Harken Derm

Tough Night in North Sea Expected

Published on August 11th, 2014

Cowes, UK (August 11, 2014) – When forecasted winds for the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race on Sunday expected winds of 40 to 50 knots in the English Channel, the Race Committee took the decision to postpone the start by 21 hours.

But it was all systems go today at 0900 BST when 28 yachts headed east along the Solent for the 1800 mile race around Britain and Ireland, with a course change sending the fleet counter-clockwise around the isles, rather than the traditional clockwise.

The prominent race story centers around the five Volvo 65s that are seeking to measure their training for the Volvo Ocean Race which starts this October.

Currently in front is Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, though closely matched by the Spanish team – whose title sponsor has yet to be announced – skippered by Iker Martínez. Not far behind is another pair – Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team and Rhode Island’s Team Alvimedica, skippered by Charlie Enright – with the all-female Team SCA trailing in fifth.

Big conditions are expected in the North Sea tonight, with high winds and a significant sea sate affecting the progress of the entire fleet. Currently the North Sea is experiencing wind speeds in excess of 40 knots from the south west. There is a significant sea state emanating from the Norwegian coast with waves as high as 8 metres. It is likely that the majority of the fleet will hug the eastern coast of the United Kingdom. However, inshore oil rig platforms and sand banks will pose navigational problems.

Team Alvimedica’s Will Oxley, who has completed two campaigns previously, spoke before the beginning of the race about the difficulties that the notoriously testing route would raise.

“It’s a great race track, one of the best in the world, and from a navigator’s perspective, it’s very, very busy,” he said.

“It will also give us more time to work together, to tackle decisions, and go through the decision-making process, so that it is as smooth as it can be come race time in the Volvo Ocean Race.”

And his team made one big decision earlier this week, as they announced their final crew member Matt Noble, a 28-year-old San Francisco native.

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