Six yachts are still racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and after light winds slowed their progress yesterday (Wednesday) morning, the wind picked up overnight much to the delight of the remaining competitors. British Soldier and Relentless on Jellyfish are having a tremendous battle in IRC Two and the three remaining Two-Handed teams are making great progress.
Wednesday afternoon JV 53, Bank von Bremen, skippered by Carol Smolawa and crewed by members of the SKWB (Segelkameradschaft das Wappen von Bremen), crossed the finish line of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race completing the race in under 12 days to claim third position in IRC Zero.
Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager greets Bank von Bremen with a much deserved case of beer! - Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 - Patrick Eden/RORC
'We had a bit of everything thrown at us in the race, the start was fantastic, downwind through the Solent and east out through the Straits of Dover but it was very tough up the North Sea and all the way around to St.Kilda on the west coast of Scotland,' commented Carol Smolawa. 'We had to tack against heavy winds and we were very happy when we passed the Shetlands and thought, good, we can now go downwind; but the low pressure just followed us all the time.
'I will remember the gale in the west and we had so many different situations to deal with and such high speeds. We had a daily distance of around 240 miles a day and that's incredible! The most special moment was when we had to set the storm jib. A safety warning was coming in from the Coastguard with Gale force 10 expected and we were prepared when the huge waves came crashing onto the boat. Our boat was strong and our crew made it.
Happy crew on Bank von Bremen after the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 - Patrick Eden/RORC
'Finishing the race and coming back to Cowes is such a great feeling. We made it and it was such an amazing experience. It was the first time the SKWB Club and myself, plus all the young sailors on board, have done this race. Many years ago I saw the boats preparing for the Round Britain and Ireland Race and I thought 'I will do that one day'. It was so great and such an honour to do this race.
'We wrote to our Club saying that we have 11 sets of foulweather clothing and boots for sale at the end of this race! However, in a couple of days we will have changed our minds and you might see us in four years time. The RORC is such a great organisation and thank you all for such a great race, with great moments for us.'
At 0900 BST Hanse 531, Saga, skippered by Peter Hopps, was 50 miles from the Scilly Isles having covered over 100 miles in the last 24 hours. Saga is expected to finish the race in the early hours of Saturday morning to claim first place in IRC One.
In IRC Two J/122, Relentless on Jellyfish, skippered by James George, had an excellent night. Gybing north of the rhumb line, Relentless on Jellyfish made a massive gain over the Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier. At dawn this morning, Relentless on Jellyfish was the first yacht, still racing to pass the Scilly Isles. Over the last 24 hours, Relentless on Jellyfish has gained 26 miles on their rivals to lead the six yachts still racing.
'We can see British Soldier's kite behind us for the first time and we are now in 10 knots of wind planning on how to tackle the headlands along the south coast of England,' commented James George. 'We are determined to take line honours for the class, morale is good but it's tense on board, we know we have a real fight on our hands with British Soldier. It has been one hell of a race and we want to finish on a high, we are just trying sail fast and hang on to this lead.'
The crew on British Soldier, Army Sailing Association - Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 - RORC/Paul Wyeth
British Soldier had to put an injured crewman ashore in the early part of the race. With just five on board, their watch system has had to change, resulting in far less rest and everybody on deck for every manoeuvre, regardless of watch:
'When we saw them (Relentless on Jellyfish) in front of us this morning it was a bit of a blow,' commented Phil Caswell, British Soldier's skipper. 'We were absolutely gutted but we are over that now and we have eyes on them, working as hard as possible to pass them. We know we have a quick boat downwind and we are determined.' Two-Handers up the pace
Ian Hoddle's Figaro II, Rare, have used their Code Zero to good effect covering 146 miles in the last 24 hours, more than any of the six other yachts still racing. Rare's Conrad Manning reports that the pink hull seems to be attracting a number of visitors as he explained by text message. 'More dolphins and these ones have kids too!'.
Liam Coyne, racing Two-Handed with Brian Flahive on First 36.7, Lula Belle, is making good speed across the Celtic Sea. The Irish pair are leading IRC Four and the Two-Handed Class with 360 miles to go. Werner Landwehr's Figaro II, Dessert D'Alcyone, was 35 miles from the Fastnet Rock at 0900 BST, having covered 140 miles in the last 24 hours.
Hugs on the dock for the only woman crew member on Bank von Bremen, Melanie Aalburg - Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 - Patrick Eden/RORC
Cheers on board after the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race for Bank von Bremen - Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 - Hamo Thornycroft