For the remaining boats left out there sailing the Round Britain and Ireland, the race has become a battle of attrition. If you can keep your wits, the boat in one piece, battle the fatigue and keep on sailing, you have risen to the challenge of a shot at glory. The storm off the western isles really took its toll with huge seas and hurricane force winds ripping through the fleet and scattering them in its wake like so much flotsam. In IRC class 1, La Promesse confirmed her retirement from the race and has been followed by Palpatine , which limped into Stornoway to give her shattered crew a much needed rest from the relentless buffeting of wind and wave.
Yet every cloud has a silver lining, and while others accepted defeat, Saga powered on bloodied but not beaten and has now taken the overall lead in IRC 1. Shipper Peter Hopps fills us in on the drama which unfolded once they turned the corner into the Irish Sea:
“Our trip up to Muckle Flugga slowed as we got closer and we ended up beating round it in quite a light and pleasant breeze. The wind filled in as expected from the SW, before veering NW and increasing to around Force 9. When our third reef pennant broke we dropped the main and have been sailing under headsail only since. You may have picked up a sudden slowing down on the tracker. This is probably a good thing as we have had a more comfortable sail and have put less pressure on everything. Life onboard is a little damp at present, but I’m sure it’s a lot better for us than for some of the others. The hand-hold we rigged up in the saloon is now also doing duty as a clothes line. Looking forward to our beef stew for dinner.”