Young team aboard Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks should finish Round Britain and Ireland Race tomorrow 17/8/06

With less than 200 miles to the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, Farr 45 Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks is fighting hard against the tide in the Thames Estuary and hoping for a Friday finish in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme Sailor Johnny Marshall has been one of three designated helmsmen on the trip and revealed what the team have been up to over the last 24 hours.

“We had a challenging day yesterday with hardly any wind. After covering so much ground on Tuesday crew morale dropped when we suddenly came to a standstill. After feeling like home was getting close we suddenly added a day to our race and there was little we could do about it.”

The Lymington-based 21 year-old continued: “Last night was actually quite exciting, not only did the wind begin to build but we also sailed past loads of oil rigs. They were just massive and quite an amazing sight in the dark.

“Finally we are back on course, tight reaching with about ten knots of breeze and flat water. We’re just inside the Thames Estuary battling the tide. We’re working our way along the shore, trying to avoid hitting the bottom as we stay out of the tide, which should change in the next couple of hours and help us get down to Dover and around the corner.

“Tonight will be our last night on the boat which, after spending ten days on her, is a strange sensation. It will be brilliant to get home and finally take stock of what we, as a young team, have accomplished.”

Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks is expected to cross the finish line in Cowes Isle of Wight sometime tomorrow, Friday 18 August.


Nigel King, East London – Skipper

Rob Hoey, Newton Abbot – Co Skipper/Bowman

Jamie Holmes, Bath – Boat Captain/Trimmer

Nicky Macgregor, Poole – Watch Leader/Trimmer

James Roche, Southampton – Watch Leader/Trimmer

Ed Hill, Guildford – Watch Leader/Trimmer

Jeremy Fowke, Weymouth – Trimmer

Charlotte Lawrence, Lymington, Edinburgh University – Trimmer

Nick Cherry, Southampton – Helm

Jonny Marshall, Lymington – Helm

Connor Myant, London – Helm