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Round Britain & Ireland Race 2006

Saturday, 19 August 2006
Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks makes it home sweet home Following 10 days, 20 hours and 55 minutes at sea, Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks has finally made it home, crossing the finish line for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race at 14:55 pm on Friday 18 August The Farr 45 is the sixth boat out of 28 to finish the event, an impressive result for such a novice crew. The young amateur crew were all smiles, cheers and hugs as a sense of relief swept across the deck. The 1760 mile journey began in Cowes, Isle of Wight, but the training, boat preparation and campaign began months earlier when the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme set them the offshore challenge. “We have prepared for this trip for the last 18 months and to finally have completed the race is such an amazing feeling.” Connor Myant, 22 from London explained shortly after stepping onto the pontoon. The crew, with an average age of only 23 are certainly some of the younger sailors in this competition and for many on board Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks, this trip was the longest offshore race that they have ever completed. “It was a massive challenge.” 21 year-old Nicky Macgregor of Lymington enthused. “I have enjoyed the entire trip from beating up the coast of Ireland, to surfing the waves in the North Sea, to the crew banter when light winds held us back.” The Round Britain and Ireland race threw up a series of challenges for the young team, all of which were met with fierce determination and the desire to succeed. The team were kept on their toes by the ever changing weather which brought everything from 40 knots to 0 knots of wind. A string of boat and sail problems forced the team to make emergency repairs, at one point stitching the mainsail at one o’clock in the morning shortly before rounding Muckle Flugga, the northern most point. Offshore Yachtsman Nigel King was onboard to mentor the team and was impressed with their performance. “This crew really stepped up to the plate and proved that they are the keelboat sailors of tomorrow. They drew together as a team and each of the ten sailors put their heart and soul into this race. Everyone carried their weight. I was really impressed with this young crew.” Bath’s Jamie Holmes, 22 summed up the general feeling on board the boat. “What a great trip, what an experience! It has been one of the hardest things we have ever done but also one of the most memorable.” Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks was being crewed by members of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme. The boat and the Round Britain and Ireland Campaign are supported by Unlimited Sailing, the Peter Harrison Foundation and the John Merricks Trust. ‘Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks’ crew Nigel King, East London - Skipper Rob Hoey, Newton Abbot - Co Skipper/Bowman Jamie Holmes, Bath - Boat Captain/Trimmer Nicky Macgregor, Poole – Watch Leader/Trimmer James Roche, Southampton – Watch Leader/Trimmer Ed Hill, Guildford – Watch Leader/Trimmer Jeremy Fowke, Weymouth – Trimmer Charlotte Lawrence, Lymington, Edinburgh University – Trimmer Nick Cherry, Southampton – Helm Jonny Marshall, Lymington – Helm Connor Myant, London – Helm

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