Gee contests thrilling leg in Round Britain

Team 747 took the leg for the Historic Class, with Gee just seconds behind

Gee, the oldest boat in the Round Britain Race, came an excruciatingly close second to Team 747 in the Historic Class today.

Gee clocked an overall leg time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 5 seconds, just 17 seconds behind Team 747 in their Fairey Spearfish.

The boats were neck and neck most of the way from Bangor in Northern Ireland to Oban, but calm conditions among the islands of Western Scotland gave the Fairey the edge.

The fastest boat on the day was, which made the 113nm journey in one hour and 43 minutes, with an average speed of 65.77 knots.

This is the second leg win for the team, which moves them back into contention for the title after blowing their engines on the first leg from Portsmouth to Plymouth.

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In the fourth instalment of the Gee blog, Mark Clayton talks to MBM about what must have been a thrilling race with Team 747.

You can read more blogs from the team and see pictures of Gee here .

“I’m absolutely knackered. What a race, it was literally nail-biting all the way from the start. We mustered outside Bangor and the start boat let us all go at the same time. Off everyone went – 35 boats, I think. We went out to sea and 747 went inland to protect themselves from the chop. It was a moderate sea with 2-metre waves so we were going quite nicely. They were right on one side, but we lost sight of them for the first hour, but as we came closer to the islands, and were heading towards the Mull of Kintyre, we saw them a few hundred metres off us.

They then crossed to the other side to get into calmer water and we were neck and neck for the next two hours. We basically straightlined it to get an advantage. But unfortunately for Gee, it was too flat, like a millpond, and against 747 we’re much better in a heavy sea. So we were neck and neck from there up into the islands. We were constantly looking to gain more speed, trimming up on our navigation and trying to find a finer line.

At one point there were two islands and they [Team 747] went one way and we went the other and we came out other side and still neck and neck. They were only 50 yards in front of us coming into Oban. It was a really good battle. We won the first leg, and came joint first in the third because they’ve decided that since we gave the tow that we’d get equal first. And that means we’re still about an hour and a half ahead of the nearest team in our class.

Tomorrow we’re going through the Caledonian Canal, starting at 7.30am in the morning. Through the lochs we can go flat out, and hopefully we’ll arrive at Inverness at about 5.30pm. If possible, we’re going to try and do some waterskiing behind Gee. Tomorrow’s leg is just transportation, and not part of the race. And then Thursday is a lay day, so no racing. Everyone will be fixing their boats and doing final preparations for the difficult run down the North Sea. We may change our props. We’ve got the four-blade props on there at the moment, and the pitch wasn’t quite right when we put her in the water.”

Position: Oban, Scotland
Leg: 113nm
Average speed: 37.86 knots
Weather: Force 4 at the start, dying to Force 2 in the islands, and very flat towards the end



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