Ian Roman Photography / www.ianroman.com

Strong Round Britain line-up

Three months to go until the RORC's Seven Star Round Britain Race

Thursday May 15th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will set off 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.

The 1802 mile race starts on Sunday 10 August from Cowes, takes competitors non-stop around the coastline of Britain and Ireland including the most northerly point, Muckle Flugga.


Bremen's Challenge

One team competing from Germany is the J-V 53 Bank von Bremen, entered by Segelkameradschaft das Wappen von Bremen club which will be fielding a highly experienced offshore crew.

Skipper Carol Smolawa explains: "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."

Their 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 2010, new race records were established. Completing the course in 5 days 21 hours 26 minutes 55 seconds, Franck Cammas and the French crew on the VO70 Groupama 70 smashed the outright monohull course record as well as the race record. This year, three of the new generation VO65 one designs are competing in one of their rare events the Volvo Ocean Race organisers permit their boats to compete in prior to the start of the round the world race in October: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam, Dongfeng and Team SCA, will race each other for the first time as they use the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as essential training for the Volvo Ocean Race.

Another record holder from the last race taking part is Britain's Ned Collier-Wakefield, who is hoping to hang onto the 40ft class record. He will be campaigning his Class40, a Ker-designed Forty(1)Design, 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 Frenchman, Sidney Gavignet, who will represent Oman with the MOD 70 trimaran, Oman Sail-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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