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Desperately close

Lithuanian crew of Volvo 60, Ambersail, celebrate completing the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Photo: Paterick EdenMorning Race Report - Tuesday 31 August

There where tense moments last night, as Simonas Steponavicius' Volvo 60, Ambersail made a dash for the finish line of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. They were desperately close to taking the overall lead on handicap. The Lithuanian Volvo 60 passed St. Catherine's Point on the south side of the Isle of Wight just before midnight, averaging 13 knots. They knew that if they could keep up that speed, they were going to take the overall lead. Turning downwind into the Solent at Bembridge Ledge, the breeze started to fade a little and with that their hopes of an overall win. But the Lithuanian team has performed magnificently in a yacht that is ten years old. The team all sail at Klaipeda, on the Baltic Sea. The yacht was purchased in 2009, to commemorate a thousand years of Lithuanian history. The crew sailed the boat in nine legs around the world and the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland has been something of a reunion for the crew. No doubt they will have an extensive celebration in Cowes today but they will s hortly be sailing the boat down to Malta to compete in the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

At 0700 BST, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens was 142 miles from the finish, going upwind at eight and a half knots. If they can keep up that pace, they should finish the race by 0100 tomorrow morning. They will be hoping that the breeze will hold out during the day. For the moment they are on course to eclipse Artemis Ocean Racing's corrected time and take the overall lead on handicap in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, but it is going to be very close.

With the lighter weather over the last day or so, the overall win for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race looks like going to one of the faster boats but there is still all to play for in the other classes. Steven Anderson's First 40.7, Encore has been sailing very intelligently and their move east on the approach to Ireland looks to have been another tactical masterstroke. At 0800 BST, Encore was twenty miles from the north western tip of Ireland ripping along at nearly nine knots. British Soldier was in front of them but stayed to the west and is now over 6 miles behind. Net gain to Encore 10 miles.

After leading for most of the race, Adrian Lower's Swan 44, Selene came out worse off by hitting the doldrums off the north west tip of Ireland. Harry Heijst's S&S 41, Winsome got into the fresh breeze first and now leads IRC Two. Although Selene is six miles ahead, Winsome has just crept ahead on handicap. For most of this race Selene has been the out and out class leader but the race in Class Two is very much back on.

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