It’s just a few hours before the start of the 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race. The non-stop 1,800 mile race will start from Cowes, heading west and take competitors around some of the most technical and challenging areas of sea that the British and Irish coastal areas have to offer

It is guaranteed to be tough with strong tides and potentially a whole load of unsettled weather thrown at the boats and crews as they make their way around the course

We caught up for a chat with Pip Hare and Elin Haf Davies ahead of the race to talk about their class 40 entry into this much anticipated event

Pip spoke to us after a long day on the water, racing during Cowes week. A consummate professional on and off the water, Pip chatted candidly about the planning, or lack thereof, for the RB&I

“Elin has managed to pull together an entry with a class 40 at quite late notice so we haven’t really had the time to practice together on the boat, but we have sailed together in the past quite a lot. We did the Three Peaks race together in 2016 and we had such a great time. Elin was the person who really joined everything up, she’s a total team player”

When asked how they had originally met, Pip smiled and lit up “It must be six years ago now, in 2012, Elin hadn’t really done much sailing at this point, so she jumped aboard my Mini and we went from UK to France. It was a baptism of fire for Elin but despite being sick, she just got on with it. I think that [first trip] really made me respect her. She’s a phenomenally capable woman”

This will be Pip’s first non-stop Round Britain and Ireland race although she has competed in the two handed version with obligatory 48 hour stops. That particular race she cites as possibly her favourite race, next to the Three Peaks race. When not racing Pip can be found coaching on the water or as a regular professional advisor and contributor to Yachting World Magazine

So far this year Pip has covered over 8000 miles on Class 40 alone which pre-qualified her for the RB&I. The standard qualification for this event is 300nm which Elin and her husband Frosty will have completed with this specific boat before the start on Sunday

With just three people on board rather than the standard crew of four, we asked if this would be a disadvantage to them during the race

Pip responded “we did ask the few people we knew we could depend on as valuable crew members but they were already committed to other events, so we decided that it was better to work as three really compatible and reliable crewmates and not risk spoiling the dynamic with a wildcard 4th member. We have a first generation Class 40, so we know we aren’t likely to be winning any silverware, we want to enjoy the experience as well as be as competitive as we can be”

Elin caught up with us by telephone and we asked when she first decided that the RB&I was a race she wanted to compete in

“I watched the last edition avidly, back in 2014. I was hooked to it and decided we should enter, but I needed to find a Class 40. We’ve chartered this one. The entry name is Aparito, named after my company which provides digital health care monitoring”

She continues “I had considered doing the race double handed but I also wanted to gain more confidence with the Class 40 so Pip is the perfect person to have on board as she has already covered so many miles with the class and we get on so well. I want to make it a fun and learning experience”

“if we enjoy this event then hopefully we [Elin and her husband Frosty] can invest in the Class 40 scene”

On hearing this, we asked what would be next on Elin’s list of events she would like to do?

“I’d like to look at the Transat Jacques Vabre race, but Frosty and I have a big dream that we would one day like to do the Barcelona World race”

Back to Pip, we asked what was next for her?

“Well first I’ll be writing up the road book for this race, looking out for how closely we can pass on certain corners, any useful notes that could help us along the way. I’ll be comparing my road book notes with theirs later this week”

But what about after this event, any plans?

“Ah, yes, I do have quite a big project ahead, I can’t reveal all yet, but keep a close eye on my Facebook page and I’ll be making an announcement mid-September!”

For further insight from Pip and Elin on how to get into racing and get race experience look out for our follow up story next week

Follow the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race at:  http://roundbritainandireland.rorc.org/  and on RORC Social Media:

Start: Noon on Sunday 12th August – RYS line, Cowes (the fleet will head east). Watch the start live from 11.30am Sunday 12th August

Interview by: Jayne Toyne/The Magenta Project

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