybed a good many times and now have Mostly Harmless and Puma behind us. It's all very light at the moment but I've just heard the Coastgurad report for the following 48 hours and more wind is promised! We are presently off Ventnor on starboard tack with the kite up on a reach. We have 8kn of wind and 6kn of boat speed but are still against the tide so have come in close to the headland to cheat the tide. We have just gone into our watch pattern so I'm off watch now until Midnight (the dog watch) and then on till 3am.

Winsome (S&S One-Off) - Harry Heijst
So far all is okay on board and our corrected position taken from the really beautiful webpage/scoreboard at this very moment is giving us confidence that we are doing things alright. We started with a light breeze of 7 knots which increased by 2300 to 16 knots. Right after the forts we set our Sevenstar spinnaker which was sufficiently tested already in Skandia Cowes Week. The sun is shining and we are still sailing under our spinnaker plus our Daisy since an hour or so.

Aquis Granus (Lutra 52) - Robert Rohde
Aquis Granus GER1375, IRC Z: Position Report: Portland Bill passed 0153 UTC Yacht and Crew are still in marvellous condition. The Berlin part of the crew is really enthusiastic. We are enjoying nice downwind sailing at 10 knots. Perfect. Alexander's noodles with fresh ingredients for supper have made the day. Tomorrow we will start with our adventure food. A little bit worrying...We will keep you informed.

Over the coming two weeks 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 www.rorc.org

Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race - The Start

7 August, 2006 7:18:00 PM BST | Racetime 00:01:18:00

The Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race got underway on a glorious Solent evening with grey cloud cover atop a smooth sea state and a gentle north-easterly force three to four. The twenty-eight competing yachts from around the world had a busy pre-start as they jostled for position on the Royal Yacht Squadron line with the making tack being port as they headed out to the eastern Solent before coming back down the back of the Isle of Wight and along the South Coast of England. Bang on time at 1800, the starting canon fired from the Squadron hustings with Ger O'Rourke's Cookson 50 'Kingspan ' Chieftain' tacking beneath Global Yacht Racing Incisor of Andy Middleton and quickly seizing control of the opening minutes of the race.

Coming in on long timed-runs to the starting line were the Open 60 of Artemis Ocean Racing with stand-in skipper Jonny Malbon and Solune of Jean-Philippe Chomette who quickly overhauled O'Rourke's smaller design after five minutes of racing on the flooding tide. Artemis Ocean Racing was hitting speeds of up to 11 knots in the eastern Solent and will be tough to catch with her enormous Open 60 sail plan and brand new sails working to great effect in the flat water around the back of the Isle of Wight.

Also up at the front of the fleet after good starts were Harry Heijst's beautiful Sparkman & Stephens Winsome and Andy Middleton's Global Yacht Racing Incisor who led the chasing pack of smaller boats as the front-runners started to put distance on the fleet.

Last away from the line was Clem Jones' J/160 Jeu d'Esprit some three minutes behind the leaders, no doubt owing to the sheer volume of quality food this team of Corinthian sailors from Wales, Scotland, France, Germany and Yorkshire are packing below! Jeu d'Esprit quickly overhauled the Emily Pearson skippered Global Yacht Racing EH01 with an all-female crew who are hoping to raise up to '100,000 for the charity Sail 4 Cancer.

So as the competing crews enter their first night on this, the 1760 mile Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, it looks like being a calm and pleasant evening to bed down and get into rotation for what is expected to be a 10-15 day race. Already the tracking devices, developed by RORC in conjunction with OC Technology and fitted on all the boats are up and running delivering fantastic data live to the internet including position and speeds. This service is available to all interested spectators via a dedicated Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland micro-site accessed via the RORC website http://www.rorc.org and the RORC will continue to bring updates throughout with commentary from the boats as the race unfolds.

Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race - Race Day One

7 August, 2006 3:46:00 PM BST

Cowes is abuzz with crews preparing for this evening's start of the RORC-run Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race that gets underway from the Royal Yacht Squadron at 6.00pm. For the twenty-eight boats competing in this gruelling event over a racecourse distance of approximately 1,789 miles it's all eyes on the weather and their charts as they plot their best escape westwards along England's south coast and into the Celtic Sea. A weather briefing this morning from renowned meteorologist Mike Broughton suggested that the fleet will experience north easterly gradient breezes that will increase to around 25 knots by the end of the week as two low pressure systems filter in from the Atlantic and that the wind will stay mainly in the north meaning a long beat up the west coast of Ireland.

For one team, the Ker 11.3 'MoonraKer of Cowes', just getting to the start will be a major achievement as at midday on Monday she was still out of the water far down the Medina River with her crew of Royal Engineers battling against the clock to get the boat race ready! Skipper Richard Williams was offering a stiff upper military lip however to the situation saying, 'We're hoping that a bit of brawn will sort the situation out. It will be a bit of a rush to the start but we're very confident that everything will get done and that we'll have a great ride around Britain & Ireland.'

