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2014 Press Releases

Swish Celebrate. L-R Paul Pegg, Nick Legatt, Roderick Knowles and Ian Munslow. Photo: Patrick Eden

Swish Smash 5th World Record in Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

Day 10 AM Update BST 0900

Swish, skippered by Canadian Roderick Knowles, crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 04.06.49 BST on Wednesday 20th August 2014 with an elapsed time of 8 days, 19 hours, 06 minutes and 49 seconds. Subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council, this breaks the previous World Record for Monohulls 40 feet and less, set by Concise 2 in 2010, by over 18 hours.

This will be the fifth World Record broken during the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Celebrating dockside with his crew, Roderick Knowles spoke about the record breaking 1800 mile lap around the British Isles and Ireland.

"We knew that we were the only Class40 left in the race and from that moment on, our only goal was to finish the race. So to break the record is just fantastic. Right out of the blocks we had tough conditions and it was painful, several competitors set off at full speed with masthead kites but we were more cautious, up until we got to about half way up the coast of Scotland we had 30 knots of wind most of the time. It was quite a pleasant reach around Muckle Flugga but the toughest conditions were on the approach to St.Kilda, we hoved to for a few minutes and put the storm sails on.

"I have a very small number of miles compared to the crew, so for me it was an enormous learning experience. Nick (Legatt) as navigator, was excellent and I have learnt so much from his seamanship. But when it comes down to it, it was just four blokes, the youngest is 40, so we didn't argue about anything or take anything personally. The atmosphere was very relaxed on board and I didn't hear an ill-word all trip. It is incredible and really cool that we beat the world record by over 18 hours, I have never held a world record before."

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NEWSFLASH: World Record for Class40 - Swish

Swish, skippered by Roderick Knowles, crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 04.06.49 BST on Wednesday 20th August 2014 with an elapsed time of 8 days, 19 hours, 06 minutes and 49 seconds.

This breaks the previous World Record, for Monohulls 40 feet and less, set by Concise 2 in 2010, by over 18 hours. Swish's record is subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.


This is the fifth World Record broken during the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

Swish on Record Pace: Day Nine AM Update

Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive racing First 36.7, Lula Belle. Photo: RORC/Rick Tomlinson rick-tomlinson.comAt 0800 BST on Tuesday 19th August nine yachts were still racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Ifan James, skipper of Stimpson 42 Palpatine, contacted the Royal Ocean Racing Club yesterday to retire from the race with all crew well. Palpatine left the Isle of Lewis in the early hours of Tuesday morning and is currently passing the Isle of Skye, east of the Outer Hebrides. A scenic sail past the stunning lochs of the West Coast of Scotland in good weather and dry clothes will be a dream compared to the rough conditions experienced over the last few days.

Roderick Knowles' Class40, Swish, rounded The Lizard just before dawn this morning. They are 150 miles from the finish and speeding along at over 8 knots, well inside world record pace for a yacht of 40ft or less. Swish is expected to finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in the early hours of Wednesday morning (20th August).

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Test of Endurance

Roderick Knowles' Class40, Swish, on course to break 40ft record. Credit: RORC/Rick Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com

Day Eight: AM Update

Ten yachts are still racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race although the next yacht to finish the gruelling 1800 mile race is not expected until tomorrow evening. Over the last 24 hours a low pressure system that arrived from the north west is bringing gale force headwinds that are hampering the progress of the fleet north of the Irish coast.

Roderick Knowles' Class40, Swish, is in the Celtic Sea, 340 miles from the finish and is expected around midnight tomorrow (Tuesday). At their current pace, Swish is almost 24 hours inside the world record for yachts of 40ft or less.

Roderick Knowles sent this message back to the RORC Media Team. "The instruments are playing up so we have no wind readings and we have blown out our gennaker. The good news is we have fixed our fractional kite. All is well, but we are very wet and it has been a tough couple of days, especially on Saturday when we had three reefs in, but now on full main and with that record on our minds, we are pushing when we can!"

Katrin Hilbert's Custom JV52, Hapsa Hamburg, is currently halfway across the Celtic Sea and 300 miles from the finish. Carol Smolawa's JV53, Bank von Bremen, was making good progress this morning having passed Slea Head and making good progress along the stunning coastline, south west of the Ring of Kerry, with 430 miles still to complete.

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Varuna Takes Overall Lead

Jens Kellinghusen and his crew of Varuna celebrating at the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - photo RORC/Patrick Eden

Day Seven: PM Update

Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 51, Varuna crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race at 12.10.32 BST on 17th August 2014. Varuna is now in first place in IRC overall, with a number of yachts still to finish. Varuna's time, corrected under IRC, puts the German yacht in an extremely strong position to win the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

"This is the first time we have participated in this race, because we normally take part in a transatlantic race from Newport to Hamburg which overlaps with this one," commented Jens Kellinghusen.

"I am very please we did well and we really enjoyed the race. The islands on the west coast of Ireland are very beautiful and it is scenery that we haven't seen before. The first two days were a test of endurance for the crew and the boat, but it was no problem as we settled into a routine. Most of the team have sailed together for 12 years, so to get a good result makes me feel very happy. It is the result of having a great boat, a great designer and a great crew. We take Varuna all over the world to compete in the best races. That is our goal, success may come and we are happy when it does, but taking part is the most important thing and experiencing the best race courses with a crew that is happy together. If we have won this race, it makes me very happy for the crew as they have worked incredibly hard."

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