Race hit by Storm Hector

RWYC Two-handed RB&I hit by Storm Hector

In the midst of Storm Hector, the biggest summer storm to hit North West Scotland for 30 years, The Royal Western Yacht Club has taken the unprecedented decision to re-route Leg 3 (Castlebay to Lerwick) of the two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Most of the race competitors have been forced to remain in the Hebridean Leg 2 stopover port of Castlebay, Barra due to Force 8-10 winds and high seas. A second major depression system is due to descend on the race course next Monday. Compounding the weather issues, MOD are active in their firing range out to St Kilda, enforcing an extensive no-go zone which would adversely affect the fleet.

With competitor safety paramount and a relatively short window of acceptable weather available for Leg 3, the Race Committee has decided to remove St Kilda from the route and allow the fleet to pass south of Shetland, leaving Sumburgh Head to port, arriving into Lerwick from the south. This decision should reduce passage time by at least 12 hours and avoid the fleet sailing head-on into severe conditions as they approach Lerwick.

After a protracted Leg 2 due to persistent light winds, and now the heavy weather delays around Leg 3, the Race Committee has also decided to reduce the mandatory stop for each boat in the Leg 4 port of Lowestoft from 48hrs to 24hrs.

“In the 52 year history of this iconic race weather has rarely affected it this badly” said the Race Director, David Searle, “but safety is our first consideration and shortening the course will help mitigate the impact on the competitors.”