Some dockside details as crews prepare for the Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race

A few more details from the fleet preparations of the Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race in Plymouth. The start will be on Sunday, and everyone’s making their final touches. I must say, almost all the boats look orderly and well prepared.

As I mentioned in previous blogs, there’s a good showing of Class 40s. Above is Rune Aasberg, skipper of the sole Norwegian entry, on board his Owen Clarke-designed Express 40 Solo. There are five of these production design Class 40s, and Alex Bennett’s Fujifulm is from the same designer and has similar lines so the competition should be close.


 Fujifilm bow


The close up above is of the bow of Bennett’s Fujifilm. Unlike some of the others in the class this has a retractable bowsprit. The boat is slightly more optimised for upwind conditions than the max beam power-reachers of the class which, obviously, Alex is hoping will be an advantage on the RB&I.


One of the rules of the race is that each boat must carry a dinghy because the stopover at Barra will be on moorings or at anchor (first come, first served on the moorings). But no-one stipulated that the dinghy has to be marine grade… This is weight saving.

Mary Falk

Above, Mary Falk and co-skipper Jerry Freeman. They have each competed in five RB&I races. Mary’s participation four years ago was a focus for her debilitating treatment and eventual recovery from breast cancer the previous year. It started a drive to raise money for the Institute of Cancer Research and to date Mary has raised between £95,000 and £96,000 from her solo sailing.

Please do have a look at her website,, and if you are so minded contribute to a very worthy cause and follow a wonderful sailor and a fantastic living example of how research has improved cancer treatments and outcomes.


And this is Richard Allman, sailor and artist. Not too many races have their own in-house artist. Richard’s has painted the preparations of the RB&I for several races. This is one of his works in progress yesterday.