Over 60 yachts may enter Round Britain and Ireland Race

Over 60 expressions of interest have already been received by the RORC for its next Round Britain and Ireland Race which is due to start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on Monday 7th August 2006. The approximate race distance around the British Isles is some 1760 miles and the first yachts should cross the finishing line about ten days after the start.

Last raced in 2000, the Round Britain and Ireland Race was won by the Corby 45 ‘Incisor of Wight’ with Mike Butterfield’s catamaran ‘Dazzler’ taking line honours in 10 days 17 hours, just an hour ahead of Alex Thompson’s Open 50 ‘Sailthatdream.com’, which had led for much of the race.

Unlike the previous race in 2000, next year’s race will be a fully crewed and is open to IRC, IRM, Open 60s and multihulls and is designated a category 1 race under ISAF Special Regulations. Monohulls should have a maximum LOA of 30.5m/100ft and multi hulls should be between 9.15m/30ft and 18.3m/60ft.

Monohulls will be required to have a minimum rating of .950 and all multihull entries will be screened by the RORC on an individual basis in conjunction with MOCRA before permission to enter the race will be granted.

Qualification for entry are that the skippers of each of the yachts and at least 50% of the crew must have completed the 2005 Rolex Fastnet Race or 500 miles of RORC offshore racing in the 12 months preceding the start of the race, in the yacht in which they will race the Round Britain and Ireland Race.

The RORC is in detailed discussions with a main title sponsor for the race and it is hoped that a formal announcement can be made in the next few months.

Commenting on the high level of interest in the Round Britain and Ireland Race 2006, Chris Little, Commodore of the RORC, said: –

“We are changing the format for the 2006 Round Britain and Ireland Race and we feel this will attract more entries than in 2000. We are very pleased with the initial level of interest with over 60 owners indicating they want to take part.

“This is a tough race which is over three times as long as the Fastnet and the skippers and crews will have no let up for nearly 10 days as they battle their way around the coast of Britain. We look forward to a great race.”