Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Summary…

Conrad Manning Racing_RBIFinish
Finish of the RBI, dont think it has settled in just yet, we were just glad the short tacking up the Solent was over… Credit: Patrick Eden/RORC

Results:

  • IRC Overall: 9th
  • IRC 2: 3rd
  • IRC 2handed: 2nd!

I’m going to be honest… I was thinking of writing a whole load for the summary of what turned out to be one of the most amazing, difficult, and incredible race I have ever done, but I think the pictures and video (to come) will do more justice than my words. Besides apparently a photo is worth a 1000 words! Still, here is our take of the 1803nm race around the whole of the UK battling gales and complete calm.

Day 1: It was the second goodbye to friends and family so there was thankfully far less tears and emotion flying around. We decided to be conservative in our start and went for the reef and jib top whilst we watched the other boats fall over! It was pretty awesome watching the Volvo boats and Oman Air fly past at a rate of knots with SCA powering above us! We were about to shake a reef past the forts as we thought the wind had died down, thankfully it blew up again and we stayed safe. Other notable moments? A helicopter circling around us, epic speeds down waves and an awesome curry.

Day 2: It was a long night dodging windfarms and shallows with ~40kts of wind overtaking a boat in the process and started the battle with Scarlet Logic that would continue all the way to Shetland. Meanwhile after a brief chat with KareKare (oil tanker) the barometer started dropping to 997hPa and we decided to change down to the J4 just in time for a huge front to come through. After that left we changed it up a bit and threw up the kite for some fun!

Conrad Manning Racing_RBI
Pegging it around the east coast of the UK… Some serious mile munching to catch up with Scarlet Logic!

Day 3: Not much to say other than BLOODY WINDY (thats whats in the log literally), dolphins, and a very British chat with Vos Commander about the weather! Thankfully nothing too bad was on the horizon.

Day 4: Big news, things were starting to dry out after a wet couple of days… Much needed as there was a severe lack of clothes that weren’t soggy all the way through. With the lovely weather things could start getting tidy like reflaking the J2 and JT. After another good chat with Normand Corona at 1500 we tacked towards the top of the course (also we were closer to Norway than the UK!) It was strange being on the other board but great motivation boost as we were heading to the mark! Tonights forecast was brought to you by Maersk Forwarder.

Day 5: During the night strange winds meant that we could continue closer to the mark than forecasted. I was awoken to being flung across the bunk as Ian tacked, it took a few more tacks before I could get out of the bunk in one piece… Mukkle Fugger was beautiful, and took the time to take photos and videos (will be in the video soon). Had we thought ahead we could have chatted with more people, but did get through to a few people. 1st 2hander, 1st IRC 2, 6th Overall :S

Day 6: VOS Raasay provided us with a great forecast but how wrong he was we started to get into a storm and I daftly got my boot filled with water so a soggy boot for a while 🙁 Things started to fall off or break… Charity badge, rope bags, liferaft cover, ballast tank straw, sometimes ourselves! the windvane and seat mat were all battered by waves and wind. 22-0000 we thought it was abating so decided to continue to St Kieler. 0000-0200 S*** hit the fan… probably 50+kts of breeze and serious waves. 0200- we decided to hove to at 0338 and eventually headed to a safe haven.

Conrad Manning Racing_RBIStorm
Beginning of the storm…

Day 7: Things were predicted to get worse so headed to Lewis at 0700 after a few Zzz. Informed the coast guard of our pausing. Here we stayed for 18hrs getting itchy watching the fleet sail past but the wind just wasn’t dieing down… Oh and I went up the mast to try and repair the wand, no luck as it was completely gone.

Day 8: Restarted our assault on the RBI at 0855 under storm jib and 2 reefs as it was still blowing a howler! Slow progress though because of the tail end of the storm, and we should have put the kite up… After trying to kill Ian with a dodgy packet of food we were treated to spectacular stars!

Day 9: Felt like we were nearly home as we were close to Ireland! No autopilot means 24/7 hand steering unless you’re an engineer 😉 so Ian was surprised to hear the A2 up. Unfortunately a squall came through so had to take it down. Keeping the A4 up after the squall meant some forward progress then disaster struck. It got wrapped around the forestay so I had to do some aerial acrobatics to get it unwrapped… slightly dangerous of course! In brief, after that we had an aeroplane at 13/1400, the wind died and Ian had a bad dream?

Day 10: Had a bloody long shift this morning… Ian clearly needed the sleep. We were surrounded by millions of dolphins all day which kept us sane when the wind died. It was pretty uneventful, other than blasting downwind for an hr or so, until the evening were we set up for another force 7 which never came 🙁

Day 11: This was an awesome day… We averaged probably 10+kts for most of the day after a frustrating JT-A3-A2 sail change in 5 minutes :S Oh well… Record speed though 19.3kts (I think) with full on submarining bow! Cant really put into words the madness onboard and the joy we felt stretching our legs, and catching up Lula Belle. Oh and we met a car carrier going backwards, that was strange! Big decisions in the evening to decide which side of the TSS to go.

Day 12: Absolute mile muncher again! We managed to get from the Scillies to St Cathrines Point in one day. Not bad for a pink Figaro! Nothing really much else other than it was a lovely day, sun shining wind in the right direction for the A4. Oh and we also saw the JOG guys heading out to Cherbourg (probably)

Conrad Manning Racing_RBIMileMunch
Mile munching around the corner…

Day 12 and a bit: Getting around the edge of the IoW was a pain in the arse… Well, it was worse getting from the forts to the finish. JT-J4-J2 in 5 minutes after getting up then began short tacking up Ryde bank. Met by Adrian (Ian’s mate) in a RIB, by this time the wind has died twice. We were then surprised by friends and family in Adrian’s Rib before the finish.

Many thanks to the finish crowd that had come to meet us with champagne, photos and an ear for our stories!

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