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Is Friday Midnight The Time To Go For The Round Ireland Record?

19th June 2013
Is Friday Midnight The Time To Go For The Round Ireland Record?

#RDP – The nine multihulls in the Route des Princes fleet have only just reached Dun Laoghaire this morning in that special stage of exhaustion brought on by struggling in light airs and calms in boats that can fly with half a decent breeze. And now they plan to have several days of R & R (relatively speaking) before a planned joint assault on the Round Ireland Record starting at the Kish Lighthouse on Monday writes W M Nixon.

Until late yesterday, forecast conditions were looking quite good for the record challenge early next week. And they still do. But in the approaching volatile spell of weather which is going to make for a very miserable rainy weekend for all of us, dare one suggest that late Friday night/early Saturday morning offers a better potential for a shot at the title?

There's a nasty little low forecast to be zapping across the north of Ireland through Saturday, currently predicted to be tracking east with its centre expected at 1400hrs Saturday right on Malin Head. It should be quite vigorous, as it will be down at 985 when 350 miles west of Malin Head at 1800 hrs Friday, though it will have eased a bit to 990 at Bloody Foreland, 991 at Malin Head, and 993 at 1800hrs Saturday over the Mull of Kintyre.

Thus a boat leaving the Kish anti-clockwise at a carefully calculated time from midnight Friday onwards has a good chance of very fast sailing on smooth seas with south to southeast winds off the land all the way to Malin Head. The key to it all will be calculating when precisely to leave, in order to minimize any time going to windward off north Donegal, or even sitting becalmed in the centre of the low before the northerlies behind it set in big time on Saturday evening to blast you right down the west coast.

They're set to back steadily, which would give straight line sailing from the Fastnet to the Tuskar, and then, with a bit of luck, close-reaching in a wind just off the land from the Tuskar back to Dublin Bay on Sunday morning.

Beyond that, things don't look too bad for a clockwise challenge on Monday with the winds mainly nor'westerly. The problem is that, as things look now, a quite determined ridge of high pressure is shown as building northeast towards Ireland through Monday, which should make for some very gentle and summery weather down in West Cork and Kerry.

God knows they deserve it down there after some of the weather they've had in recent days. But gentle calm summer weather isn't great for record breaking. So doubtless this morning in Dun Laoghaire, some crews will be seriously considering the small-hours-of-Saturday option, if they're allowed.

It would make it more interesting if two different challenges were on offer - one Friday midnight onwards, and the other the proposed one on Monday. And it would be a logistics challenge for the official time keeper too. Perhaps somebody should be thinking about kitting out the former keepers' bedrooms on the unmanned Kish Lighthouse so that Chris Moore, keeper of the records on behalf of the National YC, could take up residence out there for a few days, starting Friday. It would be a real fun way for the former NYC Commodore to spend the mid-summer weekend.

Click here for a history of Round Ireland Speed Records

Published in Route des Princes
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