22 August, 2006 1:14:00 PM BST | Racetime 14:19:14:00
There are just three yachts left to finish in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race with Simon Harwood's Prima 38, Talisman, within sight of the eastern approaches to the Solent with just 61 miles left to go to the Royal Yacht Squadron line. Penny Pariso's Murray 41, Predator of Wight, is just off the Dover Straits with 115 miles left to run whilst bringing up the rear is Kieran Jameson's gutsy crew on the Sigma 38, Changeling, who have the small matter of 140 miles to reach the finish line. Conditions have gone desperately light for the remaining teams who are struggling against the tricky tidal gates of the South Coast praying for the wind to fill in to get them home.
Monday was a busy day for the race organisers with no fewer than five boats finishing at varying times of the day and night. First across the finish line was Phil Sharp's Pogo 40, needasponsor.co.uk who came out of a very dark morning to cross the line at 0341. Just behind was the hard-driving Puma Logic of Phillippe Falle who finished at 0403 whilst the Mostly Harmless, Prima 38 team of Tom Hayhoe waited until dawn to finally get across the line at 0715. A small gap developed as the tide turned on the Jaguar Logic team of Pete Summers who eventually came home in the late afternoon at 1715 whilst for the "Gourmet Chefs" aboard Clem Jones's Jeu'dEsprit there was time for one final exquisite supper before they managed to squeak home just before midnight at 2348.
The remaining yachts are expected to finish either late tonight or early on Wednesday morning with the weather looking like producing afternoon sea breezes to replace the mill pond-like conditions they are currently experiencing.
As the race comes to its conclusion the RORC will continue to bring daily updates and position reports from the boats highlighting the highs and lows of this premier coastal yacht race. All yachts competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race have been fitted with a tracking device developed by the RORC in conjunction with OC Technology. Yacht positions will be updated hourly and can be followed on the Royal Ocean Racing Club's dedicated micro site accessed via www.rorc.org
Quotes from the boats
News from the Sailing Logic Boats - Allie Smith, Director Sailing Logic:
They called me this afternoon to say that they had so much wind that they had to set the trysail, hence their erratic course past Dungeness. The Logic yachts have Quantum mainsails that have two reefs, with the second reef being a very deep one. As far as I am aware, this is only the third time in the yacht's 7 year history that this sail has been used, what an amazing adventure this race has been for everyone. The crew are now very tired, and just willing the yacht across the line. It's also amazing to think that they have been a full 7 days at sea longer than Jonny and the boys of Artemis, a pretty awesome feat on a stripped out 38 footer, not the most comfortable of surroundings for 8 people for a fortnight.
Update from the Gourmet Sailing - Jeu'dEsprit Team:
Sun 11am: Unless we get very, very unlucky and miss the tidal gates at Dover, we're now looking at an ETA sometime tomorrow morning or lunchtime but we're not counting any chickens just yet so the milk and biscuit rationing continues but it looks like we'll avoid having to resort to spam... I thought it would be nice to try and get a sentence or two from everyone for what will probably be our last progress report - they're all being very coy so far but I'll get there eventually.
A-Watch (otherwise known as the A-team):
JK's quote of the day, as he's happily helming with the boat heeled over to about 45 degrees and the lower guard rail quite often underwater never mind the gunwhales: 'a couple of weeks of this adjusts your comfort zone, doesn't it?!' This is the man that was quoting Fungus the Bogeyman jokes at 3am this morning.
Kathy is very happy that the day before yesterday's sweet and sour chicken has now washed off her boots.
Ed (Starboard watch leader)
Well having spoken to several outstanding yachtsmen and women that had participated in previous RB&I races prior to our start, I certainly hadn't expected to beat around the entire course or be becalmed so far north. Apart from the first 12 hours that allowed us to hoist our medium kite shortly after leaving the Solent and clock up 99.5 nm, we only briefly managed to sail off the wind in the cyclonic breeze we experienced up at Muckle Flugga (in lay terms this meant we had no wind in varying directions). Off Rona Is. we sat for a couple of watches whilst we heard weather reports of Force 6 tothe East, West and North of us when we would've been glad of 6 kts. The jury repair to our wheel is just about holding together albeit it's been groaning a bit in the short choppy waves that are typical of the North Sea. Missed the tidal gate for Dover due to a delay at Harwich, so that'll be another 6 hours punching the tide - so frustrating. I now want to be finished as I've had freezer bags over my feet since the west coast of Ireland as well as a wet crotch due to my newish waterproof trousers having come unstitched and internal tapes are letting water in and filling my boots up! The helming position is almost as wet as the bow, only every wave finds its way back to dump on me!! I guess the wind will follow us around to ensure we get another beat to windward from Dover to Cowes! Well this race is as much about endurance for the boat as it is for the crew and their relationships - both have certainly been tested over the past 2 weeks... but we're almost home and have no intention of retiring just yet.
