Thirty-two teams are ready for the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race 2022 – Sail World | Gmx Pharm

Thirty-two teams are taking part in the 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race

by Louay Habib Aug 3 7:51 AM PDT
August 7, 2022

Paul Larsen, Nick Bubb, Kevin George and Ben Schwartz will all be on board Pip Hare’s IMOCA Medallia (GBR) for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race © Richard Langdon

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The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts at 12pm on Sunday 7th August. 32 teams from around the world will compete, breaking the record for the non-stop version of the grueling 1,805 nautical mile race.

It has been organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club every four years since 1976 and has been a non-stop, unassisted race since 2006. In this modern version of the race, 78 teams have had the honor of finishing, 39 have failed.


The 2022 edition features 120 professional and Corinthian sailors from 14 different nations, including four female skippers and seven crew members under the age of 21. The overall winner will be determined using the best corrected time according to the IRC judging rule and will receive the John Illingworth Trophy. IRC classes have individual trophies.


IMOCA class

Two thwarted IMOCAs will shoot for Line Honors and the monohull 60ft or less race record set by Artemis – Team Endeavor, skippered by Brian Thompson. (2014: 5 days 14:00:54). The absolute monohull course record was set by Volvo 70 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skippered by Ian Walker (2014: 4 days 13:10:28).

Pip Hare’s IMOCA Medallia is the former Bureau Vallee third in the last Vendee Globe, sailed by Louis Burton, the boat that won the 2016 race as Banque Populaire at the hands of Armel Le Cleach. Pip Hares Medallia will have an outstanding crew: watch leader Paul Larsen with Nick Bubb and Kevin George. In 2021, Pip Hare became the 8th woman to finish the Vendée Globe in just over 90 days.

“For me, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is one of the greatest races in the world,” commented Pip Hare. “It’s challenging, it’s tactical and the weather is difficult with multiple systems, plus all these dangers and tides in the North Sea. There is absolutely everything on a fairly small course. I’m really looking forward to this race as a team. It’s new to me, but they’re all really good people to learn from and continue to develop Medallia’s performance.”

Medallia’s main competitor is Oliver Ocean Heer Racing. Swiss skipper Oliver Heer lives in Hamble UK and has a British crew: two-time Volvo Ocean Race navigator Libby Greenhalgh, Figaro sailor Patrick Hutchings and onboard reporter Patrick Condy. Originally built for Loick Peyron as the Gitana 80, the Farr design has completed four Vendée Globes. This will be Oliver Heer’s third Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race, including winning overall on Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra in 2018.


IRC two-handed

More than half of the entries will be two-handed racing. A record 17 teams in IRC Two-Handed will compete for the Rebel Maid Trophy and overall victory. Two-handed sailors come from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland and the USA. The largest two-handed beginner’s race is the Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland, refereed by Ross Hobson with Jonathan McColl.

Four Sun Fast 3300 will compete including Fastrak XII (Nigel Colley & David Bowdler) and Wild Pilgrim (Daniel Jones & Jon Tyrrell). Chilli Pepper will compete with Jim and Ellie Driver’s father-daughter team.

Two of the UK’s most accomplished sailors will compete on the Sun Fast 3300 Rockit: Six-time circumnavigator Dee Caffari is the most experienced sailor of this year’s edition and is taking part in her fifth race after setting two world records. Dee’s partner for the race will be Shirley Robertson; the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal in consecutive games. Shirley will compete in her first Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race but found success in the two-handed race with Henry Bomby in Sun Fast 3300 Swell: Line Honors and finished second overall in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race for IRC Two-Handed.

“The course is full of obstacles and challenges. He’s really challenging and that’s the appeal of the race,” commented Dee Caffari. “The first part is really good open water sailing; the fun part, but then comes the stress. You will get more tired when you reach the end of the course at Muckle Flugga. After that you come down the North Sea, dotted with oil platforms, wind farms, sandbars and shipping lanes. The pressure is really high when you’re really tired and probably a little bit frustrated. It’s no wonder everyone ends up really broken. This race is all about management on multiple levels: management of you, your teammate and the boat.”

