Photo: Hamo Thorneycroft

Varuna looking strong for overall win

As smaller yachts shelter in the Hebrides in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

Sunday August 17th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 50 Varuna finished the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race at 12.10.32 BST and now holds first place overall under IRC. While a number of yachts are still to finish, Varuna's corrected time puts the German yacht in a strong position to claim the outright win the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

"This is the first time we have participated in this race, because we normally take part in a transatlantic race from Newport to Hamburg which overlaps with this one," commented Kellinghusen. "I am very please we did well and we really enjoyed the race. The islands on the west coast of Ireland are very beautiful and it is scenery that we haven't seen before.

"The first two days were a test of endurance for the crew and the boat, but it was no problem as we settled into a routine. Most of the team has sailed together for 12 years, so to get a good result makes me feel very happy. It is the result of having a great boat, a great designer and a great crew. We take Varuna all over the world to compete in the best races - that is our goal, success may come and we are happy when it does, but taking part is the most important thing and experiencing the best race courses with a crew that is happy together. If we have won this race, it makes me very happy for the crew as they have worked incredibly hard."

Meanwhile the brutal conditions experienced by competitors off the Hebrides have continued. Ian Hoddle's Figaro II Rare seems to be seeking shelter in the lee of Lewis as is Ifan James' Stimson 42 Palpatine which was heading for Stornoway. The Army Sailing Association's J/111 British Soldier has been battling away and is 30 miles from St Kilda, closely followed by Peter Hopps' Hanse 531 Saga and the J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish, which are both 40 miles from St Kilda, which they expect to make by sunset.

Liam Coyne, skipper of Irish First 36.7 Lula Belle reported: "The first sign of things changing were that the waves were now against us, then the wind turned and the hard beat started to Shetland, over 100 miles upwind. Wind in 20s again today. Shackle on jib blew so we had to stop to fix that. While we were stopped we fixed the nav. lights, a bulb had blown. It broke inside so we had to fit spare set to bow. Brian (Flahive) did the change, hanging from the pulpit. Despite my best efforts, he did get dunked a couple of times so he can confirm the gauge saying the water temperature is 32°C is incorrect!

"Life on board is still uncomfortable but the sailing is great. It's all the other stuff that's a nuisance; eating, sleeping etc. All our injuries have come from falls down below as the boat is rocked. As day closes, we see we have actually sailed 155 miles but only covered 110 of race course. The tide seems to be forever against us and it's not so much the 2 knots you lose against it, it's the 20 degrees you lose of pointing that kills you. The tides are erratic and hard to work with. Spirits are good anyway, as we hope to see Shetland."

Jankees Lampe and Bart Boosman on the Dutch Open 40 La Promesse has retired in Stornaway. Jankees explained: "It is with great regret that we have to retire from the race. Despite the whole village of Stornoway willing to help, we have not been able to repair the main in such a way that we can rejoin the race and, more important, pull the throttle to the level of racing.

"We'll spend today preparing the boat for her delivery back to homeport and expect to leave Stornoway early Monday morning, heading for Bishop Rock through the Irish Sea. We have noted the race in our mental log as `unfinished business' and will try to come to the start in four years. The disappointment is there, but made better with the huge portions of fresh scallops and solid Scottish breakfast we had this morning. Regards and back to channel 16."

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