Peter (when wet, cold and tired off Muckle Flugga): 'why did I say I'd do this?!'
Clem (skipper): it's been an interesting challenge for the people and the boat - bringing together an amateur crew for something like this is a social challenge as well. We've raced together for a season but it's surprisingly difficult to organise availability for training and racing when people work and that affects how the watches work together.
Fiona: it's been both better and worse than I expected - I've surprised myself how much it's meant circumnavigating my own country - the shipping forecast will never be the same again now I've sailed through most of the sea areas and can remember what they were like and little things like just hearing all the different coastguards really made it sink in what we were doing - apart from the West Coast of Ireland and bits of the Highlands and Islands we've hardly seen any of the coast and apart from the temperature and day length changes there's been only sea and sky and the odd other boat for two weeks oh and the oil rigs! 16:30 pm: just after lunch today we had considerable consternation for a while when we realised that the forepeak was full of water and it was starting to seep through the bulkhead into the forward heads... My watch had a bit of a bath on the foredeck in the morning and the helms complained about the heavy steering but no-one twigged until Kathy went forward about 1.30. It was action stations for a while, mooching about opposite Harwich with half the on-watch pumping and baling to clear the forepeak and the rest of us sat at the back to keep the weight aft, then the engineering detail (Peter, Richard and Clem) sorted out a jury-rigged pump to keep clearing it to get us home. All dry-bags have been co-opted to help fill the forepeak with flotation devices and now we're sailing again and still hoping to cross the finish line sometime tomorrow!!
Hans: Not finished yet - but we can smell the Solent, if only in our reveries. The B Team laughs a lot, usually orchestrated by Barney, our talisman. I don't know about the A Watch - too busy sleeping to eavesdrop. We must be doing something right, though; even with my Chartwizard hat on, I can't see any difference in watch performances. We're an harmonious bunch and will no doubt be raring to go again as soon as you can say "a two thousand mile beat". I miss my family and I miss my bed; and I'm truly grateful to Clem that I didn't miss this.
Pippa: Its been an interesting 2 weeks, never thought we would be beating all the way round, the shorts and t-shirts havent had much of an airing! Apart from that it's a good experience, and weve found that as the B team the humour is always flowing regardless of what were doing!! However we are not home yet, just got the last 10% to do, and I am looking forward to getting out of my wet thermals and oilies!
Jakki: After spending a third of my married life at sea (on this race) I better get home before I am in trouble for having too much fun. The B Team have been excellent, full of antics and have never ceased to stop smiling despite what this race has thrown at us - usually someone else's wet socks. Can someone let Jaguar Logic now we have be doing our best to catch them up with some toilet rolls but unfortunately failed - sorry guys.
Voice Message report from SYDNEY
Received Sunday 20th August 2006 at 3pm
We are not far from Ramsgate and about 5 miles behind Jaguar Logic. Everyone is completely cream-crackered but we are still at it. We have been out of contact for the last 4 days as we have no email or anything like that on board. We have seen a lot of wildlife and almost hit a 30ft whale which crossed just ahead of us. The highlight was one night when we were visited by 5/6 dolphins which stayed with us for about 15/20 minutes coming along side like torpedoes in the fluorescence That was pretty cool.It has been pretty exciting match racing with Jaguar Logic team including bartering 20 litres orange juice for one of their female crew members. We opened a 12 year old bottle of Glenfiddich on leaving Scottish waters. Later on we had an exciting visit from 3 Norwegians in a RIB wearing building site hats - just checking that we were not too close to one of their oil rigs. Yesterday it rained so heavily it flattened the sea seriously heavy rain. Minor damage to the sails so we will need to nurse her home. We have a rip in the No. 1 which we have patched up sufficiently in case we need to use it on the final approaches if the weather is light. Strange though it may seem we have got no spinnaker damage. We have got too much bottled water which we are using to flush the loo. The cappuccino machine is on the blink. We have 5 x 3-course dinners left. Paul Murphy is proudly wearing the same shirt he started in and hasnt shaved I think he will have one before he sees his wife. Spirits are good and the boat is holding together. We are sailing along with 2 reefs and a no. 3 and hot on the tail of Jaguar Logic. We are not going to give up until we cross the line - hopefully in front of Jaguar Logic. That's it from the Sydney crew and hopefully will see you guys tomorrow.