First casualty as MoonraKer loses steering 8/8/06

At 2039 hrs on Monday 7 August, just two and a half hours into the race, the Ker 11.3 MoonraKer was forced to retire from the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race due to a complete failure of her steering gear as she rounded the turning point of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.

In a phone call to race control last night after the crew of MoonraKer had successfully limped back to Cowes unassisted, crew member Andrew Mills commented: “We had roared off to Bembridge from the start line and were undergoing a series of spinnaker gybes when we first realised that something was wrong with the steering gear as we just couldn’t bring the boat up into the wind following the gybe. It was only blowing about 15 knots at the time and when we went down below to inspect the steering gear which is attached to the inside of the hull we found that it had come free and we had no option but to retire. At least it happened in the Solent and not 200 miles off Muckle Flugga! We managed to drop the kite and set up the jury rig steering tiller that connects to the top of the stock of the rudder and made it back to Cowes in time for a beer. The crew are disappointed not to take any further part in the race but we would like to send good luck and good speed to everyone else taking part!”

It was always going to be a tough race for the MoonraKer crew who launched the boat just hours before the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and were frantically trying to sort out teething problems throughout the afternoon before the race. This team of Royal Engineers had done a fantastic job to get on the start line and were well in contention when their troubles started. We wish them well for the future and hope to see them compete in many more RORC races in the future.

Meanwhile at the front of the fleet this morning, Jean-Philippe Chomette’s Nacira 60 Solune had edged into the lead by the slenderest of margins from the Open 60 Artemis Ocean Racing skippered by Jonny Malbon as the two yachts made good progress down to Plymouth. Both boats are touching around 12 knots under asymmetric spinnaker as they fly down the South Coast of England enjoying a very tight personal battle for overall line honours, clear ahead of the fleet.