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Spectacular Round Ireland Race Start from Wicklow Harbour

29th June 2018
The Round Ireland Race start where Niall Dowling's Baraka GP makes a perfect start then shreds her spinnaker.... The Round Ireland Race start where Niall Dowling's Baraka GP makes a perfect start then shreds her spinnaker.... Credit: Afloat.ie

There was a stunning start to the 20th Round Ireland Yacht Race today when the Volvo race favourite blew a spinnaker moments after the 700–mile race began off Wicklow Harbour. See Race tracker here

It only added to the drama of the colourful sailing spectacle that has attracted a significant international entry and hundreds of shoreside spectators plus a flotilla of support boats for the Irish classic offshore fixture.

Round Ireland race start Baraka GP 3762Niall Dowling's crew deal with the shredded kite Photo: Afloat.ie

There were perfect north easterly breezes and choppy seas for a fast start under spinnaker for the 55–boat fleet from the LE Orla Naval vessel. The race was under the command of race officer David Lovegrove, a former Irish Sailing President.

Round Ireland start(above and below) A congested committee boat end of the start line Photo: Afloat.ie

Round Ireland race start fleet 3794

Noel Dowling’s 43-foot Baraka GP, hotly tipped for overall success, made a perfectly timed start to be placed at the favoured end of the 600-metre start line only to suffer damage to her sails seconds into the week-long race.

Round Ireland race start Rockabill 3768Paul O'Higgin's Rockabill VI (blue and yellow spinnaker) races away from the Round Ireland start line Photo: Afloat.ie

Despite the long line, there were very congested waters at the committee boat end.

Round Ireland race start phosphorous 3781Phosphorous II and Corum were early leaders off the Round Ireland startline Photo: Afloat.ie

Round Ireland race start Mach 40 Corum 3912The brand new French yacht Mach 40 Corum approaches Wicklow Head Photo: Afloat.ie

Dowling’s crew rapidly prepared an alternative sail but the French Mach 40 Corum (Nicolas Troussel and Ian Lipinski) and Jersey-based Phosphorous II (Mark Emerson) seized the opportunity to be the very early fleet leaders in this marathon race but even before the fleet passed Wicklow Head, Dowling’s Fast Ker 43 was already back in command.

"There were perfect north easterly breezes and choppy seas for a fast start under spinnaker"

Only boat lengths behind were Riff Raff, Brian McMaster’s Cookson 50 and some smaller but no less potent entries such as Paul O’Higgins on Rockabill VI, Chris Power Smith’s Aurelia and WOW George Sisk.

Round Ireland race start Aurelia 3656Chris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia Photo: Afloat.ie

As the fleet passed Wicklow lighthouse, Dowling continued on port gybe out to sea and headed due south-east, a move that the bulk of the fleet followed out to sea carried by a strong ebbing tide.

Corum, with three crew on board, on the other hand, opted for a course close to the shore and gybed along the coast towards Arklow.

At the slower end of the fleet, double race winner Cavatina from Royal Cork YC, was also making good progress under spinnaker.

Round Ireland race start Cavatina 4423Double winner Cavatina Photo: Afloat.ie

However, as forecast, the fleet is not expected to have stronger winds for over 24 hours, perhaps even after approach Tuskar Rock when northeast winds could reach double figures. North easterlies are expected to increase up to 20 knots on Monday, to hopefully give the fleet faster reaching conditions along the south coast but the real dilemma is will the underlying east to northeast gradient wind prevail over high summer night breezes off the land?

Round Ireland race start Jedi 4160The Dun Laoghaire Sailing School J109 Jedi Chartered by Michael Boyd Photo: Afloat.ie

The 700-mile race is anticipated to take up to five days to complete, with the biggest boats expected home early next week.

Follow Afloat.ie's Round Ireland Race 2018 updates all in one handy link here

Read WM Nixon's Round Ireland Race 2018 Preview

Published in Round Ireland

Round Ireland Yacht Race Live Tracker 2022

Track the progress of the 2022 Wicklow Sailing Club Round Ireland Race fleet on the live tracker above and see all Afloat's Round Ireland Race coverage in one handy link here

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Round Ireland Yacht Race Information

The Round Ireland Yacht Race is Ireland's classic offshore yacht race starts from Wicklow Sailing Club (WSC) and is organised jointly with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC). This page details the very latest updates from the 2008 race onwards including the race schedule, yacht entries and the all-important race updates from around the 704-mile course. Keep up to date with the Round Ireland Yacht Race here on this one handy reference page.

2020 Round Ireland Race

The 2020 race, the 21st edition, was the first race to be rescheduled then cancelled.

Following Government restrictions over COVID-19, a decision on the whether or not the 2020 race can be held was made on April 9 2020 to reschedule the race to Saturday, August 22nd. On July 27th, the race was regrettably cancelled due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.

Because of COVID-19, the race had to have a virtual launch party at the Royal Irish Yacht Club for its 21st edition

In spite of the pandemic, however, a record entry was in prospect for 2020 with 50 boats entered with four weeks to go to the race start. The race was also going big on size and variety to make good on a pre-race prediction that the fleet could reach 60. An Irish offshore selection trial also looked set to be a component part of the 2020 race.

The rescheduling of the race to a news date emphasises the race's national significance, according to Afloat here

FAQs

704 nautical miles, 810 miles or 1304 kilometres

3171 kilometres is the estimate of Ireland's coastline by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

SSE Renewables are the sponsors of the 2020 Round Ireland Race.

Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London and The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin.

Off Wicklow Harbour on Saturday, August 22nd 2020

Monohulls 1300 hrs and Multihulls 13.10 hrs

Leave Ireland and all its islands (excluding Rockall) to starboard.

It depends on the boat. The elapsed record time for the race is under 40 hours but most boats take five or six days to complete the course.

The Race Tracker is https://afloat.ie/sail/events/round-ireland/item/25789-round-ireland-yacht-race-tracker-2016-here.

The idea of a race around Ireland began in 1975 with a double-handed race starting and finishing in Bangor organised by Ballyholme Yacht Club with stopovers in Crosshaven and Killybegs. That race only had four entries. In 1980 Michael Jones put forward the idea of a non-stop race and was held in that year from Wicklow Sailing Club. Sixteen pioneers entered that race with Brian Coad’s Raasay of Melfort returning home after six days at sea to win the inaugural race. Read the first Round Ireland Yacht Race 1980 Sailing Instructions here

 

The Round Ireland race record of 38 h 37 min 7 s is held by MOD-70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail and was set in June 2016.

George David’s Rambler 88 (USA) holds the fastest monohull race time of two days two hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds set in the 2016 race.

William Power's 45ft Olivia undertook a round Ireland cruise in September 1860

 

Richard Hayes completed his solo epic round Ireland voyage in September 2018 in a 14-foot Laser dinghy. The voyage had seen him log a total of 1,324 sea miles (2,452 kilometres) in 54 sailing days. in 1961, the Belfast Lough Waverly Durward crewed by Kevin and Colm MacLaverty and Mick Clarke went around Ireland in three-and-a-half weeks becoming the smallest keelboat ever to go round. While neither of these achievements occurred as part of the race they are part of Round Ireland sailing history

© Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Round Ireland Yacht Race 2022

Race start: Off Wicklow Harbour date to be announced, June 18 2022

There will be separate starts for monohulls and multihulls.

Race course:  leave Ireland and all its islands (excluding Rockall) to starboard.

Race distance: is approximately 704 nautical miles or 1304 kilometres.

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