Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is undoubtedly one of the toughest yacht races in the world. While other ocean races are longer, racing 1,800 miles around a coastline notorious for highly changeable weather and wicked tides and currents, puts the race amongst the most difficult to complete, let alone win. The 2014 entries include an amazing variety of yachts and sailors; exceptional people who come together as a team to attempt to climb one of offshore racing's biggest mountains.
2014 Press Releases
The fleet will set off down the Solent to the east and turn west around the south side of the Isle of Wight. After that the course is simple: leave Ireland and Great Britain to starboard all the way to the northern tip of the Shetland Isles, a point known as Outer Stack just north of Muckle Flugga, then return down the eastern side of the UK back to where the race started in Cowes, a non-stop 1800 mile race. The fastest yachts may complete the course in under a week. For the slower yachts, nearly two weeks is more likely.
In the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, Damian Foxall was watch leader on Volvo 70, Groupama. Taking Line Honours and setting a race record of 5 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes and 55 seconds, the Volvo 70 went on to win the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race with Foxall achieving cult status in his native Ireland.
For the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland, Foxall is back, as watch leader on MOD 70, Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet with three crew from the elite squad of sailors from the Sultanate of Oman.
"This race is an absolute classic," commented Damian Foxall. "Like the round the world races, the Route du Rhum, this is one of them. When Groupama was getting ready for the last Volvo Ocean Race, this was one of the best things we did; a real test. We always talk about the first leg winner of the Volvo but maybe it's now the Round Britain and Ireland Race, maybe this is the one to look at?
Known as the ultimate test of endurance, the 1802nm course, starting on Sunday 10th August from Cowes, takes competitors non-stop around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga.
The motivation for the teams taking part may vary, but the ultimate aim is the same. To race well and to get round the course using the determination and tenacity this endurance race demands from competitors.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - First Entry in the Non-Stop 1802nm Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014
Online entry for The Royal Ocean Racing Club's 2014 season is now open and Ian Walker's Volvo Ocean 65 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing was quick off the mark to confirm its participation with Azzam (Determination) in the RORC's toughest race of the year - The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.
The 1802nm course, starting on Sunday 10th August, is the ultimate test of endurance for sailors and has been supported by leading Dutch specialist yacht transport company Sevenstar since 2006. Starting and finishing in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the race takes competitors non-stop around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland. Memorable landmarks include the most northerly lighthouse - Muckle Flugga, a small rocky island north of Unst in the Shetland Islands, Scotland.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing First to Sign Up
Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker will skipper the Volvo Ocean 65, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race prior to their second successive Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015:
"This will be my first Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and I can't wait to take part in our new Volvo 65. It will be an excellent training run just before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in October. Racing is always more demanding closer to land with headlands, tidal issues, wind effects and all the resulting sail changes. This will be a tough test for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing at just the right time," comments Skipper, Ian Walker.
The organisers of Volvo Ocean Race confirmed that the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is part of their pre-race programme. This will give all teams the chance to compete for the first time against each other, offering valuable crew training and boat preparation before the start of their round the world race from Alicante, Spain in October 2014.