The front-runners meanwhile are undergoing last minute checks whilst relaxing ahead of the start and it looks like being a fascinating tussle between the big guns as the race unfolds. The 2002 built Open 60 'Artemis Ocean Racing' of Jonny Malbon is the highest rated boat competing and will be certainly looking to lead the fleet out of the Solent, around the back of the Isle of Wight and into the Channel whilst Jean-Philippe Chomette's Nacira 60 'Solune' will be pushing hard and hoping to capitalise on any mistakes. These two will be closely monitored by the Volvo 60 of Robert Lutener and Martin Elwood 'Cutting Edge on Venom' and the Lutra 56 of Piet Vroon 'Formidable 3' but one of the surprise packages could come in the form of Ger O'Rourke's Cookson 50 'Kingspan-Chieftain.'

Another boat to look out for is Harry Heijst's beautiful Sparkman & Stephens 41 ft one-off 'Winsome' that is fresh from a very dominant performance in last week's Skandia Cowes Week. Harry is also a Director of race sponsor Sevenstar who specialise in global yacht transportation and will be a hot contender for the overall corrected time victory. So with all to play for, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race could prove to be one of the most interesting to date and there's certainly a very good feeling on the dockside ahead of tonight's start that we could be in for a classic.

One sad note to report is that, owing to a family bereavement Brian Thompson will not be taking part in this year's event. An official press release stated the following: 'Brian Thompson, who has logged more multihull and swing keel sailing miles than any other Briton and holds 25 world records, had been set to skipper Artemis Ocean Racing, an all-carbon fibre Open 60. Then, last Thursday, his wife's mother, Sylvia Le Pen, died and Brian decided to stay at home to support his grieving wife, Nathalie, and family. Now Jonny Malbon will skipper Artemis Ocean Racing, having previously been selected as boat captain after several successes in that role, most notably for Ellen MacArthur on Kingfisher during her Route du Rhum victory in 2002. Jonny will lead a highly-experienced team of Nick ''Nobi'' Black, Will Oxley, Jonathan McKee and Mark Thomas.'

As the afternoon wore on, the supermarkets of Cowes were rapidly being drained of supplies as crews dashed around to collect essential last minute items with chocolates, nuts and fresh fruit being among the most popular purchases. However for the crew of Clem Jones' Jeu d'Esprit it will be a rather different sailing experience as they have unofficially renamed their boat 'Gourmet Sailing Jeu d'Esprit' on account of the quite exquisite supplies they have on board. This afternoon the crew were tucking into pork off the bone ahead of tonight's Moroccan lamb curry and were to be found on the dockside busily chopping onions ahead of the start. 'It was a love of cruising that first got us into eating well onboard,' says crew member Hans van Well, 'and we saw no reason to change our eating habits just because we decided to go racing!' The gourmet supplies will see the Jeu d'Esprit crew well provisioned for up to eighteen days with the onboard fridges stuffed to capacity alongside two boxes of oranges, a further two boxes of apples and a very large bag of onions stowed deep in the bowels of this immaculate J/160. 'We have made one concession to racing,' says skipper Jones, 'we're leaving the bimini ashore!'

Over the coming two weeks 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 www.rorc.org

CYCA and RORC join forces for Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race

20 July, 2006 10:55:00 PM BST

Two of the world's leading organisers of offshore racing, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, have joined forces to bring a new era of race communications to RORC's race programme, including the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race starting 7 August 2006, and the 750 mile race to Cascais in Portugal starting on 1 September.

The 1,789 nautical mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race, organised by the RORC, will be sailed clockwise around Britain and Ireland starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, and for the first time all competing yachts will be fitted with tracking devices to allow for greater viewer participation across the media channels.

Commodore of the RORC David Aisher, speaking ahead of the start on 7 August, commented: 'Embracing modern communication tools is vital to the ongoing success of RORC's classic offshore races and it's certainly something we have pursued and will continue to pursue vigorously. By fitting tracking devices to all the yachts competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland we hope to achieve an even greater reach and interaction for audiences around the world.'

The CYCA launched its award winning website, incorporating the Yacht Tracker and a unique standings engine to allow for real time updates of predicted line honours and handicap outcomes, four years ago. The technology, implemented by Sydney interactive media specialists Massive Interactive in partnership with the CYCA, led to the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart web site being named Yahoo! Australia and New Zealand Web Site of the Year for that year.

The website has allowed audiences around the world to track every boat in the CYCA's major offshore events, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

'We spent thousands of hours developing this technology,' said CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis. 'Part of the original concept was to create something that could be exported around the world for other yacht clubs to adopt for their offshore events.

