Round Britain & Ireland Yacht Race 2018

Absolutely nothing to do with gardening but I know some of you take an interest in sailing, the sea and boats. So some pics and info to bore you all with. ;-)

The RB&I Yacht Race was started in 1966 and is run every 4 years by the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, (staggered with the OSTAR transatlantic single handed, which the RWYC also run). Despite having enforced 48hour stop overs in 4 places, it is real test of skill and endurance. The course is approximately 2,000 Nautical Miles and is open to any yacht with 2 skippers, that have completed the necessary qualifying sailing and certification. In addition there are safety requirements for both the boat and skippers. Often yacht racing course are complicated, after clearing the start line and rounding Eddystone Lighthouse, the instructions for the RB&I are to “Leave Britain, Ireland and all their islands to Starboard. The only exceptions are the Channel Islands and Rockall. There are 5 legs to the race, with 4 x 48hr stopovers.

  1. Plymouth to Kinsale
  2. Kinsale to Barra (Castle Bay)
  3. Barra to Lerwick
  4. Lerwick to Lowestoft
  5. Lowestoft to Plymouth (the finish).

The Course and the 4 stopover ports.

My OH (Andy) and his mate Geoff have know each other for over 40 years and have done some serious sailing, both together and separately, so when Geoff asked him to co-skipper this difficult race with him Andy jumped at the chance. Geoff’s boat is called Wind of Lorne II, she is a Saltram 36, an excellent ocean going yacht, though sadly, as a long keeler and more traditionally shaped boat, she is the heaviest in the fleet, so the more modern lighter boats will be much faster, especially in the lighter airs they have had since the start on Sunday.

Wind of Lorne II

However, the heavier winds and sea on the west coast of Ireland and Scotland will suit the boat better. Though they certainly didn’t hold back at the start, I knew I could rely on Andy to be up “mixing it” on the start line and indeed they were, starting within seconds of the gun in 3rd or 4th place.

This is them on the right with the pink and green cruising chute. The main boat in the photo is “Chione” a Grand Soleil 43.

There were 18 entries to the race and 16 started, not very many but I guess that shows how arduous it is.

Andy at the helm, pre-start

Geoff, a previous photo.

Each leg of the race can take between 2 – 6 days, depending on the length of the leg, the wind and sea conditions and on the boat. There are 5 Multihulls (a tri-maran & 4 catamarans), which will be very fast and are in a different fleet to the mono hulls. But the boat finish time is “corrected” with an international handicapping system, which makes it a lot fairer – and a lot more competitive.

Presently they are about 16nm off the finish line at Kinsale, doing about 5 knots, so should finish in the next 3(ish) hours. I’ll add more when I know how they are doing.

Anyone interested there is lots more info about the race on the RWYC site:

and on the history here:

I’m following the race on the RWYC tracker accessed here if anyone wants a nosey:

Finally, in case the guys get round to looking at this, would just like to say Happy Birthday Geoff, finishing the 1st leg of a race is a great way to celebrate your 70th, just hope Andy finds that bottle of Champagne we sneaked on board.

92 Responses

  1. How exciting, Karen and very good luck to Andy and Geoff!! Love all the information and photos, as well as the tracker :good:

  2. VegVamp says:

    Thanks Jane. Aye, the tracker is a bit addictive, it will be even better when they get round further and we’ll see how the fleet splits up.

  3. shedsue says:

    Brilliant K… :good: …what a exciting thing for all…including us :good: …PS Happy Birthday Geoff :cake:

  4. VegVamp says:

    Update 1

    Crossed the finish line leg 1 at 1509, on corrected time they are lying 14th overall and 9th in class, pretty good for the light airs they had. :-) :cool:

  5. gertie says:

    A brilliant, informative and fascinating blog Karen…thank you very much. This garden-hugging-landlubber knows nowt about boats but your clear explanations made complete sense, even to me :good: Happy b’day to young Geoff xx and best wishes to them both from CP and the Teds too of course ;-) :good: :clover: :rose:

  6. Fascinating Karen, as a real landlubber, can’t swim, get sea sick, so don’t really like boats!! This was a great read. I do remember reading was it Ellen McArthur? Who sailed single handed around somewhere?? and being in awe at what she went through :excruciating: Did you wish you could have gone too?
    Good to have you back, we did think we had been invaded at one point :giggle:

    • VegVamp says:

      Yip, Ellen McArther, solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2005 breaking the record for the fastest time as well. Glad you enjoyed the read Lynn, was trying to balance between giving info and not getting too bogged down in “Yachtie speak” :lol: No, quite glad I’m not doing this one, for lots of reasons. ;-) Andy supported me when I went off and did a transatlantic, so I’m just returning the favour. :-) Aye, poor Duncan got a frantic message from me when I saw all those spammers in, I was already away with only a phone and very little internet access! :cool:

  7. Beanstew says:

    This is so exciting, and a wonderful antidote to a very sticky day in the garden just thinking about the smell of the sea and the coolth of a sea breeze, and the two good friends reading the wind and applying years of experience. I’m really glad they have enforced breaks otherwise it would be pretty arduous – and it certainly makes the smuggled bottle of birthday champagne much safer. Happy birthday Geoff, with fair winds and following seas all the way for both of you.

