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Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race: Class40 combat zone

by Louay Habib 21 Jun 10:12 BST 7 August 2022
One of the class favourites for the RORC's Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race - Palanad 3, skippered by Antoine Magre (FRA) with an international crew including Spain's Pablo Santurde and two Irishmen, James Crampton and James Murphy © Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex

Ten Class40s are among the entries and expressions of interest for the 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The race record for a monohull 40ft or less was set in the last edition in 2018 by Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy in eight days four hours 14 mins and 49 secs. This year, realistically, seven Class40s can be considered capable of beating that record, but the legendary brutality of the 1,805 nautical mile race means that all of the Class40s are capable of winning their class.

Palanad 3 can be considered one of the class favourites for the 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Skippered by France's Antoine Magre, Palanad 3 has an international crew including Spain's Pablo Santurde and two Irishmen, James Crampton and James Murphy. In 2021 Palanad 3 was the champion Class40 in the Rolex Fastnet Race and took line honours in the RORC Transatlantic Race. In 2018, Antoine Magre was on Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra for the race, winning overall under IRC (Elapsed time: 9 days 8 hrs 35 mins 16 secs).

"This race is going to be tough because of the course and the level of the competition is very high," commented Antoine Magre. Entries in the Class40 division are expected from an international fleet with teams from Finland, France, Great Britain, Ireland and the United States.

(Just in - Antoine Magre's Class40 Palanad 3 on delivery home following the RORC Morgan Cup Race. RORC Facebook)

Xavier Macaire is set for the race with his new Verdier designed Groupe SNEF. Xavier has competed in 11 editions of La Solitaire du Figaro and narrowly missed taking the overall win for 2022. Macaire's first race in his Class40 was the Normandy Channel Race and is currently ranked fifth in the 2022 Class40 Championship.

Andrea Fornaro has entered his 2022 VPLP designed Influence for the race and has been racing Class40s for over 10 years, including coming second in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race as crew for Peraspera.

Laurent Camprubi has announced that he will be racing Groupe Berkem Two-Handed for the race with Edgard Vincens. A tough challenge for the 62 year-old Frenchman and his crew who are both new to Class40 racing. Laurent hails from Marseille and has enjoyed success in IRC racing and has completed the 2022 Transat Jacques Vabre in another Class40. Camprubi will be racing with his new scow design boat from the drawing board of top Mini Transat designer Etienne Bertrand.

The 2014 Sam Manuard designed Tquila is expected to be racing with a team led by James McHugh and the multiple world record phenomenon Brian Thompson. The Mach 40 design was second in the 2014 Route du Rhum and won class in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600. Brian Thompson is no stranger to the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. In 2014, Thompson and the crew of Artemis-Team Endeavour smashed the Round Britain and Ireland record in the IMOCA category (Elapsed time of 5 days, 14 hrs, 00 mins and 54 secs), finishing the race second overall under IRC.

Greg Leonard has raced thousands of miles along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and ramped up to the Sam Manuard designed Kite in 2020, often racing with his teenage son Hannes. The Mach 40.3 was built in 2015 for Maxime Sorel, winning the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race and Transat Jacques Vabre.

Marc Dubos has been racing thousands of miles in Class40s since 2009 and since 1997 in the Mini Transat Class. His Marc Lombard designed Akilaria 2 La Rochelle Nautique was launched in 2009. Dubos has vast experience which will be a real asset and for him the race is unfinished business after failing to finish in 2018.

Jasper Golyer's Finot designed Peregrine was launched in 2009 and is the second oldest Class40 in the race. Golyer hails from Ireland and is the first Irish skipper to take on the race in the Class40 division.

Ari Känsäkoski has entered his Finnish Class40 Fuji which he raced in 2018, finishing in just over 12 days with a crew of seven. Ari's preparations for the 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race include the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race and the inaugural Roschier Baltic Sea Race. The 2007 Owen Clarke designed Fuji may be the oldest Class40 in the race but that does not mean Fuji cannot win. In 2014, the oldest boat in the race; Roderick Knowles' Swish was the only Class40 to finish, beating all of the modern boats. "To finish first, first you must finish." Is very true for the quadrennial RORC race.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is one of the toughest races in the official Class40 calendar. Since 2010, twenty-six Class40s have attempted to complete the course; only eight have succeeded.

?Palanad 3's Antoine Magre explains that crew preparation for the 1,805nm race is key to a successful performance: "Racing with four on board is very different to racing solo or double-handed. The intensity is different but with a full crew you can push even harder. One of the biggest challenges of the race is sleep management, making sensible decisions when you are sleep deprived is hard; putting in a reef or hoisting a bigger spinnaker can be game-changing decisions for this race. Nutrition is another important area; having the right balance of carbohydrate, protein and minerals and of course rehydration."

Magre continues his advice for crews taking part in the toughest race in the RORC programme: "For fitness, I like high intensity workouts such as CrossFit to raise the level of lactic acid, followed by endurance training. In essence trying to mimic the physical stress of a manoeuvre, followed by the endurance effort of lifting sails. In a practical sense you also have to be smart. Anticipating a change in the conditions can be very cost saving, but sometimes it is better not to solve an issue straight away, waiting for the right moment can be more efficient."

First organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in 1976, the 1,805nm Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race is a true marathon of epic proportions. Held every four years, the next edition will start on Sunday 7th August 2022 from the Royal Yacht Squadron startline in Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK.

For more information about the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, visit here.

Entries and expressions of interest here

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