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2014 Press Releases

Record Pace at Muckle Flugga

Sidney Gavignet's MOD 70, Musandam - Oman Sail on Record Pace. Photo: RORC/Rick Tomlinson rick-tomlinson.comDay Two: AM Update

At their current ballistic pace, Musandam - Oman Sail's estimated finish will be at 10:24 BST, Thursday 14th August. The MOD 70, skippered by Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, is two hours inside the course record set by Banque Populaire 5 in 2011 of 3 days 3 hours, 49 minutes, 14 seconds.

Sidney Gavignet contacted the RORC Media team at 1000 this morning, just 100 miles from the top of the course, having raced approx. 600 miles in 24 hours.

"Right now the wind speed is 20 knots from 230 degrees, Jan Dekker is at the helm and the boat speed is 30 knots," commented Sidney Gavignet. "We blew out our old J1 yesterday, so we have to be very careful with our J2. Record or no record, we try to be gentle with this lady but she is strong. This morning I can see that the crew are starting to get a bit tired but they are doing fine. Sami (Al Shukaili) and Yassir (Al Rahbi) are having an amazing experience and even Jan Dekker says that it is a long time since he has experienced such a high speed for so long. Last night, the sea state was a bit rough so we had to slow down but the night is short at this time of the year and there was a big moon. The night made me reminisce about my last race around the course alone."

Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project, powers through a wave. Photo: RORC/Rick Tomlinson rick-tomlinson.comWith the fast reaching conditions experienced so far, the battle for the overall win for the 20 yachts racing under IRC is looking like it will favour the light displacement carbon fibre flyers. Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project, has been in pole position since the last update and remains so. Monster Project gybed offshore shortly before sunset yesterday to open up a 40 mile lead on the water from Brian Thompson's IMOCA 60, Artemis-Team Endeavour.

Monster Project has been having a tremendous battle with Volvo Ocean 65 Team SCA. Team SCA gybed offshore yesterday at 1630 BST past the entrance to the Thames Estuary but the move didn't pay off. By Lowestoft, Monster Project had pulled out a 30 mile lead on the all-female team. However, Team SCA fought back taking on Monster Project in an all-night gybing duel and by 0800 BST Team SCA was 3 miles ahead of Monster Project.

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NEWSFLASH: Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Day One Retirements

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson's Open 60, Grey Power has retired from the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race that started this morning from Cowes at 0900.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has been forced to retire from the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race after splitting the mainsail between second and third reefs on his yacht, Grey Power. The mast has also been damaged. Sir Robin and his crew member Simon Clay are now heading for the nearest port which can take the Open 60 which is Calais in France. The race started this morning off the Isle of Wight after being postponed due to bad weather yesterday. Sir Robin said he had had a great sail otherwise and had hit 21 knots, but repairs will take a couple of days so carrying on was not possible. Sir Robin spoke to race organisers RORC at 1830 BST to inform them of his retirement.

At 1925 Concise 8 also phoned the Race Committee to inform them that they would be retiring into Harwich. All of the crew are fine.

At 19:30 the following statement was received from Conrad Humphreys and his crew; "The crew on board Cat® Phone Class 40 are experiencing issues with the lower section of the mainsail track coming away from the mast and are heading for shelter from the strong winds from Hurricane Bertha. The crew are OK and focused on trying to see if they can resolve and resume racing. More news later."

Tough Night in North Sea Expected

The Ladies on Volvo 65, SCA. Photo: RORC/Rick TomlinsonDay 1: PM Update

MOD 70 Musandam - Oman Sail, skippered by Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, is now over 40 miles ahead of the Volvo 65 fleet and has averaged an astonishing 27 knots since the start. At that speed, Musandam - Oman Sail will finish the race in 2 days and 18 hours, smashing the race and course record.

The leading monohulls are a trio of Volvo 65s: Team Campos (ESP), skippered by Iker Martinez, holds a slender lead from Azzam (UAE), skippered by Britain's Ian Walker and Dongfeng (CHI), skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier.

The race leader overall under IRC is Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project, having pulled out an 8 mile advantage on the water from Brian Thompson's IMOCA 60, Artemis - Team Endeavour. Brian Thompson contacted the race team at 1230 BST this afternoon; the Vendée Globe winner and solo round the world expert is not prone to exaggeration.

"Blasting past Beachy Head in sight of all the Volvos, Monster Project is just ahead. Musandam-Oman Sail was quite a sight blasting past us. We were happy to be first boat through the Forts and out of the Solent. Lots of water on deck - so much that two of our life jackets self inflated!"

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Volvo Ocean 65s neck and neck in Solent

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo 65, Azzam. Photo: RORC/Paul Wyeth pwpictures.comCOWES, England - Five Volvo Ocean Race boats are currently neck and neck in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race, which began at 0900 this morning.

Our fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s is leading the monohulls as they exit the English Channel. Currently in front is the Spanish team - whose title sponsor has yet to be announced - skippered by Iker Martínez, and Charles Caudrelier's Dongfeng Race Team are a close runner-up. In third place, Ian Walker's Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are pushing the front two hard, and being pursued by the all-female Team SCA. Rhode Island's Team Alvimedica, skippered by Charlie Enright, currently find themselves some way behind their rivals in fifth position.

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Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race: Speed and Power Combine for Epic Start

Musandam-Oman Sail starts the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Photo: Rick Tomlinson rick-tomlinson.comDay 1: AM Update

The 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, started at 0900 BST August 11.

All 28 yachts are now heading east along the Solent having now started the 1800 mile race around Britain and Ireland. A large crowd of spectators outside the Royal Yacht Squadron saw the fleet away. In bright sunshine, with a stiff southwesterly wind and a significant positive tide, it was a magnificent start with yachts flying through the surf under spinnakers.

At 1130 BST, all of the fleet are now past Selsey Bill, experiencing over 30 knots of breeze as they reach at top speed along the south coast of England. Musandam-OmanSail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, has averaged 30 knots of boat speed since the start. If the MOD70 keeps that up the team will finish the course in two and a half days, smashing the course record.

"We could be very close to the record but I am not sure at this stage that we will break it," commented Sidney Gavignet. "The computer says we can, but the reality is that the sea state will probably slow us down a bit - and we will still have 40 knots overnight, so for this we don't want to rush as the quicker we go the more wind we will have."

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