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Crew selected for BKA’s Round Britain and Ireland bid

22 July 2010

Crew selected for BKA’s Round Britain and Ireland bid
Eleven of the British Keelboat Academy’s young keelboat sailors are celebrating after earning their call-up for this year’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as the crew of the BKA-run TP52 John Merricks II. The eleven, plus skipper Luke McCarthy, race veteran Nick Cherry and experienced sailors Phil Johnston and Jack Bouttell, will embark upon the famous non-stop 1760nm challenge, which departs from Cowes on Monday 23rd August.
They have earned their berths through a combination of training and races, teamwork, how well they cope with the challenges of offshore sailing, as well as their fitness and commitment to the upkeep and maintenance of the boat.

“The crew has been selected by myself and Ben Willows as well as Luke McCarthy as skipper and Head Coach, with input from others closely involved with the boat,” explained RYA Racing Manager John Derbyshire. “The decisions we’ve made were not easy but we’re delighted with the team and confident that the blend of skills and personalities are what’s needed to create an effective and successful team which can perform to the highest level in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.”
Willows, BKA partner and UKSA Director of Operations added: “A lot of the BKA sailors have both trained and raced on the boat during the season and also put in hours of hard work maintaining the boat and organising other aspects of the campaign including raising the necessary finances. Offshore experience and knowledge of the boat systems was what we prioritised in our decisions – as these factors are key to a successful campaign.”
John Merricks II has already won the RORC St Malo Race, finished second in class at the RORC Cervantes and third overall in the De Guingand Bowl Race, but despite the boat’s early season success, skipper McCarthy is aware that big international competition and demanding conditions could make it hard going for the crew as they embark on their Round Britain and Ireland challenge.
“The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is one of the most gruelling offshore races in the northern hemisphere and the competition is always going to be tough,” he remarked. “I think that one of the major strengths of our team is having the skills to keep the boat in good order and sailing at full speed. For this we will be particularly reliant on Chris Noble and Phil Miller, who have put in a massive effort to get JMII ready and know the boat inside out.” He continued: “Along with this, the crew has a strong team spirit and determination which should allow us to keep pressing hard for the duration of the race as well as get through any difficult situations we face.”
The crew have been training hard for the event including spending time in the gym working on a fitness programme put together by crew member Hamish Macdonald.
McCarthy concluded: “We now have a couple of weekends sailing before the race, which we will be using to test a few new systems and also to bring in some specialists for some final input in a few areas.”
BKA’s partners include B&G, Wild Graphics, Hamble Yacht Services, Harken, Henri Lloyd, North Sails, Ocean Safety, Premium Liferafts, TT Rigging and RORC.
For more information about the Academy visit
The crew have set up a fund raising website to rally more support of their campaign, to find out more visit
You can follow the BKA on Facebook and Twitter @tweetbka and to find out more about the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race clickhere.
Online applications for 2011 BKA squads are now open with selection trials scheduled for 11-12th and 25-26th of September. Applications close at 5pm on Wednesday 18th August. To apply visit

John Merricks II crew for the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race:

Skipper– Luke McCarthy (from Brighton, now lives Southampton)

Helm/trimmer – Chris Noble (from Glasgow, now lives Hamble)

Helm/trimmer – Jo Coad (from Hertfordshire, now lives Southampton)

Helm/trimmer – Phil Johnston (Bangor, Northern Ireland, now lives Cardiff)

Helm/trimmer – Nick Cherry (Solihull, now lives Southampton)

Bow/trimmer – Phil Miller (from Effingham, now lives London)

Pit/trimmer –Peter Knight (Guernsey)

Bow – Chris Dorey (Plymouth)

Navigator – Aaron Cooper (from Walton-on-Thames, now lives Southampton)

Pit/trimmer – Becky Scott (from Wakefield, now lives Fleet)

Pit/trimmer – Sally Olsen (from Newton Ferrers, Devon, now lives Southampton)

Mast/grind/trim – Hamish Macdonald (from Glasgow/Leeds, now lives Oxford)

Trim – Steve Aiken (Southampton)

Trim – Tom Forrester-Coles (from Basingstoke, now lives Cheshire)

Helm/trimmer - Jack Bouttell (born Australia, now lives Hamble)
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