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SEVENSTAR RACE-MORE WORLD RECORDS BROKEN AT COWES

sca-rcowesFollowing Musandam -Oman Sail breaking the World Record in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race on Thursday, more World Records have been broken by other boats when they reached the finish line at the RYS, Cowes.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam was the first monohull home in the race smashing Groupama’s 2010 mark by 1 Day and 8 hours for the 1800nm event.

Skipper Ian Walker had not competed in this event before and it proved a good test for the new Volvo 65 and the crew of eight. Their journey took 4days 13 hours 10 minutes and 23 seconds.After relentless, high speed racing pushing the crews and the boats to their limit, the strong downwind conditions abated as Azzam, the Volvo Ocean 65 class leader, approached The Lizard. Fading wind was the problem as the boat neared the south side of the Isle of Wight and Azzam were confronted by a tactical decision – to go inshore at St.Catherine’s Point or offshore looking for breeze. Many taking part in the JPMAM  Round the Island Race have had to make this decision  and Azzam went inshore.

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Before the race, navigator Simon Fisher (SI Fi) told us that although all the crew had defined roles in essence they needed to be all rounders. They usually run a watch system whilst racing but that was not to say you would not be called upon during a break. He added that their level of activity demanded they consume around 8,000 calories per day.

Azzam’s crew was mindful that after Groupama (a Volvo Open 70) was first to cross the line in the 2010 edition of the Sevenstar Race the boat went on to triumph in the 2010-11 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race something that Azzam will try to replicate in the 2014-15 edition.

In October the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race will get underway from Alicante, Spain.  Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates hosts one of the stopovers from 12th December-3rd January 2015 after the boats have raced from Cape Town, South Africa. During AAM Cowes Week members of the public who visited the Abu Dhabi stand in Cowes Yacht Haven had the chance to win a trip to coincide with the stopover in Abu Dhabi.

Prior to this great yacht race ‘coming into town’ Abu Dhabi is the venue for the Formula One Grand Prix on 23rd November and the Western Region of Abu Dhabi has recently been the venue for filming for the new Star Wars movie.

This year’s Volvo Ocean Race route will take in 11 cities in 11 countries – Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France, Netherlands and Sweden – and the teams will have to cover 38,739 nautical miles – equivalent to 44,580 miles or 71,745 kms.

Race  start will be on 4th October 2014, the day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, and finish with a final In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.

Back to the Sevenstar Race breaking another World Record was Volvo Ocean 65 Team SCA, skippered by Sam Davies which crossed the finish line at 06.10.39 BST on Saturday 16th August with an elapsed time of 4 days, 21 hours, 00 minutes and 39 seconds.

This breaks the previous World Record for Women’s Monohull set by Aviva, an Open 60, in 2009, by 1 day, 14 hours, 30 minutes and 14 seconds.  Of the women onboard Team SCA in 2014, both Dee Caffari and Sam Davies were also onboard Aviva when the World Record was set in 2009.

Breaking another World Record was Artemis – Team Endeavour, skippered by Brian Thompson which crossed the finish line at 23.00.54 BST on Saturday 16th August with an elapsed time of 5 days, 14 hours, 00 minutes and 54 seconds.

This breaks the previous World Record for Monohulls 60 feet and less, set by Safran in 2011, by 19 hours, 48 minutes and 16 seconds. As with the other World Records being recently broken,  Artemis-Team Endeavour’s record is subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.

Artemis-Team Endeavour had enjoyed an epic battle with Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn’s Volvo 70, Monster Project for IRC Line Honours and the Canting Keel Class but Artemis-Team Endeavour crossed the line just over an hour and 20 minutes ahead of Monster Project to win the class on corrected time and set the benchmark for the IRC fleet to try and better.

This is the fourth World Record broken during the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and as yet with a number of boats still battling against wind and tides the actual winner of the race has yet to be decided as all boats have a handicap.

However Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51, Varuna crossed the finish line at 12.10.32 BST on 17th August. Varuna is now in first place in IRC overall and with this time, corrected under IRC, it puts the German yacht in an extremely strong position to win the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Report thanks to Alan and Suzanne Whitewood

Photograph by Rick Tomlinson

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