Published: Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Twenty-four hours into the 1,800-mile Round Britain and Ireland Race and the pace has been fast and furious. But with speed comes the potential for damage. The North Sea delivered boat-breaking conditions last night in strong winds and steep seas forcing three competitors to retire: Grey Power, Concise 8 and Cat Phone are all ashore and in good health.

“Just got a call from the boat,” says Dongfeng Team Director, Bruno Dubois. “We’ve broken a sail, it’s split and completely unusable. Probably doesn’t make any difference in terms of sailing tactics, but not ideal. The boat is full of water in the back. One of our Chinese guys is not really in good shape.”

Round Britain And Ireland Race Continues Under Challenging ConditionsStarting from The Solent in the south, Dongfeng was parallel with Aberdeen in the north of Scotland covering 500 miles by 0900 BST on Tuesday. In the early hours of the morning the team’s front reaching sail (the Fractional Code 0) ripped, rendering it unusable forcing the team to switch to the large jib – not the optimum sail for the conditions. Also, crewmember Pascal Bidegorry required stitches to a hand wound.

Round Britain And Ireland Race Continues Under Challenging Conditions 1“We are on J1 and, for sure losing some ground against the others,” says Dongfeng Skipper Charles Caudrelier. “We are missing Pascal for the manoeuvres and with a reduced team we are a little bit slow in the transitions. We made a small mistake while sailing along the coast yesterday and we lost touch with the two leaders. Good news is team spirit is still in tact despite difficulties.”

Round Britain And Ireland Race Continues Under Challenging Conditions 2

Dongfeng Race Team is one of five Volvo Ocean 65s currently flying around Britain and Ireland at a speed of 23 knots. Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Azzam is currently in the lead ahead of Team Campos, Dongfeng and Alvimedica. Azzam has a six mile advantage over Team Campos heading towards Muckle Flugga, but the wind shadow of the Shetland Islands and the low pressure system, which is almost stationary at the top of the course, means that there could be some funky weather as the two leaders round Outstack, the rock north of Muckle Flugga tonight.

Round Britain And Ireland Race Continues Under Challenging Conditions 3 

Musandam-Oman Sail reached Out Stack, and the most northerly part of the course, just before 1500 BST Aug 12. The MOD 70, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, has about 46 hours to complete the remaining 1098 miles to set a new world record. Musandam-Oman Sail has averaged 24 knots on a screaming reach up to the top of the course and needs to average the same, or better, on the way back down.

Two yachts in IRC Two have made big gains in terms of corrected time under IRC: Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, and Ian Hoddle’s Figaro II Rare.