  8. Allan says:

    How do they compensate for the different boats K,? Because they wouldn’t have much chance against a cat, Are they graded into classes of similar construction ?Bet they are enjoying themselves, I’m out next on the 30th of June,Can’t wait, But it will be a test of,if I can keep doing it,as I have a job now of sitting down or standing for any length of time, The week I had away nearly creased me. Best of luck to them and may they catch a favourable wind,

    • VegVamp says:

      Hi Al, aye, you are spot on, 2 different classes, one for multi hulls (the trimaran and 4 cats) and one for single hulls( the remaining 11 yachts). Then within those 2 classes they also have a handicap system, so each elapsed time is multiplied by the handicap. So the faster boat’s time increases and the slower ones decrease. Andy and Geoff’s handicap is 0.876 (the lowest) and one of the cats is 1.251 It’s awkward to get your head around but based on those 2 if they both had a finish time of 1000 minutes you multiply that by the handicap, so Andy’s corrected time would be 876 minutes and the trimarans would be 1251 minutes. Does that make sense? :confused:
      The results are here: if you want a nosey and it includes the handicaps, under the column “rate”.

  9. Allan says:

    Had a look K ,Bit complicated,Looks like one will have the EDGE on the others, ;-)

    • VegVamp says:

      :lol: :lol: Aye, you’re right there Al, that’s the tri-maran, it’s a real flyer, handicap of 1.547 though they are presently crawling along with almost no wind at the Fastnet. ;-)

      • Allan says:

        Had a bad experience the last time i was out near the Fasnet,It was a Bad day for Irish yacht racing, :-(

        • VegVamp says:

          1979, a dreadful tragedy. Was chatting to one of the sailors in Royal Western who was on that race, and rescued from the water, something he will never forget.

          • Allan says:

            We were outside a bar and it was boiling over it, We had to wait three hours for the tide to rise high enough to cross it., In that time it was radio silence for everyone not involved in the rescue.,But listening to it on an open channel , You couldn’t believe what was happening,.

  10. Hayley says:

    What an amazing blog K :-) No wonder you’ve been so busy!! I see they will be passing the Kent coastline, any idea when and do they sail close to the shore? I’d love to go down and see if I could get some pictures :fingers-crossed: How lovely that Geoff celebrated his birthday doing something like this, inspirational! I wish them both all the very best for a good, safe and exciting sail. This just goes to show what a ‘can do’ approach can encourage you to achieve :lol: :cake:

    • VegVamp says:

      Hi honey, It’s been a tad full on for months ;-) yip passing the Kent coastline, but they could be very close in or a mile offshore. It will depend on wind and in particular tide at the narrowest point. If the tide is west going they will be out in it, if it is east going they might try and pick up back eddies close to shore. No idea time wise at the minute but will have a better idea after they start that leg. (Lowestoft to Plymouth). The race tracker gives a position every hour, so worth checking in 3 weeks or so. ;-)

  11. Allan says:

    The Volvo race yachts are moored in cardiff until the 10th of June, I’m going to have to go and look at them. :good:

  12. Allan says:

    I like anything to do with boats/ships , If they built houses out there,I’d buy one, :lol:

  13. cilla says:

    What a lovely interesting blog Karen. I don’t understand the technicalities but the map and photos are very interesting. We visited Kinsale when we lived there. An incredible adventure for celebrating a 70th birthday, Happy Birthday from me, too.I hope they have a fabulous race and enjoy it, whatever position they finish in. :good: :-)

  14. Beanstew says:

    I think I am right in believing that you have done this race yourself, Karen – and obviously have a much greater understanding of the dangers and hazards than most of us. And while these will change with weather and sea conditions . I was wondering if you can identify any particular leg of the race as more hazardous than the others? Which bit did you find the most hairy?

