Published: Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, started at 0900 BST Aug 11. A large crowd of spectators outside the Royal Yacht Squadron saw the fleet away.

Sevenstar Round Britain And Ireland Race Underway

28 yachts started the 1800-mile race. It was a magnificent sight with yachts flying through the surf under spinnakers. Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, has averaged 30 knots of boat speed since the start. If the MOD70 keeps that up the team will finish the course in two and a half days, smashing the course record.

Sevenstar Round Britain And Ireland Race Underway 1 

The five Volvo 65s screamed through the start line flying Code Zeros, all except Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam, skippered by Ian Walker, which started with a smaller A3. Team SCA, skippered by Sam Davies, got the best start but Azzam soon peeled to the Code Zero to fly into the lead. However, Team Dongfeng, skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, was in the lead at 1100 BST.

The IRC and Class 40 Fleet start saw Brian Thompson's IMOCA 60, Artemis - Team Endeavour, judge the line to perfection, blasting through the short chop at full power right on the gun. However, Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project showed terrific downwind speed to take up the lead. The two canting keel downwind flyers are now locked in a high speed duel averaging 20 knots of boat speed and that battle is likely to continue for the next four or five days. Just two hours into the race, Artemis - Team Endeavour is leading overall after time correction from Monster Project.

Sevenstar Round Britain And Ireland Race Underway 2

Concise 8, a Class 40 that was leading has decided to retire into Harwich. All of the crew are fine.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, in his Open 60, Grey Power has also been forced to retire after splitting the mainsail between the second and third reefs. The mast has also been damaged. Knox-Johnson is now heading for the nearest port that can take the Open 60, which is Calais in France.

Jankees Lampe’s Open 40, La Promesse, averaging over 15 knots, is leading IRC One and the Two-Handed Class and fourth in IRC Overall.

In IRC Two the fleet of five yachts are virtually neck and neck, with Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, leading the fleet by virtue of having the lowest rating in the class.

The only boat in IRC Four, Lula Belle, leads the two faster IRC Three boats, Change of Course  and Ruag White Knight 7 on the water, a fantastic start for the Two-Handed team from Ireland.