Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland : Test of Endurance

Franck Cammas won the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland in Groupama 70. Image copyright Anne Hinton, all rights reserved.

by RORC media

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) to participate in the non-stop race.
Known as the ultimate test of endurance, the 1802nm race, starting on Sunday 10th August from Cowes, takes competitors non-stop around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland including the most northerly point, the island and lighthouse of Muckle Flugga.

The motivation for the teams taking part may vary, but the ultimate aim is the same. To race well and to get round the course using the determination and tenacity this endurance race demands from competitors.

Bank von Bremen in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Image copyright Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Bremen's Challenge
One such team competing from Germany is the JV 53, Bank von Bremen, entered by Club SKWB (Segelkameradschaft das Wappen von Bremen) who will have a highly experienced offshore crew on board.

"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," says Skipper, Carol Smolawa.

Bank von Bremen's 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, 6 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."

Bank von Bremen's crew at the end of the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race. Image copyright Robert Rohde 

Records to Break

The VO70 Groupama 70 not only won the race in 2010, but set a new record. Image copyright Patrick Eden/RORC

After a fast and furious race for some in the 2010 edition, new world records were established. Completing the course in 5 days 21 hours 26 minutes 55 seconds, Franck Cammas and the French crew on the Volvo Open 70, Groupama 70 smashed the monohull world and RORC record. This year, three VO 65s: Azzam, Dongfeng and Team SCA, will all race each other for the first time and use the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as essential training for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

The VO65 Team SCA will compete in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014. Image copyright Team SCA.

Another world record breaker in the last race, Britain's Ned Collier-Wakefield is hoping to hang onto the 40ft category record for sailing around Britain and Ireland in his Class40, 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.

Sidney Gavignet will compete in the 2014 race on board the Oman Air Musandam MOD70. Image copyright Jacques Vapillon/Sea&Co.

Also making up a strong international field of top offshore racing teams will be Sidney Gavignet who has numerous offshore miles under his belt. The French Volvo Ocean Race and Transat Jacques Vabre veteran turned multihull sailor, will represent Oman with the MOD 70 trimaran, Oman Air Musandam. The race is part of Oman Sail Elite Sailing Squad Programme, following on from the Artemis Challenge at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
Further information and race entries can be found at:


The Race:
There have been seven editions of the RORC Round Britain and Ireland Race which started in 1976. Sevenstar sponsored the race in 2006 and 2010 and has committed to a longterm partnership with the RORC. The 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is a fully crewed non-stop race covering 1802 nautical miles and is open to IRC, IMOCA 60s, Class40s, Volvo 65s and Multihulls that will race around Britain and Ireland, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes on the Isle of Wight starting after Cowes Week on Sunday 10th August 2014.

2010 IRC Overall Winner and IMOCA 60 Record: GBR100 Artemis Ocean Racing, Jonny Malbon, 2010: 6 days 10:32:27
2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Records: 
World Record * Groupama, Franck Cammas, 2010: 5 days 21:26:55 * ratified by the WSSRC
RORC Record: Groupama, Franck Cammas, 2010: 5 days 21:26:55
Class 40 Record: GBR 93 Concise 2, Ned Collier Wakefield, 2010: 9 days 13:32:20  

Website: Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race home page: