Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - A real test of endurance!
by Jonathan Edwards on 10 Aug 2014
Organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will start at noon Sunday 10th August from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, Cowes, Isle of Wight.
Musandam-Oman Sail Jacques Vapillon © www.vapillon.com
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.
This race is widely regarded as one of the toughest sailing races around.
In fact five teams which have entered the up and coming Volvo around the world race are using it as a test run.
There are close to 200 competitors taking part of which nearly 50% are British.
The weather conditions for the race have been the main topic of conversation and it looks like it will be a 'ballistic' start to the race.
Winds could blow up to as much as 30 knots with gusts even higher.
The RORC held the first race in 1976 and since then it has established itself as a global sporting event. This year yachts flying the flags of 11 nations will be taking part: China, France, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Ireland, Oman, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.
'This race is another step up from the offshore races organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The course is three times longer than the Rolex Fastnet Race and it takes the competitors through a myriad of different conditions. Crews will have to cope with a huge number of elements and that is what makes this race so compelling,' commented RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen.
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.
MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail is hot favourite to be the first yacht to complete the course. Co-skippers Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and Damian Foxall (IRL) have put together a MOD70 crew selected from Oman Sail's elite squad of sailors, plus well-known South African Volvo and America's Cup sailor Jan Dekker - half of the crew will be Omani for the first time ever.
Sidney Gavignet knows the course well having set the Round Britain and Ireland non-stop singlehanded record in the 105ft Trimaran, Oman Air Majan, in 2010 with a time of four days, 15 hours, nine minutes and 27 seconds.
However, the outright record for the course will be a tough one to better. In 2011 Loïck Peyron's Banque Populaire 5 completed the course in three days, three hours, 49 minutes and 14 seconds, at an astonishing average speed of 23.38 knots!