Mollymawk does it again

Hobson and Newman crawl into Plymouth to win the two handed Round Britain and Ireland Race

Friday June 28th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom


Ross Hobson (above) and Andrew Newnam on the 40ft trimaran Mollymawk crossed the Plymouth finish line at 09.56 this morning, winners of the Royal Western Yacht Club's two handed Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Originally designed by Nic Bailey and raced by Bailey to a class win in the 1988 singlehanded transatlantic race - it is the second time this yacht has taken line honours in the Round Britain. In 1998 she won in the hands of Richard Tolkien as FPC Greenaway and was subsequently sold to Hobson, who a teaches orthodontics at Newcastle University.

After leading into Lowestoft, Hobson and Newnam spent most of the Lowestoft stopover there replacing the false bow on their trimaran's mainhull which had broken off on the leg down from Lerwick. "The new bow worked really well," Hobson told madfor sailing. "It kept us dry. We rebuilt it exactly as it should have been, it wasn't a bodge. We used closed cell foam and epoxy. It needs filling, fairing and tidying up, but we'll keep it now until the end of the season."

He admitted that with just 48 hours in port to effect repairs it had been a bit fraught. "We finished at 0300. I got up 0530 for the forecast, then wandered round to the boat and painted the bow - so it is the right colour now. Then we left at 1000." Fortunately they had enclosed the bow and had this area warmed by a big space heater, in order to get the epoxy to cure properly.

The final leg of the Round Britain, as competitors so often complain, proved to be upwind the entire way. "From Lowestoft it started a bit light but filled in next to Margate. We had a good run down to Dungeness. Then 10-15 miles to the west of Beachy Head the main halyard broke." Initially they tried to use a jib halyard instead, but pulling the halyard round to the back of the mast proved too much and that broke too. "So we went into Brighton and anchored for a couple of hours while we reeved a new halyard. It was about two hours of graft in a nasty slop. Both of us went up. Andy was well bruised by the time he got down."

In total Hobson believes they lost about 3-4 hours because of the halyard problems.

"The filled in, but was a bit patchy to the Isle of Wight. Then we had a steady 16-17 knots through the evening which took us to Start Point, but it was beat, beat, beat and then beat a bit more," he continued. "The last bit in from the Eddystone the wind was swinging all over the place. We'd get to one place and then tack and find ourselves going back the way we came. It was difficult to understand the sequence of the swings." To add insult to injury the wind dropped to virtually nothing once they had entered Plymouth Sound and had the finish line in sight.

"It feels quite pleasant. There's a nice warm inner glow," said Hobson. "We've won the Peaks Race, but this is the first pure yachting race we've won. We're very pleased. It was a tough race. No one had any quarter right from the start. On the first leg when we damaged our jib, we thought we'd be down the pan, but we found other people had more problems than we did."

The next race the boat will do is the Cowes-St Malo next weekend. Hobson personally would like to enter the Route du Rhum in November, but thinks it is too late to raise the necessary sponsorship. He thinks it likely he will enter the Royal Western's rejuvenated Two-Star from Plymouth to Bermuda next year.

So far four yachts have completed the course with the Kinch's Outremer 43 cruiser-racer catamaran Pegasus finishing in second place at 1504, closely followed by the leader into Lerwick, the French Open 50 Branec III and the Dutch Open 40 Syllogic in third and fourth positions respectively.

Round Britian & Ireland winner, Mollymawk

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