Nannini and Peggs take the Round Britain and Ireland lead
Gale force winds on the fourth and penultimate leg of the Royal Western YC’s Shetlands Round Britain and Ireland Race have caused a change of lead, with the nimble trimaran Paradox overhauled by the more robust and offshore-orientated 40 foot monohulls.
With a 20 minute advantage over Alex Bennett and Malcolm Dickinson’s Fujifilm leaving Lerwick in the Shetland Isles, so Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on their Class 40 Sungard Front Arena survived the strong conditions and on their arrival in Lowestoft last night had extended their lead to almost two and a half hours (the race is scored on the combined elapsed time of each leg).
“We got in at 1830 last night just in time for dinner and a few beers,” recounted an upbeat Paul Peggs. As to the trip down the North Sea, Peggs says that they probably saw 45 knots in the gusts, but a sustained 35. “It was a headbanger, but at least it was a downwind headbanger, not an upwind one, so that was a bit of a result. It was quite full-on. It was the usual North Sea where the seas are very very short and steep, which made it a bit awkward and pretty uncomfortable, but we went down the west side of the rhumb line, which was more settled and less breeze. The boats that went to the east of the rhumb line got consistently more wind than we did, so they took a bit more of a bashing. Saying that we always had double reefed main but we never had less than that, so it wasn’t that bad.”
The tactics of the two boats was indeed different with Fujifilm initially taking a long gybe out to the east, as Nannini and Peggs gybed in towards the coast, gybing back as they closed on the England-Scotland border. Fujifilm remained offshore all the way to the finish arriving at 21:01 last night.
“I know Fuji took a bit of a battering and at one time they just had the main on the deck and just had a small jib up, and that is when we started pull out more of a lead although he pulled it back a bit at the end because he had a better angle,” continued Peggs. “It was good stuff, although I wouldn’t want to do that every day of the week!”
To Peggs this leg has been a further testament to the Class 40 and the Lombard-designed Akilaria they are sailing. “The boat is fantastic. It is the first time we have raced a 40. They are so box-solid and bulletproof, you never felt in any danger with things at all. We have had a couple of little breakages, a bit of sail damage, but all tiny stuff, nothing that wouldn’t take a couple of hours to sort out. And talking to the other skippers who have come in, they are all of the same opinion they have had tiny bits of damage but no major problems at all.”
Will Claxton and Matt Gill on their Dazcat 10 trimaran Paradox haven’t faired so well in the big conditions experienced on this leg and made it into Lowestoft mid-morning today. First boat into Lerwick, they are now some 16-17 hours behind the Class 40 leaders. It is believed during this leg Paradox lost the use of her electrics.
“I know they were collecting tyres in Barra to use as drogues... They were down to 3 knots at one stage, so they must have been virtually all sails down and had tyres out of the back during the worst of it,” says Peggs.
However all is not lost. The final leg of the doublehanded Round Britain Race across the mouth of the Thames Estuary, through Dover Straits and along the south coast of the UK is forecast for light weather and this will certainly favour the trimaran.
Peggs meanwhile is worrying that the Owen Clarke Class 40s such as Fujifilm may prove faster in the light. “I don’t think it is going to suit us quite so well. Every time we seem to turn a corner it seems to be a different wind condition and speed and we haven’t been out in those conditions in this boat so it will take a while for us to get it into it all. We haven’t done much sailing in the light stuff so don’t know how fast the Akilarias are, whether they are a bit sticky or not. But we have two and half hours to get away which might not be very much if there’s no wind at the start against the tide.”
As usual there is a 48 hour stopover before each boat can leave, so Sungard Front Arena will set sail again at 18:32:19 on Tuesday night.
Until a few more boats arrive in Lowestoft it is too early to tell who is leading the race under IRC.
Lowestoft elapsed time arrivals:
|Pos||Boat||Skipper||Co-skipper||Reached Lowestoft||Elapsed time|
|1||Sungard Front Arena||Marco Nannini||Paul Peggs||20 Jun at 18:32:19||8d 06:17:19|
|2||FujiFilm||Alex Bennett||Malcolm Dickinson||20 Jun at 21:01:05||8d 08:46:05|
|3||Solo||Rune Aasberg||Arild Schei||20 Jun at 22:48:00||8d 10:33:00|
|4||Phesheya Racing||Nick Leggatt||Phillippa Hutton-Squire||20 Jun at 23:19:18||8d 11:04:18|
|5||Roaring Again||Hans Plas||Robin Verhoef||21 Jun at 00:29:58||8d 12:14:58|
|6||Orca||Richard Tolkien||Neil Brewer||21 Jun at 05:41:00||8d 17:26:00|
|7||Roaring Forty||Andrew Magrath||David Pugh||21 Jun at 07:38:15||8d 19:23:15|