    • VegVamp says:

      Nope, haven’t done this one Sheila, but have done the Round Ireland a few times and the South and west coast of Ireland can be a monster. The Barra to Lerwick one is tricky as it is real ocean stuff, the Lerwick to Lowestoft will be constantly watching for oil and gas rigs and the English channel is a nightmare for shipping, fog, tides and no wind. Take your pick. :lol:

  15. karenp says:

    Really interesting blog Karen, gosh that’s a trek they’re all doing with our coastline, hope they get a chance to take in the scenery on the way but no doubt will be too busy, looking forward to updates on their progress around our wonderful coastline, I wish them all the best and especially a wonderful way to celebrate a 70th birthday :good: :-)

  16. karenp says:

    Have just installed the tracker on my phone so shall be following them now too ;-)

    • VegVamp says:

      The west coasts of Ireland and Scotland are stunning if they get the visibility Karen. :good: The tracker can be a tad addictive. :lol: I’ve just spent an hour working out how many miles they’ve gained on the rest of the fleet overnight. ;-)

  17. Allan says:

    Sounds like your in the boat with them K, Know the feeling,, when my mates are putting updates on fb holding the fish up to rub it in.

    • VegVamp says:

      Can’t help it, can we Al, ;-) They rarely know how they are doing against the other boats, so I can at least let them know that when they are able to use a mobile phone. Just spent an hour hunting for 2 spare winch handles and then posting them off to Barra – DON’T ask. :lol: That daft Tri-maran has taken a real flyer out to the west, he’s so far off the rhumb line he’s now sailing away from the finish line! :confused: Navigator must be asleep. ;-)

  18. karenp says:

    Not sure if ive tracked them correctly but are they now in Plymouth :dunno:

  19. Walt says:

    I have them sailing around SW Ireland.

  20. karenp says:

    Excuse my ignorance as after reading your blog again I see they left from Plymouth and hopefully if I’m reading it correctly they are now heading towards castle bay :confused: , sorry to sound like a right old dummy ;-)

  21. karenp says:

    Hope they all stay safe with the forecast Karen, still following them on the tracker, my hubby said I’m a bit of a stalker :confused: :confused: ;-)

    • VegVamp says:

      Hi Karen, everyone is being so good – and concerned. Aye, it’s looking a bit nasty, so they are heading for some shelter, in Lough Swilly, until they see how it is going to pan out. :good:

  22. gertie says:

    Are they at another stopover now Karen? The Teds are getting ready for another big BLOWwwwww! :lol: :clover: :rose:

    • VegVamp says:

      Hi Anne, don’t think that Atlantic low coming in tomorrow needs any more encouragement ;-) The guys are having a lot of problems with navigation instruments so are going to put into Lough Swilly until the worst of the weather blows through, quite pleased that, for once, they are being sensible. ;-) They are heading for PortSalon in very little wind and will probably not get there till tomorrow. Force 9+ Southerly forecast for tomorrow evening and overnight into Thursday morning :bad: Just hope the rest of the fleet will be ok, it’s looking a tad nasty out towards Shetland.

  23. gertie says:

    Crumbs … sailing is not for wimps is it … Will be sending good vibes Karen xx….. :fingers-crossed: :clover: :rose:

  24. Goodness me Karen, glad they have made a sensible decision to wait the weather out, not that I’m a sailor in any shape or form!! But it makes sense to me. A few worrying days for you though. Shall keep them in my thoughts :rose:

    • VegVamp says:

      Thanks Lynn, just had a call from them, they are sitting in no wind at the minute, and are deeply pee’d off. ;-) Everyone is being so supportive, which is lovely, not that I expect anything else from our wonderful clickers. :rose:

  25. VegVamp says:

    Just a quick update, it would appear that all the yachts that have started leg 3, bar one, have either turned to go back to Barra, or are taking shelter from the predicted Southerly Gale, due tomorrow evening. Just hope the “bar one”, Hissy Fit, will do the same. :fingers-crossed: Great name. ;-)

  26. The calm before the storm??
    Let’s hope Hissy fit, isn’t having a hissy fit :giggle: on a serious note ,I hope they are or have taken shelter!!

    • VegVamp says:

      Yip, a bulge of high pressure with low coming in behind it. They should have a clear 12+ hours of sensible breeze before the gales arrive, so plenty of time to get into Swilly. It looks like a few of the catamarans are heading on, not sure if that is brave or foolhardy. They might make Shetland before it hits, or they could run for shelter on the North Scottish coast, if they aren’t close enough to Shetland. Just love that name, Hissy Fit. ;-)

  27. cilla says:

    We’re all gunning for them and hoping they make good time in order to reach shelter. Have I missed something….Hissy Fit?

  28. Beanstew says:

    Noticed last night that Bare Necessities has retired, and wished we could have access to all the dramas happening on the boats. It’s a big undertaking to enter a race of that magnitude, and I’m sure contestants don’t give up easily. Aren’t we lucky nowadays to have access to decent weather forecasts, and for the knowledge to take shelter in time to avoid danger?

    • VegVamp says:

      She’s in one of my favourite places, Sheila, Tobermory. :love: Did you see somewhere that she had actually retired? They can go in anywhere and then return to the race as long as they cross their track and go back out round all the islands they are supposed to. She was lying 3rd overall so a pity if she has retired. Ah, just checked and she has indeed retired, because of time restraints, what a pity.

