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Round Britain and Ireland Race - The ultimate test of endurance

by RORC on 15 May 2014
Bank von Bremen in the Rolex Fastnet Race Rolex
The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will set sail in less than three months and the RORC's toughest offshore race of the year has attracted 20 yachts from 11 nations: (China, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, USA, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Oman, Russia, Germany and the UK) to participate in the non-stop race.

Known as the ultimate test of endurance, the 1802nm race, starting on Sunday 10th August from Cowes, takes competitors non-stop around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga.

The motivation for the teams taking part may vary, but the ultimate aim is the same. To race well and to get round the course using the determination and tenacity this endurance race demands from competitors.

One such team competing from Germany is the JV 53, Bank von Bremen, entered by Club SKWB (Segelkameradschaft das Wappen von Bremen) who will have a highly experienced offshore crew on board.

'The motivation to join this challenging race is simple: it is the RORC's toughest race of the year, racing over 1,800 miles near the coast with tricky tidal streams, a range of weather conditions and good competition. Challenging offshore sailing like this has always been a speciality of our Club SKWB,' says Skipper, Carol Smolawa.

Bank von Bremen's campaign is well under way, with the first crew meetings under their belt to sort out the distribution of roles and responsibilities for the race. The Club's team will be training throughout the summer in the build up to the start in August.

'All crew members are experienced sailors who have competed in a variety of offshore races,' continues Smolawa. 'The combined crew experience includes 16 Atlantic crossings, six Fastnet races, one America`s Cup and a number of World and European Championships. The youngest crew member is 23 and the team will include one female sailor, Melanie Aalburg. However, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will be something special for all of us and we are very much looking forward to competing.'


After a fast and furious race for some in the 2010 edition, new world records were established. Completing the course in five days 21 hours 26 minutes 55 seconds, Franck Cammas and the French crew on the Volvo Open 70, Groupama 70 smashed the monohull world and RORC record. This year, three VO 65s: Azzam, Dongfeng and Team SCA, will all race each other for the first time and use the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as essential training for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

Another world record breaker in the last race, Britain's Ned Collier-Wakefield is hoping to hang onto the 40ft category record for sailing around Britain and Ireland in his Class40, Concise 8. He will have several other Class40s to contend with, including the French Voiles 44 and after this race his sight will be set on the World Championships and singlehanded Route du Rhum.


Also making up a strong international field of top offshore racing teams will be Sidney Gavignet who has numerous offshore miles under his belt. The French Volvo Ocean Race and Transat Jacques Vabre veteran turned multihull sailor, will represent Oman with the MOD 70 trimaran, OmanSail-Musandam. The race is part of Oman Sail Elite Sailing Squad Programme, following on from the Artemis Challenge at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
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