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Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Thursday, 3 June 2010 15:17 UK

Plymouth set to host Round Britain and Ireland race

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Devon sailors prepare for big race

The 12th Shetland Round Britain and Ireland race gets underway from Plymouth on Sunday.

The race, which has more than 50 yachts entered, is one of the international classics of short-handed sailing.

The course goes clockwise around Great Britain and Ireland, and includes four compulsory 48 hour stops at Kinsale, Barra, Lerwick and Lowestoft.

Seven different nationalities are represented in the fleet, with the majority coming from Great Britain.

Local interest comes from Devon sailor's Alex Bennett and Malcolm Dickinson, who are confident of a podium finish on their Class 40 yacht Fujifilm.

Bennett, who was the first British finisher in the 2008 Artemis Transat race, told BBC Spotlight: "The Round Britain and Ireland race is a more varied test of seamanship and endurance as opposed to a transatlantic race.

"It's really one of the must-do events on the short handed ocean racing calendar.

"Both Malcolm and I have done the race before and we know what to expect. but it's a fantastic challenge, not just for the crews that are going to take part but also for the boats as well it's a very tough race."

With prior experience behind him, Dickinson is very aware of the challenges that lie ahead.

"I think some of the conditions will be pretty extreme," he said.

"Last time going out from Barra into the Atlantic Ocean there were massive waves, so there will be some tough conditions but it is a great race so we're looking forward to it and we think we're ready."

Cornwall is also well represented amongst the competitors, with six sailors from the county set to compete, including Penzance's Andrew Wood who is the co-skipper on Streamline.

Wood told BBC Cornwall that preparations for the race having been going well for him and skipper Leslie Ivine.

"Streamline's very well fitted out and she's looking good at the moment, and we've been working quite hard to make sure she's up to scratch so we're quite happy with her really," he said.

"Everybody's out there to try and win and do their best so we're aiming to keep in the top fifth of our class which is in the 30ft range of boats."



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