'The joining together of the CYCA and RORC using the power of our technology will give those following the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and Cascais Race and potentially, next year, the Rolex Fastnet, the same benefits enjoyed by the ever expanding international audience which tune into the CYCA's four most significant offshore events online,' Commodore Lavis added.

The satellite units for the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race have been provided by OC Technology, part of the Offshore Challenges Group, in partnership with RORC. The unit is a self-contained, battery-powered, lightweight, tracking device capable of reporting a boat's position, speed and course at predetermined intervals, and is programmable remotely. The device works on battery power alone and is capable of sending over 4,000 position reports on one battery ' the equivalent of every half-hour for 80 days at sea or almost 14 days at 5-minute intervals using the Iridium system.

The CYCA has created the race web site http://sevenstarrbi.cyca.com.au utilising the same design and functionality as the CYCA's four other dedicated race websites. CYCA will be responsible for the management of the website race systems during the race.

The site will feature a chart of Britain and Ireland provided by the UK Hydrographic Office, upon which each competing each yacht will appear with an instrument display showing their heading, boat speed and distance to the finish and race leader as at the time of each report from the satellite unit. Results will show progressive provisional handicap results across all divisions calculated from the satellite devices every hour.

In addition, yachts may be tracked by viewers on Google Earth.

Other features include Breaking News, a Gallery for photos, and the list of yachts entered including specifications and crew lists for each. So far 26 entries have been received for the race, which is open to IRC, IRM, Open 60s and multihulls and is designated as a Category 1 race under ISAF Special Regulations.

Further information Peter Wykeham-Martin, General Manager, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Tel. 020 7493 2248, E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2006 - Preview

19 July, 2006 2:10:00 PM BST

The countdown to the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race on Monday, 7 August 2006 is well underway with 25 confirmed entries for this non-stop coastal classic run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and more expected. The 1789 mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2006 will be fully crewed and is open to IRC, IRM, Open 60s and multihulls and is designated as a Category 1 race under ISAF Special Regulations.

This sixth running of the race will, for the first time, see all competing yachts fitted with tracking devices to allow for greater viewer participation across the media channels. Commodore of the RORC David Aisher, speaking ahead of the start, commented: 'Embracing modern communication tools is vital to the ongoing success of the RORC's classic offshore races and it's certainly something we have pursued and will continue to pursue vigorously. By fitting tracking devices to all the yachts competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland we hope to achieve an even greater reach and interaction for audiences around the world.'

On the water, competition will be tight for overall line honours. Robert Lutener and Martin Elwood's Volvo 60 'Cutting Edge on Venom' and Marcelle von Wendland's Whitbread 60 'Zest of Belgium' will certainly be looking to renew their rivalry towards the front of the fleet with Jean-Philippe Chomette's Nacira 60 'Solune' looking for favourable conditions to try and better their course record of 7 days and 4 hours.

This year the race will be sailed clockwise around Britain and Ireland starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes so competitors will be keenly eyeing the weather data to try and eclipse the record set in 2000. 'When we set the record it was pretty much perfect conditions for the first three days,' says Jean-Philippe Chomette, 'so this year, especially going clockwise, it will be difficult to get close unless we get unusual weather for August which, knowing Britain, could happen!'

Other entries to look out for include the late Kit Hobday's Farr 52 'Bear of Britain' and Ger O'Rourke's Cookson 50 'Kingspan - Chieftain' who will push the larger front-runners all the way. RORC Committee member and Director of Sevenstar Shipping Harry Heijst has entered his much travelled and beautiful Sparkman & Stephens 41 'Winsome' and says that for him the race 'will be the highlight of my year for sure!'

The bulk of the fleet comprises many seasoned RORC race veterans whilst for one all-female team onboard the First 47.7 'Global Yacht Racing' just getting to the start-line is an achievement in itself as they are trying hard to raise up to '100,000 for their chosen charity Sail4Cancer by holding all manner of fundraising events. 'The ladies have been rattling buckets at Waterloo Train Station as well as sourcing corporate sponsors and getting their qualifying sea miles by competing in several 2006 RORC races so we wish them well for the race and applaud their achievements to date,' commented RORC's General Manager Peter Wykeham-Martin.

For further information, please contact:
Peter Wykeham-Martin, General Manager, Royal Ocean Racing Club Tel. 020 7493 2248, E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or

Richard Klabbers, Sevenstar, Tel. +31 20 4488590, E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Sevenstar
Sevenstar specialises in yacht and motor-yacht transportation around Europe, the USA and the Caribbean and recently undertook one of the largest sea transportations across the Atlantic when the carrier 'Stadiongracht' shipped some 60 yachts to the Caribbean including TP52's, Swan 45's and a charter fleet.

Sevenstar has also been heavily involved with moving the International America's Cup Class yachts around Europe during the recent regattas and is one of the most trusted companies in the yacht transportation business.

For more information or to enquire about yacht transportation please contact Sevenstar directly on www.sevenstar.nl or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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