Artemis extends lead while strong winds force further retirements 10/8/06

With a little over 1,200 miles left to go in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, leader of the fleet Artemis Ocean Racing skippered by Jonny Malbon extended her lead overnight to nearly 30 miles over J-P Chomette’s Solune as the fleet punches its way up the west coast of Ireland. Conditions were tough through the night with a vicious seaway and winds that gusted above 30 knots that saw many of the fleet heavily reefed and opting for a ‘safety first’ approach to the conditions.

Onboard Artemis it’s all systems go see earlier Artemis story here.

Yesterday afternoon saw the retirement of the only multihull competing, Team Eberspacher of Ben Goodland and Mike Yates, from the race and return to Falmouth after fears for their forestay. Overnight there were further casualties with the Pogo 40 of Phil Sharp,, putting into port in Cork again with teething forestay issues. The team expect to be back on the racecourse later today.

The news from the West Cornwall Hospital regarding Sara Stanton who was taken off the Reflex 38, Puma Logic, at Falmouth would appear to be positive with spokesperson and Managing Director of Sailing Logic, Allie Smith saying: “She is going to be in hospital for another couple of days it seems. She is comfortable and responding to treatment but specific diagnosis not available at the moment. Her Mother is in contact and skipper Philippe Falle’s father is with her; he very conveniently happened to be sailing past Fowey when the drama started and sailed his yacht, CAS, to Falmouth and has gone on from there to the hospital.” Everyone at RORC wishes Sara a swift recovery.

Kieran Jameson from the Sigma 38, Changeling, telephoned last night as the yacht was rounding Bishop Rock to report that they were changing down to a number three genoa and reefed main but their spirits were still high. “We’ve just got the fish pie out of the freezer for tonight’s meal and the only drama on board has been a major spillage of red wine all over the chart table. It looks like being a hard beat all the way up the west coast of Ireland but we’re all having a great time.”

On the racecourse it will be a tough weekend ahead for the yachts as meteorologist Mike Broughton from attests: “There’s a punishing north-westerly gradient that is filtering down from Iceland generated by a low pressure system over the North Sea. For the next 24-36 hours the yachts will be seeing wind strengths in the 24-34 bracket with a three metre swell so it will be very tough for the smaller boats.”