Four Sun Fast 3600s will be racing including Gavin Howe & Maggie Adamson on Tigris. Gavin finished racing with Sam Cooper on Tigris in 2018 and talked about just over 12 days. Stephen Berry and Will Best will be driving Marco Polo for the first time and will no doubt fly the Welsh Red Dragon! Rob Craigie & Deb Fish on Bellino are one of the most experienced two-handed competitors and are rated as one of the favorites for the class. This will be Bellino’s first Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race but Rob and Deb have competed in 20 Fastnets together and won the IRC Two-Handed for the RORC Season’s Points Championship in 2017, 2019 and 2021.

A highly experienced short-handed sailor will be taking part in his first race: Nick Martin has been racing two-handed for decades, including nine Rolex Fastnet races in the discipline. Nick will contest Diablo with Scotsman Calanach Finlayson. The team leads IRC 2 in the RORC season and is runner-up in IRC Two-Handed.

“We’re really looking forward to our first challenge at this iconic race around our amazing Britain and Ireland,” commented Nick Martin. Duration is therefore a key challenge, as are the infamous seas we will encounter. I think Muckle Flugga on the northern tip of Shetlands will be a unique experience after a long leg up the Atlantic. I just hope the boat preparation and catering will benefit us.”

Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada has been one of the stars of the RORC two-handed circuit, winning the 2020 RORC Yacht of the Year and Overall Champion of the RORC Transatlantic Race. However, this will be the first Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race for Richard and his co-skipper Rupert Holmes. Jangada is the overall leader of the RORC Season’s Points Championship and must be considered one of the favorites for the race.

Sam White and Sam North will ride JPK 1080 Mzungu! The pair have been friends for over 20 years and have plenty of experience, but this is their first season in the new boat. Allegedly, the two only started racing together after a chat at a bachelorette party on Lake Garda!

Charlene Howard of USA drives Sun Odyssey 45 AJ Wanderlust Two-Handed with Robert Drummond. Charlene is believed to be the only woman to have completed the race two-handed. This year, five more women will try to win this award.

Marc Dubos from France will sail Akilaria 40 La Rochelle Nautique with Jean-Luc Schoch. Belgian Roel Ysewyn will contest the Grande Soleil 40 Gente di Mare with Tom Jonghe. From Poland Kuba Szymanski will ride the First 40.7 Polished Manx II with Adrian Kucmin and from Germany Dirk Lahmann will ride the Peterson 43 Snifix Dry with Wilhelm Demel.


Class 40 missiles

Six Class40s will compete for the Lekeitio Cup and the racing record for monohulls of 40ft or less set by Imerys Clean Energy with skipper Phil Sharp (2018: 8 days 04:14:49).

The Class40 Division sailors come from France, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and the USA. Antoine Magre’s Palanad 3 can be counted among the favorites but will face stiff resistance. Greg Leonard’s kite has Vendée Globe sailors Mike Golding and Miranda Merron on board. Tquila is managed by record-breaking Brian Thompson. Andrea Fornaro’s Italian Class 40 Influence is the latest design in the running from VPLP and Irish Pamela Lee will be on board.


Full passion – fully crewed

A wide range of boats will take part in the race with a full crew. The largest in the race is Marie Tabarly’s famous 73ft French ketch Pen Duick VI, built for her father Eric Tabarly to compete in the inaugural Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973. Fifty years after Pen Duick VI entered service, Marie continues to sail Pen Duick VI adventuring in Patagonia and Iceland, with the boat completing over 300,000 miles. The Pen Duick VI crew includes Vendée Globe success story Alexia Barrier.

At the other end of the size spectrum, Stuart Greenfield will be competing on his S&S 34 Morning After, which is leading the RORC season for IRC 4 by a wide margin. Morning After will be raced with Stuart’s regular two-handed crew, Louise Clayton, with the addition of RORC Admiral Mike Greville and Frederick Neville-Jones.

From Denmark, Michael Møllmann will lead the Elliott 35 Palby Marine. Two German teams will be fully manned at the start; Christoph Tschernisches JV53 Bank von Bremen with an SKWB crew and Christian Heermann an HSV crew on JV52 Haspa Hamburg. The British Army has a long racing history with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the next chapter will be written by the Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier. Phil Caswell will skipper a team of seven.

Follow the fleet on the event website

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