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14 June 2004, 10:10 am
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Round Britain And Ireland Challenge
Southampton

it's over for the Round Britain and Ireland Challenge and what a race it has been, every yacht has now finished and is back at base in Ocean Village, Southamton.
We've had constant changes in the leader board: broken Yankees; split spinnakers; broken mainsails; furious debate over what 'Muckle Flugga' means; dolphins; whales; extreme washing up; oil rigs lit up like Christmas trees; no wind; storm conditions; hail stones the size of golf balls; exhaustion; exhilaration and sunsets to take the breath away.

It was BP Explorer though, skippered by David MELVILLE, who stole the limelight and won the race after over 2000 nmiles of full-on, intense and relentless racing. Just behind was Kunachi, skippered by Italian Amedeo SORRENTINO who had been leading for much of the later stages of the race.

Then came Team Seven, Skippered by Clive COSBY a yacht which had boldly led in the early stages of the race, as did Barclays Adventurer, skippered by Stuart JACKSON, who were the first across the start line and stayed with the leaders the whole way round.

Lack of wind scuppered the fleet throughout much of the race, with wind locked yachts searching endlessly for ways to actually move. In the first few days there were major problems aboard The Firm, who suffered damage to their mighty mainsail and Besso, who tore their Yankee 1 sail, which slowed them down considerably as they fought to repair the damage.

SAIC, skippered by Finnish sailor, Eero LEHTINEN, which was a serious contender at the start of the race and constantly up with the leaders, took a gamble at the start of the race which sadly never paid off for the team, so with the light winds, it proved impossible for them to catch the lead yachts. However they resolutely and determinably remained in fifth place and, even though they were challenged towards the end by The Firm, they stayed put and wouldn't budge.

The Firm, skippered by Dee CAFFARI, took sixth place having proudly risen up through the fleet following her problems at the start. In seventh place was Save the Children whose account of their experiences is captured below, followed by Besso, who fought a hard earned race despite damaging their Yankee 1 sail and splitting one of their spinnakers.

All of the teams are heroes to the thousands of people who religiously read and listened to their exploits on the web. We'll leave you with the thoughts of Brendan HARRIS from Save the Children:

"Over the past three weeks, including the week spent training before the race, the fourteen of us on board Save the Children have certainly got to know each other quite well, it is the sort of social interaction that is seldom seen off a yacht.

"We have cooked for each other, suffered each others various attempts at making porridge and had to clean the resultant carbonised mess from the bottom of the pan. We have made each other cups of tea and coffee beyond counting, and suffered the vented frustration when tea without was asked for and we have made coffee with two.

"We sleep literally within fingertips reach of each other and witness all the varied idiosyncrasies of sleep that normally never see the light of day. We cleaned the heads when it was our turn and picked up anything and everything that may have found its way into the shower grate or the plughole.

"We shared the discomfort at being on this crazy fun fair ride during rough weather, crabbing along the corridors at 45 degrees hoping that the money will run out sometime soon.

"We sailed the boat together, with equal cursing and grunting, at the boat and at each other, during sail changes and manoeuvres. All these things however are what have made this race the trip of a lifetime, a sentiment that I am sure is being echoed throughout this website at the moment.

"I wrote in the first log of this voyage that over the first couple of days of seasickness tinged sailing I felt three emotions; misery, abject misery and dear-god-let-me-break-an-arm-so-they-have-to-airlift-me-off-this-stinking-crate. I can now confidently add satisfaction to that list. Satisfaction in having completed what we set out to do and having had a damn good time doing it."


Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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