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The Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup – Going Round the Bend

Filed under Chairman's Cup

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The RORC recognised 230-mile yacht race, started from Bandar Al Rowdha Marina, Muscat on Saturday 24th November and finishes in the remote northern province of Musandam, located in the spectacular fjords in the Strait of Hormuz. A record number of 13 Yachts are competing this year using the RORC IRC system, vying for a share of the $50,000 prize fund, generously donated by The Bank of Beirut.

The decisive part of the race looks set to be the approach and negotiation of The Strait of Hormuz. In the 19th century, it was the location of a British repeater station used to send messages from London to Karachi. It was not an easy posting for the operators and is thought to be the origin of the term “go round the bend” with a reference to the heat making British officers desperate to return to civilization, which meant a voyage around the bend in the Strait of Hormuz. Two Rally Class yachts chose to motor to Khasab; Sarah Baerschmidt’s Omnia and Gordon Joyce’s Talitha. However, the IRC racing yachts in The Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup still have to ‘go round the bend’ and it looks like it might not be a straightforward task.

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After their second night at sea, the IRC Racing division is past halfway. The fleet enjoyed fast conditions in the early part of the race. Doug Hassell, skipper of First 44.7, Diablo was leading the race going into the first night and called in by Thuraya XT Satellite phone. “Diablo got a great start with spinnaker up in nine knots of breeze until the first night came in and the wind dropped to just zephyrs, we worked hard to keep the boat going, looking for pressure on the water by moonlight.”

During the second day, a light easterly breeze suited the Farr 30s, overtaking Diablo, an intense battle is building between the lighter displacement Farr 30s. However, after time correction Matt Britton’s J/92, Privateer racing Two-Handed, is very much in contention. David Worrall’s First 36.7, Shahrazad is also going well. The tactical decision, facing the teams this morning, is whether to sail the extra miles to shore in search of sea breeze or to remain offshore and use the south easterly gradient, which is expected to build to ten knots during the day, especially as the funnel effect of The Strait of Hormuz starts to kick in. Sonke Stein’s Dust Devil made a play for the inshore option early in the race and it will be interesting to see if the tactic pays off.

A close battle for the $50,000 prize fund is expected to conclude today or early tomorrow. The wind is expected to pick up later today. However, weather models predict rain coming in from the northwest by midnight tonight, which could bring much heavier wind in the squalls. At daybreak tomorrow 12 – 15 Knots is expected from the northwest, which will be on the nose as the fleet come through The Strait of Hormuz, it is likely that the yachts will experience a rough last night at sea, a final twist to this fascinating race is a definite possibility.

www.xtra-track.com/regatta – Satellite Tracking

www.xtra-track.com/regatta – Satellite Tracking

The GWM Racing Team have arrived in the remote province of Musandam, the 300 miles road-drive to Khasab included some spectacular scenery through the rugged mountains of the northern most province of Oman with its lagoons, mountains & fjords, Musandam is a spectacular setting for the finish of The Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup.

Dubai based communications company, Xtra-Link has equipped the yachts with the latest satellite communications equipment. Including Thuraya XT satellite phones and hi-tech tracking devices. Allowing race fans, all over the world, to watch the race live. http://www.xtra-track.com/regatta

Louay Habib

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