  29. karenp says:

    So good to hear that they are taking shelter as when you look at the storm about to hit they do look so vulnerable out there, yes I did notice that it looks like the hissy fit is taking shelter now phew :good: :-)

    • VegVamp says:

      Aye, the 0600 shipping forecast has upgraded the gale warning to a “perhaps storm 10 later” in Malin and Rockall, so not nice. :bad: Glad they are all in striking distance of shelter. :good:

  30. cilla says:

    When we left England for Ireland in 2004 it was gale force nine….and I didn’t feel seasick ;-)

  31. Beanstew says:

    Is everything alright with Wind of Lorne? Looks as though she is still in port, while the others are heading to the Shetland Islands – or have I read the tracker wrongly? Hope everything is OK for Andy and Geoff.

    • VegVamp says:

      No, nothing wrong Sheila, but they only made Barra in the early hours of this morning and have a 2 day enforced stop, before they are allowed to continue. The light airs on the west of Ireland have dropped them back very badly, but they are nothing if not tenacious (stubborn ;-) ). Just a pity that they won’t be “in company” with the other yachts again, but I think they will probably try and finish the Barra to Lerwick leg. Lots of problems with the boat, but it has to be their decision whether to continue or not after that. Andy was amazed and delighted that so many of the clickers were following the race. :rose: The effect of Hector has delayed all the boats badly, so the race office have changed the route slightly, to try and make up some time. They now can approach Lerwick from the South rather than having to go right round the top of the Shetlands and the Lowestoft stopover will be 24hrs instead of 48hrs.

  32. Allan says:

    What problems they having with the boat K, ?Did you get the winch handles to them?

    • VegVamp says:

      Hi Al, the engine is pulling oil into the fuel and then overheating, plus one of the injector sleeve seals has gone and is leaking fumes into the main cabin, which would mean no sleep below decks as it is too risky, so not too clever. :-( Temporary repairs made in Plymouth but they are using the engine as little as possible, in case they need it as an an emergency. Geoff has now decided to re-engine her, pity it hadn’t been done before they left. ;-) Aye, the winch handles should be waiting at the Castlebay Hotel for them (where they are now). Haven’t checked yet as they will need sleep first. ;-)

  33. Allan says:

    Sounds like a gasket has blown on the engine . That’s unusual with the sleeve because they are made of copper and be tightened down harder :good:

    • VegVamp says:

      You’d know a heck of a lot more about it than I would Al, but the marine engineer in Plymouth said that, among other things, he would have needed to take the head off to sort most of it and there just wasn’t time, so that might give you more of an idea as to what all was wrong? :bad:

  34. karenp says:

    Noticed today that they had all moved on now, did wonder wether they had to have they’re 48 hr stopover too, have to admire they’re will and dedication and determination to carry on :good: :-)

  35. I expect they are making up for lost time? Does the sea stay rough for a few days after a storm? Also the wind? I do admire them,I would have given up, especially not being able to sleep!!!

    • VegVamp says:

      Hi Lynn, the sea can indeed stay rough after a storm, especially on exposed west coast where there is nothing between us and America. Not so much with the wind, it can disappear very quickly, depending on how quickly depressions are moving. You sleep when you can, and oddly you get used to a 4 hour on/off watch system. The guys are using 4 hours during the day and 2 hours on/off at night, when the time often drags and you tire much more easily.

  36. Beanstew says:

    I notice Wind of Lorne has left Barra now. Great pity about her engine trouble, as it must be handy/ reassuring to have a second means of propulsion on occasion. Is she continuing with the race, or retiring? I ask, because the course she is setting on the tracker could go either way at the moment.

    • VegVamp says:

      Second attempt at leaving Barra Sheila, as they got a pasting Tuesday/Wednesday in very high seas. They’re going to go up to the North end of Lewis, and make a final decision then, depending on forecast. She is well west of Barra head at the minute, so would like to see her tacking North sooner rather than later. ;-)

  37. Beanstew says:

    Whatever their decision, I take my hat off to both of them. I don’t minimise the dangers and difficulties of what they are doing – and if it was easy, there would have been a lot more than eighteen entries in the race.

  38. Fingers crossed for them, Karen! I’ve only been on a sailing boat once and was a bit scared – this was on a flat lake, too!

  39. dixon says:

    Nothing but admiration for all those taking part Karen :good: , must take a great deal of tenacity to be at sea for so long in all conditions.

  40. gertie says:

    Ooh good luck for them both :fingers-crossed: I hope that they can still enjoy the sailing whatever else…xx :rose:

  41. karenp says:

    Have to admire their will power to carry on, i wish them all the very best :good: :-)

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