The RAF J/109 Red Arrow have completed leg 3 of the SRBI, Lieut. Wilson reports 27/6/06

The Royal Air Force team – Flight Lieutenants Marcus Wilson and Richard Steel aboard the RAF J/109 Red Arrow – have completed leg three of the Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race, Marcus Wilson reports:

…Malin, Hebrides… Severe gale 9, possibly storm force 10 later.

A forcast to really concentrate the mind. With a quick conference we decided that there was nothing at all that would persuade us to set off for our restart on time, and so started a very frustrating couple of days in what is one of the most lovely spots I have visited. We watched the drama unfold around us as a couple of our fellow competitors dragged their way across the bay whilst others motored about looking for their anchor and for a decent place to plant it in the poor holding rock and kelp of Castlebay.

In all seriousness, everyone in Barra was fantastic to the fleet but it was a real relief to be back on the race track again. Most of class 2 had waited the weather out and we had a 10:00 restart in company with most of the class and a number of the multis who had also decided to wait out the worst of the weather.

The leg down to Barra Head was a time for contemplation – nobody knew for sure what was waiting round the headland but we were setting out to the area where one of the yachts had been rolled the previous morning. We were fairly sure the wind would have died but the big unknown was the sea state. In the event it was manageable and after standing out towards the 100m contour we turned for St Kilda. What a spooky desolate place that is. Passing by in the dim half-light of the graveyard watch. It was a nice corner to have turned and a few hours later we were joined by a friendly RAF Nimrod aircraft who popped past on a routine mission in order to offer us some encouragement.

A slight corner around Sula Sgeir and the 190 mile straight line to the northern most point on the race. The lighthouse Muckle Flugga and just beyond it the Outer Stack. Everything from here would be heading closer to home. Five of us rounded within sight of each other and a duel developed down the east coast of the Shetlands, ending with a tacking battle up the Sound of Bressay to the very finish.

Three legs done, two to go.