The RFYC Orkney Race – 2013 – Finished in Record Time

PostScript:  See Racing News for the prize giving and beyond.

P.S.2 Bodhrán’s Tale of the journey is on a video.

This post has been following the Orkney Race.  Tom Wilson, sailing with John Spencely, Patrick Carnie and George Brown on Peak Flow, has kept us posted on progress by text messages.  We also got Tweets from the Fisherrow boats, Sulumar (David Banks) ( and Bodhran (Little Doses) .   Our thanks to them all for the reports which have kept us in touch with the progress of the race.

Final Report from Tom Wilson:  Received 08:26.  All boats now safely berthed at Kirkwall Marina.  Looks like it could be Fisherrow boats first and second.  I’m sure that there will be lots of stories to tell.  All boats finished within 36 hours.  A record that will be hard to beat.

Screen Shot 2013-06-15 at 07.31.38The Finish

PeakFlow10.  06:47  Finished just before 06:00 about 1½ hours behind Aros More.  Now motoring into Kirkwall in pouring rain – the first of the trip.  No word on Sulumar & Bodhran.  Moonstruck will be in already.  All in all a very good race for us, but all now tired and looking forward to a bit of a rest.  Bacon rolls by Tom appreciated by the skipper and crew after the finish.

Sulumar9 .  06:30 Sulumar and Bodhran safely over the finish line within 10 mins of each other. Heading for Kirkwall

Saturday morning – after midnight

Bodhran4.  Now passing first of islands surrounding Orkney, our course paid off, both Peak Flow and Sulumar in sight,

Sulumar8.  05:00 The sun didn’t go far over the horizon as we crossed the Moray Firth. Copinsay to port

Sulumar7.  04:55 Beautiful Sunrise over the North Sea. 3 yachts within a couple of miles of Sulumar at 56° 47.636’N, 2° 10.591’W

PeakFlow8.  03:30  8 miles to go.  WInd ESE 10 kts.  ETA still 06:00.  According to AIS, ArosMore is about 5 miles ahead and should finish at about 04:00.  No sign of the others.

PeakFlow9.  00:30 25 miles to go – wind lighter SE.  Still making 5 kts over ground.  Beautiful night if a wee bit cooler.  ETA still 0600.


Sulumar6.  Crossing Moray Firth. Signal might get patchy so will tweet when we can. Sun’s out, F4 behind us, weeee!  57° 55.493’N, 1° 53.978’W

Sulumar5.  15:15 Siesta time on Sulumar; position: 57° 46.277’N, 1° 48.345

Sulumar4.  12:50 Contemplating a gybe at Rattray Head. Firstly a cup of tea

PeakFlow8  12:12   Past Peterhead doing 7.3 kt over ground.  Wind S 20kts.  Aros More pulling away a bit as we have dropped the spinny for the time being.  ETA the finish about 06:00 if this wind holds.  This may be the last message for a few hours [as they will be crossing the Moray Firth and out of signal range].  Sulumar is about 2.4 miles back, Bodhran is not in sight.  Moonstruck is about 2 hours ahead of us at a guess.

PeakFlow7.  10:29  10 miles South of Peterhead with spinny set in 20kts S. Doing 8.5 kt SOG.  Just done our  first ever spinny gybe – exciting!  Moonstruck about 15 miles ahead.  Aros More 1.5 miles ahead.  Sulumar 1 mile behind out to sea.  Lovely sunny morning.

Sulumar3  09:40 The night crew were woken with a spinnaker gybe and the smell of sausages on Sulumar touching 8kts

Bodhran3.  Another broach snapping the bowsprit, thinking of renaming her Yacht Broachy Ann. Passing Peterhead, lumpy seas, wind from S

PeakFlow6.  0615 beautiful sunny morning and we are going well. JS very happy with his new spinny. Aros More now closer ahead with her spinny up.  Sulumar is 300 m astern and  Bodhran is 1 mile behind – she seemed to have some sail problem earlier.  Now just 3 ml SE of Stonehaven waiting for a forecasted shift to E/SE later in the day.

PeakFlow5. 0400  We have just hoisted  our spinnaker for the first time in the race – second time ever.  Wind is SW 10-12 kts.  We are now tail-end-charlie Aros More is at least 2 miles ahead.  Bodhran is 200 metres ahead and Sulumar ½ mile ahead.  He was first to hoist his spinny at about 02:00

Sulumar2.  04:55 Beautiful Sunrise over the North Sea. 3 yachts within a couple of miles of us.

Thursday Night Update

PeakFlow4 01:24 Friday.  5 miles north of Bell Rock.  Just got ahead of Bodhran.  Wind 10kts; SOG 6kts.  Could do with a bit more as the tide turns against us at 02:00.  George and Patrick are off watch  and fast asleep – some snoring heard – allegedly.  Good average speed so far – 6.5 kts.

Bodhran2 Just abeam of the Bell Rock lighthouse, Dundee off to port, keeping pace with the Contessa 32, Sulumar close behind.

PeakFlow3. 23:30 Thursday. Now well past North Carr.  Aros More about 1 mile ahead. Bodhran abeam, Sulumar ½mile astern.  Wind 18 kts – a fine night for a sail.  SOG 8 kts.

They’re off

The race started on schedule at 19:00 with  the 5 boats getting off to a cracking start with brisk westerly winds.   They include Aros More, now fully recovered from her wrecking last September, and our own entry, Peak Flow.

Liz Tulloch reports:
Yachts taking part in the Orkney Race hosted by our club got away to a good start on Friday night.
Unfortunately the sun did not shine that evening and the sea was grey and lumpy in comparison with last week weather.
Nevertheless all were looking forward to the voyage and returning to Kirkwall.

Bodhran1.  Big drama off Elie, popped the kite up, but pole downhaul snapped. Massive broach took minutes to recover the kite, lost loads.

PeakFlow2. 11 miles in the first 90 minutes.  Steady at 7 kts over ground in a wonderful sailing breeze.    The watch system is up and running.

The first reports are from Tom on Peak Flow:

Peak Flow1. All boats round Inchkeith by 19:30.  At this point all the boats are within half a mile of each other.  Wind is westerly at 20+ knots and seeing a boat speed of 9.6kts over ground.

And From David Banks on Sulimar:

Sulimar1.  And we’re off! Plenty wind!  Surfing down the Forth under twin headsails and full main.

The background

The popular bi-annual RFYC Orkney Race starts from Granton on Thursday 13th June. This will be the fourth running of the race that was first held in 2007.  For more history of the race and a taste of what is involved go to the Orkney Race Post.

The race starts on the evening of Thursday 13th June and dependent on wind conditions boats usually arrive at Kirkwall on Saturday or Sunday. The distance to Kirkwall is approximately 220 miles. The finish is a few miles from Kirkwall and after finishing boats usually head for Kirkwall Marina.  Kirkwall Marina kindly offers free berthing for entrants for up to 3 days.  There is a prize giving held at Orkney Sailing Club on the Monday evening.

There are three classes, Fast & Slow Handicap and Restricted Sail. Boats in the
Restricted Sail Class may not use spinnakers or cruising chutes.

Entries at the time of writing (11 June) are:

Boat name            Type                        Club            H’cap                Class Entered

Aros More         Endurance 37            FCYC            1010                     Slow
Bodhran            Sun Odyssey 32          FYC             1060                     Slow
Peak Flow         Contessa 32               RFYC            1019                    Slow
Sulumar            Moody 27                    FYC              1147                   Slow
Moonstruck       RO 400                      PEYC              840                     Fast

The progress

Reporting starts on Thursday evening when the boats set off.

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