Teléfonica Azul take second place
Written by Louay Habib Sunday, 29 August 2010 18:06
Teléfonica Azul Take 2nd Place
Sunday 29 August 16:38:09 - Volvo Open 70 Teléfonica Azul crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron Line to claim second place in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Teléfonica Azul finished the race well inside the old record. They started the race like a bat out of hell, screaming down the Solent at over 25 knots, but a rigging problem meant that they were overtaken by Groupama and they never managed to catch them. Teléfonica Azul crewman, Neal McDonald, describes the turning point in the race:
"The low point was having a fitting break at the top of Scotland that prevented us using our heavy weather jib for 10 hours. This allowed Groupama to get from 20 miles behind to 30 miles in front – heart breaking from a racing point of view but the sort of price you pay in these type of racing boats when things break. When the failure occurred it was pitch black (as it always is when things go wrong!) and blowing 35 knots in a horrific seaway. But after that, it was fantastic sailing in flat water, something I’ve never experienced before around Scotland. The fastest part was just off the back of the Isle of Wight and these boats are great to sail, they’re just a big skiff. The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland was a really fantastic race."
Jonny Malbon’s IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing should be the next boat to finish. They have been racing on their own virtually the whole way around the track, but they are most definitely not cruising, as crew member Andy Tourell explains: "Our current ETA is around 01:00 so the IMOCA 60 course record* is going to be extremely close. As far as the overall IRC is concerned, the rest of the fleet should slow as they approach the Isles of Scilly, and for the final leg the breeze is due to drop and clock round to the northeast, so it is all still to play for!"
*Artemis Ocean Racing need to finish by 01:30:53 on Monday 30 August, to beat the IMOCA 60 record set by Aviva in 2006 of 6 days, 11 hours, 30 min and 53 secs.
At 1800 BST, the Overall handicap leader, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnere de Breskens has reached the southwest tip of Ireland with just over 400 miles to go. The wind is north to northwest at about 14 knots. The British Keelboat Academy's TP52, John Merricks II has been absolutely flying along and is now 30 miles ahead of Tonnerre on the water. The lighter conditions may well suit the high performance TP52 rather than Tonnerre de Breskens. Lithuanian Volvo 60 Ambersail is now halfway across the Irish Sea and still in second place overall, after time correction.
In IRC One, Steven Anderson's First 40.7, Encore still leads the class and rounded St. Kilda just after 1800 BST. Encore immediately gybed towards Ireland, presumably to try to avoid the high pressure which is coming in from the west. Adrian Lower's Swan 44, Selene is still leading IRC Two. However, with over 900 miles to go, the ridge of high pressure will not be good news for the class and it will be quite a few days before they finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.