Tonnerre Expected Tonight
At 1300 BST, Piet Vroon’s Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens is tantalizingly close to an overall victory in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. With 101 miles to go, Tonnerre de Breskens could well make it to the Royal Yacht Squadron Line before 01:54:35 tomorrow morning. None of the other boats still racing have a real chance of beating them on corrected time.
The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is now well into the eighth day. The crew on the racing yachts will have become totally accustomed to life on board. The yacht and its contents is all they have. For days now they have been confined to their yachts, matters that have no real importance in normal life become desperately important, even losing a hat or a glove can have a major effect on them. For those yachts out off the west coast of Ireland, they may not have seen land or even another ship for days. To the crew racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the yacht has become their own little world.
Last night Clipper 68, Hull and Humber found themselves in the teeth of gale force winds off the west coast of Ireland. As one crew member explained from on board:
"Down with the 1, on with 2, on with a reef, off with 2 and on with 3, on with another reef. All the while with starboard watch on the foredeck, pitching in a steep Atlantic sea. Loads of cold water, some of it green, giving us a refreshing jacuzzi. Even Al Duns, he of Norwegian and Arctic sailing, said he had never been quite so wet before... It was a tired starboard watch that tumbled into their bunks at 2 a.m. to be relieved by port watch, to take us on to St Kilda's, then some 30 miles distant. Never a watch to do things by halves, port watch not only rounded St Kilda's, but simultaneously passed our arch-nemesis John B."
At midday today, Charles Ivill, owner of Grand Soleil 54, John B called in 40 miles from the Fastnet Rock and explained that they have been having a few problems:
"At the moment, we have 15 knots from the north and all the crew are well on John B but we have had a few issues. About 150 miles from Muckle Flugga our vang failed, no real problems upwind, but downwind has been another story. We have to put three reefs in the main which is not exactly improving the boat speed! Also, we’ve managed to get sea water in the fresh water tanks. We have plenty of water to wash in, although you wouldn’t believe it if you could smell Timmy Mills’ feet! Drinking water is on rations and I am very happy to say that the food is still great. Each crew has made three meals a day and my favourite has got to be Helen’s shepherd’s pie. It has been a tough race, a real challenge but if you ask me or any of the crew if we will be doing it again, the answer is – absolutely yes!"
Steven Anderson’s First 40.7, Encore still leads IRC One by some margin but Adrian Lower’s team from the Royal Burnham Yacht Club on Swan 44, Selene and Harry Heijst’s Dutch S&S 41, Winsome are having a close battle, with Winsome just holding the lead on corrected time.
Tonnerre de Breskens look set to claim the IRC Zero win tonight and may depose Artemis Ocean Racing at the top of the IRC leader board in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.