Telefonica Blue leads the charge
The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race has claimed two more casualties in Dr John Shepherd's Ker 46 Fair Do's VII and Chris Radford and James George's Corby 45 Relentless on Incisor. Both have suffered equipment failure - Fair Do's VII has developed a steering problem while Relentless on Incisor has a problem with their communication system. They follow Mike Slade's supermaxi ICAP Leopard which retired soon after the start yesterday with a broken gooseneck fitting.
Leading the charge are the Volvo Open 70s. Followed her late start Groupama remains on the back foot but by 1400 this afternoon Franck Cammas' team had closed to within 9 miles of the Iker Martinez-skippered Telefonica Blue. With the wind in the northwest to the west of the low that has tracked across the UK and is now centred over Norway, at 1400 Groupama tacked west for two hours before resuming her passage north. At 1800 the boats are level with Aberdeen with Groupama set to lay Muckle Flugga at the top of the Shetland Isles, 233 miles away while Telefonica Blue has 211 miles to go.
Behind on the water Jonny Malbon, no doubt still recovering from his Solitaire du Figaro ordeal, is doing well on the Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 with a crew including double 49er medallist Simon Hiscocks. They are some 72 miles astern of Telefonica Blue. Similarly the young team on the Concise Class 40 are doing well, at the latitude of Newcastle, 155 miles off the leader, ahead of boats like Piet Vroon's offshore specialist Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens, and the German Andrews 56, Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg, although the tracker appears to not be working on Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire's Class 40 Phesheya Racing (they did make it to the start line).
On handicap the class act is the British Keelboat Academy crew on board the modified TP52 John Merricks II, who have been leading under IRC with the exception of last night, when impressively 60 Artemis Ocean Racing (how on earth did an Open 60 get an IRC rating?) pulled ahead. Artemis remains in third place under IRC behind Tonnerre. We are not certain who is navigating on John Merricks II but they are taking a very different strategy sailing up the North Sea, as they are some 50 miles east of the track most are taking. However it seems to be working...
Here is Sam Davies' video from on board ICAP Leopard prior to her retirement. Click the bottom RH button on the viewer for the full screen experience.