Round Britain and Ireland Race - Varuna takes overall lead
by Trish Jenkins on 18 Aug 2014
Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 51, Varuna sailed across the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race at 12.10.32 BST on 17th August 2014. Varuna is now in first place in IRC overall, with a number of yachts still to finish. Varuna's time, corrected under IRC, puts the German yacht in an extremely strong position to win the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.
Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 51,Varuna celebrate after the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race today in Cowes, UK. Patrick Eden/RORC
'This is the first time we have participated in this race, because we normally take part in a transatlantic race from Newport to Hamburg which overlaps with this one,' commented Jens Kellinghusen.
'I am very pleased we did well and we really enjoyed the race. The islands on the west coast of Ireland are very beautiful and it is scenery that we haven't seen before. The first two days were a test of endurance for the crew and the boat, but it was no problem as we settled into a routine. Most of the team have sailed together for 12 years, so to get a good result makes me feel very happy. It is the result of having a great boat, a great designer and a great crew. We take Varuna all over the world to compete in the best races. That is our goal, success may come and we are happy when it does, but taking part is the most important thing and experiencing the best race courses with a crew that is happy together. If we have won this race, it makes me very happy for the crew as they have worked incredibly hard.'
The brutal conditions experienced by competitors near the Western Isles of Scotland have continued. Ian Hoddle's Figaro II, Rare is assumed to be seeking shelter on the Isle of Lewis. Ifan James' Stimson 42, Palpatine is now in the lee of the Isle of Lewis, heading for Stornoway. The Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier has been battling away and is 30 miles from St. Kilda, closely followed by Peter Hopps' Hanse 531, Saga and J/122, Relentless on Jellyfish, who are both 40 miles from St. Kilda, which they expect to make by sunset.
Liam Coyne, skipper of Irish First 36.7, Lula Belle sent a blog today about life on board:
'The first sign of things changing were that the waves were now against us, then the wind turned and the hard beat started to Shetland, over 100 miles upwind. Wind in 20's again today. Shackle on jib blew so we had to stop to fix that. While we were stopped we fixed the nav. lights, a bulb had blown. It broke inside so we had to fit spare set to bow. Brian (Flahive) did the change, hanging from the pulpit. Despite my best efforts, he did get dunked a couple of times so he can confirm the gauge saying the water temperature is 32c is incorrect!
'Life on board is still uncomfortable but the sailing is great. It's all the other stuff that's a nuisance; eating, sleeping etc. All our injuries have come from falls down below as the boat is rocked. As day closes, we see we have actually sailed 155 miles but only covered 110 of race course. The tide seems to be forever against us and it's not so much the two knots you lose against it, it's the 20 degrees you lose of pointing that kills you. The tides are erratic and hard to work with. Spirits are good anyway, as we hope to see Shetland.'
Jankees Lampe's Open 40, La Promesse (NED), racing Two Handed with Bart Boosman, has retired in Stornaway, as Jankees explains:
'It is with great regret that we have to retire from the race. Despite the whole village of Stornoway willing to help, we have not been able to repair the main in such a way that we can rejoin the race and, more important, pull the throttle to the level of racing.
'We'll spend today preparing the boat for her delivery back to homeport and expect to leave Stornoway early Monday morning, heading for Bishop Rock through the Irish Sea. We have noted the race in our mental log as `unfinished business' and will try to come to the start in four years. The disappointment is there, but made better with the huge portions of fresh scallops and solid Scottish breakfast we had this morning. Regards and back to channel sixteen.' - JanKees and Bart