RB&I 1966

The first Round Britain & Ireland Race

The first Round Britain and Ireland Race (then called the Round Britain Race) was blessed with predominantly fair winds ensuring 10 out of the 16 starters completed the course. The result was significant in that the first 6 to finish were multihulled and the remaining 4 monohulled. There were 5 retirements and 1 disqualification.

Derek Kelsall entered a brand new boat of his own design, a 42ft trimaran called Toria. The crew was putting the finishing touches to her right up to the starting gun. She then went out in front and stayed there throughout the race. Her time of 19 days 17 hours was not beaten until 1974. Snow Goose, owned and skippered by Don Robertson, was a ten year old Prout designed cruising catamaran of 36½ft. She had been consistently well sailed over the years and finished only 15 hours behind the winner. Her crew was David Cooksey. Next came Iroquois, sailed by Mike and Peter Ellison. She was a production cruising catamaran of 30ft, designed by Rod Macalpine-Downie. She was however specially prepared for the race and could not be said to have been in her normal cruising mode. Iroquois came only 15 hours behind Snow Goose and won the Genesta Trophy for the first yacht on handicap. The fourth to finish was Startled Faun, an Arthur Piver designed trimaran of 33ft. She was sailed by Eric Willis and crewed by Tony Smith. After her came the 40ft catamaran Mirrorcat, designed by Rod Macalpine-Downie and sailed by Stephen Fearon-Wilson with the designer as crew. She was another new boat and suffered from insufficient trial time before the race. She damaged her mast on the way to the start and was delayed 8 hours in Plymouth. The sixth multihull to finish was Victress, a 40ft trimaran designed by Arthur Piver and owned and sailed by Nigel Tetley who had used her as his floating home for three years before the race. She was ketch rigged and sailed the race in her normal cruising trim.

The first monohull to finish was Severn, at 47½ feet the largest of the fleet. She was a William Fife designed 8 metre and at the time of the race was 36 years old. She was sailed by her owner, Tony Wheeler, and crewed by Angus Buchan. In the early days of short-handed sailing races, 47½ feet was considered ‘a very large yacht for two people to race hard over such a long course’. But it was eclipsed in the next race by a 71 footer and, in the one after that, a yacht of 80ft.

Leslie Williams and his crew, D.D. Mathews, sailed Blue Saluki (36½ft) into 8th place. 9th came Dinah a 33ft sloop which had been virtually salvaged by her owner, Alex Smith, and re-rigged as a Bermudian sloop. Last to finish was a new 41½ft Class II ocean racer designed by Kim Holman and built by A.H. Moody. She was skippered by her owner, Bernard McManus and crewed by J.A. Macadam. Amongst those who did not finish, there were three fairly revolutionary boats. Blondie Hasler entered a very radical flat bottomed, slab sided 45½ footer, to designs produced in association with a model yacht designer. She was called Sumner, and with his wife Bridget, they were doing well until shortly after leaving Barra she suffered a damaged rudder and was forced to retire to Castle Bay. Matamona was a swingfloat trimaran designed by John Westell and sailed by Gilbert Turner and George Langwell, but after reaching Lerwick the crew had to return home so she retired. The trimaran Tao finished the course, but with only one person on board, so suffered automatic disqualification. It seems there was some disagreement which resulted in one of the two stepping ashore. This problem was to recur in a later race.

This first Round Britain Race was enormously encouraging for multihullers, who had been largely ostracized by the rest of the racing fraternity, and for whom there were very few ocean racing opportunities. It showed everyone what multihulled yachts could do.

Plymouth  –  Crosshaven  –  Castlebay  –  Lerwick  –  Harwich  –  Plymouth   02/07/1966  10:30:00   Started: 16   Finished: 10
Skipper Crew Yacht type loa class rank at stops  Elapsed    time Correctd time O/A rank Class rank Corr rank Nat
Kelsall, Francis Minter-Kemp, Martin Toria T 42 19 17 23 19 17 23 1 4 GBR
Robertson, Blondie Cooksey, David Snow Goose C 36.5 20 09 16 18 09 16 2 2 GBR
Ellison, Mike Ellison, Peter Iroquois XIII C 30 21 00 50 16 18 50 3 1 GBR
Willis, J.L.E. Smith, Tony Startled Faun T 33 22 11 46 20 23 46 4 6 GBR
Fearon-Wilson, S. Macalpine-Downie, Rod Mirrorcat C 40 23 10 27 22 22 27 5 9 GBR
Tetley, Nigel Field, J.M.M. Victress T 40 24 21 56 19 21 56 6 5 GBR
Wheeler, A. Buchan, A.M. Severn M 47.5 25 04 16 22 04 16 7 8 GBR
Williams, Leslie Mathews, D.D. Blue Saluki M 36.5 27 00 04 21 18 04 8 7 GBR
Smith, Alex Berry, W.H. Dinah M 33 28 17 36 18 17 36 9 3 GBR
McManus, B.C. Mcadam, J.A. Mabel Amelia M 41.5 30 01 05 26 01 05 10 10 GBR
Pearce, K.P. Fenwick, J. Whiplash M 31 Retired: Masthead fitting problem GBR
Gibbon, R. Gibbon, W.H.F. Manito C 30 Retired at Barra – business reasons GBR
Hasler, H.G. Blondie Hasler, Bridget Sumner M 45.5 Retired during 3rd leg – rudder damaged GBR
Turner, L.G. Plum, G.L. Matamona T 41 Retired in Lerwick – crew had to go home GBR
Edwards, H.R.A. Burrough, R.J. Tao T 41 Disqualified – finished with only 1 on board GBR
Wharram, James Hempel, M. Tiki Roa T 38 Retired GBR


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