Can the RAF team continue their successful form on Leg 2 of the Round Britain and Ireland Race? 15/6/06

The Royal Air Force team – Flight Lieutenants Marcus Wilson and Richard Steel – competing in the Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race aboard the RAF J/109 Red Arrow completed their first leg on Monday. They sailed into to Kinsale 12th across the line and after an obligatory 48-hour stop left the dock this morning for the second leg of the race. Wilson relieved to have completed the first leg sent this report:

“We had gentle reaching start across Plymouth Sound on Sunday with Red Arrow well to the windward side of the fleet and well placed around the first corner before hardening up and heading for the Eddystone Light leaving the slower boats behind us.

“The first day was one of very light breezes. We tried the asymmetric and we tried white sail reaching but nothing seemed to help in the gently rolling swell. We finally reached the Scillies just over 24 hours after leaving Plymouth and rounded just as the tide turned. The tide splits at the Scillies and we knew the boats behind us were having to overcome a foul tide as we slipped up towards the Irish Sea. What we didn’t know was how many of the remaining 39 boats were behind us and how many in front. We had split north from the fleet crossing Falmouth Bay and had only seen a couple of yachts since.

“It wasn’t until we got within VHF range of Kinsale that we could start to build a picture of the fleet arrivals and we seemed to be doing well in class and well overall although a huge lull in the breeze with seven miles to go delayed us by about an hour and a quarter just off the entrance to Kinsale. Ashore at last and second in class over the water. A huge relief to know that we were competitive and with four more legs to go there is all to play for.

“RAFSA and Red Arrow have had tremendous help with this project from many sources and would like to offer a huge thank all our sponsors: ASIG,, Babcock Defence Services, Vosper Thorneycraft, Agusta-Westland and Bluestone, together with Gill for the keeping us dry through the downpours and B & G for the RemoteVision which helps us manage the boat.”

Leg 2 from Kinsale to Castlebay on Barra in the Outer Hebrides is a distance of over 440 miles. The course runs west from Kinsale to the south-west corner of Ireland (around 90 miles), then north for 170 miles to Eagle Island off the west coast, and then north east round Northern Ireland to Barra Head and Castlebay at the southern end of the Outer Hebrides (180 miles).

This leg will create distance within the fleet with the fastest arriving on Friday and the slowest possibly taking until Sunday to reach Barra.

Elsewhere in the fleet Pete Goss and Paul Larsen on Cornwall Playing for Success who started leg 2 at 11am yesterday rounded the south-west tip of Ireland early this morning in the lead and are now heading up the west coast with Nigel Passmore and Angus Mcphie on Waverider, and Nick Bubb and Pete Cumming on Kenmore closing in.