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Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy has taken line honours, Class40 win and a set a new world record in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Imerys Clean Energy take the gun

Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy has taken line honours in the 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in an elapsed time of 8 days 4 hours 14 minutes 49 seconds, winning the Class40 Division and setting a new world record in the race for yachts 40ft or under (subject to ratification).

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YB Tracking Imerys

Morning Update 20th August

Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy is expected to take line honours in the Sevenstar Round Britain Race later today. The British skipper's team was just 46 nautical miles from the Cowes finish line at 1100 BST Monday 20 August. Concise 8, skippered by Jack Trigger was 75 miles from the finish, but has a broken forestay. Concise 8 is continuing racing under a reduced sail plan. The RORC media team will have news, pictures and interviews after the teams cross the finish line.

In the battle for the overall win under IRC, Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra is clawing away at the lead of Benjamin Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao's Figaro El Velosolex SL Energies Group. The two handed French/Chinese team have an electrical problem which is affecting their ability to use their 'third man' - the autopilot. (Two handed teams are allowed to use an autopilot in the race). Ian Hoddle's Sun Fast 3600, Game On (Virgin Media Business) was 400 miles from the finish, leading IRC Three. Charles Emmett and Tim Winsey's Sigma 36 British Beagle is leading IRC Four.

Can Phil Sharp’s Imerys Clean Energy break the under 40ft World Record for this race and take a hattrick? To keep up-to-date with all the latest news and to follow their progress go to: http://yb.tl/rbni2018

Team ImerysTeam Imerys

Hannah Stodel at the helm of Class40 Region Normandie. Even when there's water coming at her from every direction, she's still smiling! @hannahstodelracing

52 Knots at Muckle Flugga

Seven days into the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and the majority of the fleet still racing are experiencing full-on conditions around Out Stack at Muckle Flugga. The most northerly point of the course is at the same latitude as Alaska. Hannah Stodel, skipper of Class40 Region Normandie reported: “52 knots from the south west, we are hanging on in!” Nineteen teams are still racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, sending passionate reports from the race course: http://roundbritainandireland.rorc.org/news/blogs

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Muckle Flugga in sight - www.facebook.com_philsharpracing posted on their FB page: "It's official #ImerysCleanEnergy have rounded the most northern point of the #SRBI course in 1st place © Imerys

Imerys rounds Muckle Flugga at record pace

Six days into the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the two leading Class40s have rounded Out Stack off Muckle Flugga, the most northerly part of the 1,805 nautical mile course. Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy leads the charge south. Jack Trigger's young team on Concise 8 poses the biggest threat, and Nicolas Troussel's new French Class40 Corum has retired from the race having collided with a shark. Charles-louis Mourruau's Colombre XL (The Lost Boys) moves up to third. In the race for the overall win under IRC, Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 Pata Negra is still in pole position, but Benjamin Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao's Figaro 2 El Velosolex SL Energies Group is within striking distance of the overall lead.

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Day 4 from on board Tony Lawson's Class40 Concise 8, led by Jack Trigger and the youngest crew in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race: "Awesome conditions, full on!" Ollie Mellor © Team Concise

Raging north in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

Tough conditions have continued for the fleet racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, with competitors reporting 30 knots of wind gusting to 35, with 3-4 metre waves in a confused sea state.

As the front runners reach the halfway point, the battle for line honours is raging north of the Outer Hebrides. Class40 Concise 8 skippered by Jack Trigger moved up to second place yesterday and briefly took pole position during the night. However, Phil Sharp's Imerys Clean Energy fought back to regain the lead as the team passed the remote island of Sula Sgeir. Nicolas Troussel's Corum is less than a mile behind Concise 8. Giles Redpath's Pata Negra is still the provisional overall leader after IRC time correction, but Ben Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao's Figaro 2 El Velosolex Sl Energies Group has closed the gap.

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Currently leading the IRC fleet after time correction: Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra  © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Blasting along the wild west of Ireland

Big breeze has returned to the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race; the leading teams are blasting downwind along the wild west coast of Ireland as the chasing pack round the famous Fastnet Lighthouse, cracking sheets for Mizen Head. Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy leads the fleet but still has over 1,200 miles to go to take the prize. Racing under IRC for the overall race win, Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra is the provisional leader. Ben Schwartz and Chen Jin Hao's Figaro 2 El Velosolex Sl Energies Group leads the IRC Two-Handed fleet.

Pata Negra rounded Tearaght Island last night and is blasting towards Black Rock at over 12 knots. Pata Negra's Chris Hanson contacted the media team as Pata Negra rounded the Fastnet Lighthouse:

“Things are pretty good on board now, we have been bounding around the Celtic Sea in a rather nasty chop and we have now cracked sheets at long last. It is so nice! Boat speed is up but we just found the chain locker and bow full of water, so there has been a big pumping job going on. Hopefully now the bow is on the rise.”

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A tactical battle in the Celtic Sea is raging in the Class40s between Corum, Imerys Clean Energy and Phor-ty skippered by Sam Goodchild © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

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.

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   A battle in IRC between Giles Redpath's Pata Negra and Mark Emerson's A13 Phosphorus II © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Tenacious start to Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

The international fleet are licking their wounds after a tough first night in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. The leading Class40s and IRC rated yachts have broken away from the rest of the fleet and are expected to round the Scilly Isles this afternoon. With 20 knots from the southwest forecast for the Celtic Sea it will be a long hard slog to Mizen Head on the southwest tip of Ireland. In the 11-strong Class40 fleet, Nicolas Troussel's Corum and Phil Sharp's Imerys are side by side, battling for the lead. In the IRC fleet, Giles Redpath's Pata Negra and Mark Emerson's A13 Phosphorus II are virtually tied for the lead on the water.

Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra reported breaking the bobstay connecting the end of the bowsprit to the hull. Chris Hanson, on board Pata Negra, wrote on the first night: “Got a temporary fix for it, though it does mean clipping the Code Zero on at the end of the pole. Now cooking chilli con carne to stack up on food before the winds ahead. Just around Portland Bill and hoping it shuts the door slightly to those behind. Phosphorus is on our quarter; wonder if we will see them all the way around!” 

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Phil Sharp's British Class40 Imerys Clean Energy got away to a good start in the Sevenstar Round Britain  and Ireland Race © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Rough weather predicted for Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

Twenty-eight teams with crew from 18 different countries have started the 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The cannon fire from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line signalled the start of one of the world's toughest yacht races. For the start at midday on Sunday 12th August, a cold front from the Atlantic provided pewter skies and a gusting southerly wind, accompanied by rain. Several low pressure systems are forecast to give rough weather during the 1,805 nautical mile marathon.

“It really is fantastic to see so many competitive boats on the starting line for such a tough race,” commented Wouter Verbaak from Sevenstar Yacht Transport. “Looking at the weather ahead with gale force winds forecast for the top of Scotland, good seamanship will be a big part of this race. Sevenstar is proud to sponsor this race and I would like to highlight that as part of our ethos for keeping plastics out of the oceans, there are no bow stickers for this race, instead the competitors have agreed to fly a Sevenstar flag.”

After leaving the Solent, the yachts raced close to the south side of the Isle of Wight to avoid the worst of the foul tide. For the first night, the wind is expected to strengthen and shift southwest; the 140 sailors in the fleet will be bracing themselves for a hard beat in the English Channel towards The Lizard.

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A record number of Class40s will be competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starting from the RYS line on Sunday at noon and includes Concise 8 © Rick Tomlinson

Guts and Glory

A record number of Class40s will be competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starting from the RYS line on Sunday at noon and includes Concise 8 © Rick Tomlinson

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