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“Mystic Meg” Is Your Best Bet In Predicting Round Ireland Race Winners In This Weird Weather Phase

16th June 2022
In any reasonable world, it would be Rockabill VI’s turn to win the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, which starts on Saturday. The JPK 10.80, diligently and enthusiastically campaigned by Paul O’Higgins of the Royal Irish YC, has deservedly won just about everything else in the Irish offshore scene
In any reasonable world, it would be Rockabill VI’s turn to win the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, which starts on Saturday. The JPK 10.80, diligently and enthusiastically campaigned by Paul O’Higgins of the Royal Irish YC, has deservedly won just about everything else in the Irish offshore scene Credit: Afloat

In these hyper-communicated days, we can all follow developing weather situations on a 24/7 basis using input from many sources. Nevertheless, from time to time it puts things in some sort of snapshot focus to watch the scheduled broadcast TV weather programmes. And while as yet we have never ever heard a telly weather person admit that the forecast they gave the previous day turned out to be complete rubbish, it’s notable that at the moment they’re occasionally confessing they’re somewhat bewildered by the array of possibilities for the coming days.

That we’re in such a situation is emphasised by the amount of sailing of considerable Irish interest that is heading down the line. Although it will be experiencing a completely different weather situation to Irish circumstances, Friday’s Newport-Bermuda Race in this the Centenary Year of the organising Cruising Club of America will be in the thoughts of anyone with an awareness of the global development of offshore and ocean racing.

Nearer home, the 60th Anniversary Ailsa Craig Race from Royal Ulster YC in Bangor starting Friday evening is for an 80-mile there-and-back sprint across the North Channel. The distance may be modest enough, but rough weather conditions over this particular race course can be immodest in the extreme.

SB20s ON LOUGH REE, NATIONAL YC REGATTA ON DUBLIN BAY

Then on Saturday, the SB20s gather on Lough Ree for their two-day Westerns. As Irish top crew of Michael O’Connor, David Taylor & Ed Cook are currently racing the Portuguese Nationals at Cascais, it’s reckoned Andrew Deakin with Sonic Boom is the boat to beat.

In a busy sailing weekend, the SB20s will be back in action – as seen here - on Lough ReeIn a busy sailing weekend, the SB20s will be back in action – as seen here - on Lough Ree

Meanwhile, on Dublin Bay, it being a non-Dun Laoghaire Regatta year, Saturday is Regatta Day at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Strawberries and cream may not be quite the special treat they were in times past, but if there has been a decent breeze to give some good sport afloat before hitting the social scene ashore, then the day is special.

Pre-start manoeuvres for the inaugural Round Ireland Race from Wicklow in 1980. Photo: W M NixonPre-start manoeuvres for the inaugural Round Ireland Race from Wicklow in 1980. Photo: W M Nixon

And all these events are in addition to the fact that, at 1300 hrs off an already very festive Wicklow, the gun fires to mark the start of the 21st SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race. Even with 2020’s cancellation, we’re looking at 21 stagings of a great race since its foundation in 1980 by Michael Jones of Wicklow Sailing Club. And in the 42 years, since it has deservedly acquired its own rich culture and mythology of seafaring and competition, an extraordinary tapestry of Irish maritime experience.

ROUND IRELAND COUNTDOWN ACCELERATES IN UNPREDICTABLE WEATHER

Thus in the countdown to the race, and in the week of its happening, interests in the wind patterns around our island are running at an exceptional level. Participants afloat, and race followers ashore alike – we all become met experts. Yet at a time when the real official met experts admit to being bewildered, we home-schooled types are left wondering if this is all down to Climate Change, or is the unpredictability of the next few days’ wind and weather just a bit of a fluke which unfortunately coincides with a period when an exceptionally large number of people would appreciate a bit of meteorological precision.

And yet no matter how the winds turn out, a sage observer will generally be able to reduce the favourites to about 50% in what – for 2022’s race – is turning out to be a 45-strong fleet. For the fact is that no matter what the situation is at mid-race, by that time the really hot boats and crews will have got a proper handle on the situation, and when it all finishes, there they are – at the front of the fleet yet again.

In the previous race of 2018, Niall Dowlng’s Baraka GP was back in 23rd overall on CT off the Mayo coast, yet she managed line honours and the overall win by the finish. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienIn the previous race of 2018, Niall Dowling’s Baraka GP was back in 23rd overall on CT off the Mayo coast, yet she managed line honours and the overall win by the finish. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

MOORE MAGIC GETS TO THE FRONT OF THE FLEET

A classic case in point was the 2018 race, when Niall Dowling’s Ker 43 Baraka was lying 23rd overall while off the North Mayo Coast. But Baraka had a not-so-secret weapon in the person of international navigator Ian Moore - originally of Carrickfergus – who sussed out what was needed to get Baraka back to Wicklow as quickly as possible as the weather developed in the way he anticipated. And as a result of the Moore Magic, Baraka took line honours and the corrected overall win as well.

Looking to 2022, we have admittedly given a daunting hostage to fortune by saying it’s Rockabill’s turn, particularly when she’s up against boats which have already – like the O’Higgins boat herself - proven themselves in this year’s races, such as RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XX, Andrew Hall’s J/125 Jackknife, the new First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Cullen), and the Sunfast 33000 Cinnamon Girl (Cian McCarthy).

Want to know a sure winner? Maritime Mystic Meg can point the way Want to know a sure winner? Maritime Mystic Meg can point the way 

MARITIME MYSTIC MEG PUTS DOWN THE MARKERS

So at this juncture, it’s timely to consider the general predictions of Maritime Mystic Meg, Afloat.ie’s ultimate insight into future developments. This fount of wisdom, which may be as a real as the miasma which does be on the bog, is actually only interested in our sacred round Ireland Race as a means of profitable betting. And while it all may be more refined by Friday night when we’re putting the final touches to this week’s Sailing on Saturday, here are the preliminary odds from Mystic Meg for the overall winner of Corrected Time:

Round Ireland entriesRound Ireland Race entries at June 15

5/1
Rockabill, Aurelia, Darkwood, Nieulargo, Jackknife, Cavatina, Teasing Machine, Checkmate XX, Ino XXX

10/1
Cinnamon Girl, Samatom, Pyxis, YOYO, Bellino, Indian, Phosphorus II, More Mischief, Mojo,

20/1
Luzern eComm U25, Snapshot, Shindig, Artful Dodjer,

30/1
Bijou, Wild Pilgrim, Asgard, Finally, Prime Suspect, Jezebel, SL ENERGIES Groupe Fastwave, Blue Oyster, Sherkin Irish Offshore Sailing, Lynx Wild West Sailing, StateChassis, Elantic, Kite, Peregrine, Ca Va, Fuji, Arthur, Influence, Black Magic, Hiro Maru, KUKA3, L'ESPRIT D'EQUIPE, Green Dragon, Telefonica Black, Pen Duick VI

 The Volvo 70s Telefonica and Green Dragon getting themselves race ready in Dun Laoghaire Marina this week. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien The Volvo 70s Telefonica and Green Dragon getting themselves race ready in Dun Laoghaire Marina this week. Photo: Afloat

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

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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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