Round Lundy Yacht Race

 July saw Ilfracombe Yacht Club holding the 16th annual Round Lundy Yacht Race.

Since the inaugural race in 2005, this has become one of the classic sailing events in the Bristol Channel. The winner receives the ‘Trafalgar Cup’ in recognition of a little-known connection between Ilfracombe and that momentous sea battle off Cape Trafalgar. When HMS Pickle sailed into Falmouth with the terrible news of Nelson’s death, it was an Ilfracombe lad, Lt Lapenotire, the Captain of the HMS Pickle, who conveyed the news onwards by road to the Admiralty in London.

The Round Lundy Race is not for the faint hearted. If all goes well a race duration of between 8 and 12 hours lies ahead. Starting on the morning ebb tide outside Ilfracombe Harbour, a good race is dependent on catching the tidal gate at Lundy. Miss it, and your race is effectively over. Catch it right, and the steep rugged cliffs of the granite island can be circumnavigated before you begin the homeward run back to Ilfracombe to capitalise on the evening flood tide.

But it’s not a straightforward run for the finish line. Skippers and crews need to be prepared to face a  variety of challenging conditions on this open water event with a sailing distance in excess of 55 miles. Navigation needs to be given careful consideration. The Stanley Bank, a couple of miles north of Lundy, whips up The White Horses race. Then the West Bank, the Hens and Chicken reef and Black Rock all need to be negotiated. Heavy tidal overfalls and eddies, the ever-present Atlantic swell and numerous fishing markers all need to be navigated. And then there is the wind direction and strength to consider. Indeed, it is the rough sea conditions around the island which give rise to the local nickname of ‘Lumpy Island’.

With a start time of 08:30hrs, the 25 yachts taking part were faced with very light winds and calm seas, making for a slow and difficult start. Yachtsmen were working hard to make the best of every breath of air. Once underway, an exciting race was enjoyed by all, with the first boat back across the line being HAVOC in a time of 08:52:40. A total of five boats failed to make the 20:00hrs cut of time.

The full results are:

Class 1 1st   RAINSONG

Class2  1st  VOLITION

Class 3  1st SKIPJACK MOON

The overall, time corrected winner of the ‘Trafalgar trophy’ was ‘VOLITION’.

The Masons Trophy for the highest placed IYC members Yacht was won by Dan Taylor on ‘ May Breeze’.

Details of the 17th race to be held in 2023, will be published as soon as the necessary arrangements are made.


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