Battle in the Celtic Sea
The cold front that brought tough conditions to the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race have now passed, with the fleet enjoying bright sunshine yesterday and a relatively calm second night at sea. However, the intensity on the race course has been ratcheted up with wind shifts providing opportunities to make gains and losses throughout the fleet. Looking further ahead, 25-30 knots of wind and a significant sea state are expected to affect the fleet in the Celtic Sea and on the West Coast of Ireland.
The tactical battle in the Celtic Sea is raging in the Class40s with 50 miles of separation of position from east to west. Phil Sharp's Imerys Clean Energy made the first move after passing the Scilly Isles, breaking away from the leading pack by tacking west in the early hours of the morning. Phor-ty skippered by Sam Goodchild is currently leading after taking the decision to be the first of the pack to tack north at dawn this morning. To weather of Phor-ty, Phil Sharp's Imerys is two miles ahead of Nicolas Troussel's Corum. Charles-louis Mourruau's Colombre XL (The Lost Boys) has taken a different option, tacking east of the fleet after the Scilly Isles.
After an impressive start, Guillaume Le Brec's Class40 Oman Sail reported a broken backstay on day two and has retired from the race. All crew are safe and well.
Ben Schwartz & Chen Jin Hao's Figaro 2 El Velosolex SL Energies Group is leading IRC Two-Handed on the water and after time correction. The Chinese and French sailors became friends as part of the Dongfeng Race Team, winning the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. Their Figaro 2 is the smallest yacht in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Ben Schwartz contacted the media team on Monday 13 August:
“Twelve knots and sunshine, the mood is good on board and we are trying to dry out from the very wet conditions at the start. British Soldier (Army Sailing Association) is our immediate competitor, which is sailing very well; as soon as there is a bit of pressure they are faster than us, but we are trying to match them for speed. Right now we have good conditions and we can push harder, but when the strong wind arrives we will need to sail in a more secure way.”
The most southerly of the fleet is Conor Fogerty's Irish Sun Fast 3600 Bam! At 0900 BST the Two-Handed team altered course to the north. They are followed by Gavin Howe's British Sun Fast 3600 Tigris, which is also racing Two-handed. The two teams will be hoping for the wind to shift to the west as they negotiate the Celtic Sea.
In IRC Four, Charlene Howard's AJ Wanderlust has an engine problem and headed into Mylor Harbour near Falmouth and hopes to rejoin the race. Charles Emmett's Sigma 36 British Beagle leads the class.
Several teams have reported sighting dolphins around the Scilly Isles. Pascal Bakker on board Junique Raymarine Sailing Team caught Common Dolphins on camera breaching in the bow of the boat.