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Features / Maggie comes ninth in round Britain and Ireland sailing race

Photo: James Tomlinson

LOCAL sailor Maggie Adamson is back enjoying some well-deserved home comforts after spending 14 days at sea travelling almost 2,000 miles around the UK in the Sevenstars Round Britain and Ireland race.

Adamson and sailing partner Gavin Howe, who competed as as part of a two-handed team, came ninth overall and eighth in the doublehanded category.

Speaking about the race, she said: “It was a 14-day competition, so you can’t relax. You get up at 3am and you’re right into it.”

The racing partners experienced different extremes in weather while competing against 29 other sailing teams.

Adamson said: “Racing around Britain, just shy of 2,000 miles, means you get a little bit of everything. The first week we really had next to no wind.”

She added: “It was so intense as there were four boats racing with us all the way round, and you’re trying to get every breath of wind. If you can see another boat has picked up some wind, you’re trying to move, so you get it too. It was relentless.”

Howe and Adamson sailed on a Sun Fast 3600 sailing boat called Tigris. They set off from the Isle of Wight on 7 August and arrived back earlier this week.

Photo: James Tomlinson.

Sailing up to Shetland was a particular challenge, Adamson said: “Shetland definitely lived up to its reputation.

“Coming up to Shetland, we had a lot of rain and wind, a different extreme. It was difficult to even get your breeks on, never mind everything else.”

Adamson started sailing when she was 11 at the Lerwick Boating Club, but said she “always had a fascination with the sea.”.

She added: “I just love being on the water. My family on my dad’s side all sail and have fishing boats.

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“Living and growing up in Shetland makes it part of your heritage.”

It was only during Covid that she got involved in offshore racing, although she had been sailing since school.

Adamson could take part in online training during the pandemic and started going south to England to compete in races.

She said: “Once things opened up, I was able to go down and do a race. Part of the stipulation with the new class was that it had to be male and female, so I went down for a race and ended up staying for the rest of the season in 2020.”

The Sevenstars race was nail-biting right down to the finish line. She added: “We were racing so close, the entire way around.

“Six boats finished with an hour of each other. The last three hours were a drag race. It was close right to the end.”

Adamson spent the summer as a skipper on The Swan in the Tall Ships race, and will re-join the crew in Unst today (Sunday) for a family-friendly sailing day out.

She also volunteers on the RNLI Lerwick Lifeboat as she enjoys “giving something back” to the community.

Her next race will be around Italy in November, competing in another double-handed sailing race from Venice to Genoa. The race is expected to take from eight to 12 days.

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