Nick Bubb and Alex Haworth aboard Kenmore finish Round Britain and Ireland Race 11/7/06

Nick Bubb and Alex Haworth aboard the 30ft trimaran Kenmore crossed the finish line in Plymouth yesterday morning just after 0700. They not only finished well inside the time limit but also beat two other 30 ft multihulls across the line. Bubb tells the story?

With immense pride Alex and I brought Kenmore across the finish line in Plymouth yesterday morning. It was less than three weeks ago that we were drifting just south-west of St Kilda with no mast and almost no hope of getting round, let alone doing it within the time limit. The support of Kenmore, Aggmore and all of the other project sponsors was amazing and our endeavour seemed to draw interest where ever we went. Thank you to all our friends both old and new, I think I’m more relieved to have finished for you guys than myself, as I could not bear to think of all the effort that went in if we didn’t make it!

In brief, Alex and I had mainly 10 to 15 knots from the south-western quadrant for the final leg. Not entirely unexpected but still upwind the whole way. Kenmore, after various improvements at each of the stopovers was back to her best. It is hard to believe that this boat was designed well over 15 years ago, she not only looks amazing but the performance is incredible and we flew down the east coast and along towards the finish passing several other race boats.

The boat is a credit to her designer John Stuttleworth and owner David Barden, thank you to you both for giving us such an exciting boat to race. With only 50 miles to go to the finish and the forecast for a building breeze, we were well reefed down when all of a sudden the night became pitch black and we were hit with winds gusting well over 40 knots. We had just the mainsail up with three reefs in (very deep reef) and as the sea built we were unable to make any headway upwind. The storm jib came out but there was no way we could risk any more sail. The breaking waves were threatening to flip us over and we were both aware that it was a very serious situation.

We decided to try to fore reach (by sitting hove to, with the sails not working but not flapping) towards Brixham which was about 10 miles away. If we had been hit by these conditions in open sea we would have just run downwind with warps and sea anchor trailing to slow us but with being so close to the south coast and with the south-west winds this was not an option as we would have been up on the rocks in hours.

As we constantly worked the boat to avoid ending side on to the big waves, we took it in turns to get into our survival suits and prepare all the safety kit, we also notified the race office of our position. As dawn broke we slipped into Torbay and our little Suzuki outboard from Seamark Nunn just managed to push us along against the breeze up into Brixham marina. With the wind forecast to ease in the evening we spent the day making final checks and left again around 2200. Once we got back out into Torbay it was apparent that the wind had dropped significantly and we sailed round Start Point and into Plymouth Sound without incident. At no stage did either of us panic and I believe we handled the situation very well. It was just one more test for our little trimaran and our endurance!

This race has been an incredible experience and I have certainly learnt a lot about small multihull sailing as well as discovering inner strength I did not know I had. The race organisers, the Royal Western Yacht Club and in particular Peter Taylor have a done a fantastic job and I’m sure I speak for the whole fleet in congratulating them on a job very well done.

For me it is onto the next project now, the Route du Rhum, a solo race for Open 60, 50 and 40s from St Malo to Guadeloupe. We have a charter contract to sign by the end of July if the project is to happen, so it is on with the suit and off to try to draw people in.

The new 40 footer is in build in France and there are 30 boats entered in the class, which is easily the biggest of the fleet. The programme is a launch in late August/early September, then sea trials followed by a 1,000 mile qualifier and a race start on the 29 October. After this we hope to compete in the Caribbean crewed race circuit, with various sponsors and guests before delivering the boat back to the UK at the end of April.