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Two-Handed Division Opened Up for Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

Yachts in the Solent after the start of the 2006 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland RaceThe Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) announced today the introduction of a Two-Handed Division in the non-stop race around Britain and Ireland, sponsored by Sevenstar starting on Monday 23rd August from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.

RORC Racing Manager Ian Loffhagen commented: "We have been receiving a lot of interest and enquiries from competitors who wanted to race double handed in this non-stop challenge, so have made the decision to open it up to enable them to race alongside the fully crewed boats. They will race for the Rebel Maid Trophy."

"Originally we did not have a Two–Handed Division in the race out of deference to the Royal Western Yacht Club's two handed (stopping) Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race. However when they reached their entry limit the RWYC kindly told us that they were happy for us to open our race to two handed boats."

"The Sevenstar RBI will be the most challenging race of the RORC season for the two handed fleet and we are hoping that it will appeal to the Class 40 fleet in particular. However because of the timing of this announcement the race will not be part of the Season's Points Championship for the Two–Handed Division. It is a stand alone challenge and it will be a big one at that!"

The first boat to enter the Two-Handed Division is Michel Lebrun's IMOCA 60, An Ocean of Smiles.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland non-stop race covers 1760 miles and is also open to IRC, IMOCA 60s, Class40 and multihulls. It has attracted a highly competitive and international fleet ranging from Volvo Open 70s to Mike Slade's 100ft Leopard 3 and seasoned RORC racers. The yachts will race clockwise around Britain and Ireland, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line and a Race Village will be set up in Cowes Yacht Haven. Competitors will be encouraged to join the party at the Race Village following the Rolex Commodores' Cup prizegiving celebrations on Saturday 21st August. The general public will be able to view the yachts taking part in the race and mingle with crews in the Race Village prior to the 1400 start on Monday 23rd August.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race can also be followed via the event website: http://sevenstar.rorc.org and all yachts will be fitted with a tracking device to follow the progress of the fleet. 'Armchair' sailors around the world will also have the chance to test their skills by taking part in a 'Virtual Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race' which will mirror the 1760nm race. The virtual game is free to play and is designed to be as close as possible to the real thing.

Enquiries are open for the race via the Royal Ocean Racing Club: www.rorc.org

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