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Before the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, a Two-Handed team had never completed the 1800-mile course. However three teams from Ireland, Britain and Germany have now accomplished that magnificent achievement. Racing Two-Handed around Britain and Ireland requires all-round skill, great seamanship and tenacity. Most of the time, the Two-Handed pair are alone on deck. Whilst a team mate sleeps, it can be a lonely existence on deck and the lack of sleep and the effects of exposure to the harshest of conditions is bound to take its toll on both yacht and sailor.
Ian Hoddle’s British Figaro II, Rare with crew Conrad Manning completed the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race just after 0900 BST on Saturday 23rd August 2014, taking Line Honours for the Two Handed Class after almost exactly 12 days at sea (elapsed time: 12 days 0 hours 18 minutes 09 seconds). No Two Handed team has ever completed the race before and with a water-line length of just 32 feet,Rare is also the smallest yacht to ever complete the race.
Ian Hoddle has been raising money for CLIC Sargent all season. The charity has been providing care for his five year old nephew James, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour last January. The plight of his young nephew, bravely fighting the disease, has been a big influence on his determination to finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.
As Ian Hoddle stepped ashore with adrenalin coursing through his veins, he was very emotional about the cause that had kept Rare on the race track:
“We had taken photos of James on the boat and the delay to the start meant we could take them up to him in the hospital, which was great. During the race we found out that he had been released from hospital and was going home, which was great to hear. When that first storm hit and started to pull bits off the boat, it got a bit scary but I was remembering why I was out there. It was a tough time. I remember being in the teeth of a gale at 4 o’clock in the morning with just the storm jib up, falling asleep on the helm, but I was continually reminding myself about James and what he was going through to keep us going. I am a bit emotional at the moment,” said Ian with the tears welling up. “Apart from one spat, myself and Conrad have become better friends than when we started and considering we have been on a 32 ft boat for 12 days, we have done well to keep each other going the whole time. We lost the autopilot days ago and we have sailed the last 900 miles hand steering the boat. It was a bloody hard race.”
Ian’s crew, Conrad Manning counts ballroom dancing and ironman competitions amongst his interests. “When people hear that I am racing on a pink boat and into ballroom dancing, they think I have completely lost my mind, which I probably have, but dancing is a great way to chill out,” commented Conrad. “I love the Viennese Waltz but the last 12 days have been more like a jive and a jitterbug and a bit of everything thrown in. I have the Welsh Ironman in about three weeks time and I’m aiming for 12 hours which is a bit shorter than 12 days!”
Ian Hoddle and Conrad Manning have raised over £6,000 for CLIC Sargent. If you would like to donate to their cause:https://www.justgiving.com/Rare/