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Wicklow’s SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race Entries Push Towards 50 With Strong International Interest

21st May 2022
Round Ireland veteran skipper with new boat – France’s Eric de Turckheim is headed for the Wicklow start on June 18th with his latest boat, the NMYD 54 Teasing Machine.
Round Ireland veteran skipper with new boat – France’s Eric de Turckheim is headed for the Wicklow start on June 18th with his latest boat, the NMYD 54 Teasing Machine

They’d seven entries in the first Fastnet Race of 1925, and seven entries started yesterday morning in the inaugural 240-mile Kinsale YC Inishtearacht Race - there and back from Kinsale, round the only lighthouse island of Ireland’s furthest west Blasket Islands group.

Meanwhile, it’s now just four weeks to the start of Wicklow SC’s biennial 704-mile SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race, which began in 1980 with 16 entries, and at its most numerous has pushed over the 60 mark. But with the 2020 staging eventually cancelled in the face of the pandemic, it has been anyone’s guess as to how many would make the call for 2022’s resumption on June 18th, as the world in general and Europe in particular are still very far from normal.

To take part in the Round Ireland, the usual strong international component in the final lineup have to make a time and distance commitment which is more challenging than that required for the centrally-located Fastnet Race which - conveniently for Europe’s main centres of population – begins and ends in the English Channel, thus the new finish at Cherbourg is within a day’s drive of affluent European populations running into the hundreds of millions.

The veteran Pen Duick VI’s first visit to Ireland was in 1974, when she won the RORC Cowes-Cork Race

FORTY-SEVEN ENTRIES AND COUNTING

So the thinking for the Round Ireland was that they’d do well to top the 40 mark on the day, but the news from Wicklow is good. They’ve 47 boats signed up with a quality international contingent in the healthy mix, and WSC Commodore Kyran O’Grady reports that others are hovering in the background, with the strong possibility that Eric Tabarly’s famous 73ft ketch Pen Duick VI – now campaigned by the late great skipper’s daughter Marie – will be there with other extras on the day, as interest in Class40 is also continuing to build.

ROUND IRELAND ENTRIES @ 19-05-22

  1. More Mischief Grzegorz Kalinecki First 310 9.15 ISA  
  2. Cavatina Ian Hickey Granada 38 11.60 Royal Cork Yacht Club  
  3. Aurelia Chris Power Smith J122 12.20 RSGYC RORC  
  4. Prime Suspect Keith Miller Mills 36 10.97 Kilmore Quay BC  
  5. Mojo Kieron Blamey J105 10.51 Isle of Man Yacht Club  
  6. Elantic Clarke Allen Elan 40 11.90 Arklow Sailing Club  
  7. Blue Oyster Noel Coleman Oyster 37 11.30 Royal Cork Yacht Club  
  8. Hiro Maru Hiroshi Nakajima Sparkman & Stephens 15.05 Stamford Yacht Club  
  9. Finally Paul Kitteringham Elan 350 10.50 Pwllheli Sailing Club  
  10. Influence Andrea Fornaro VPLP Class 40 12.40    
  11. SL ENERGIES Groupe FASTWAVE Laurent Charmy JBOAT J111 11.15    
  12. Green Dragon Enda O’Coineen / Conor Ferguson VOR70 21.50 Galway Bay Sailing Club / Royal Irish Yacht Club  
  13. Samatom Robert Rendell GS44R 14.90 Howth YC  
  14. Moshimoshi Sebastien Saulnier SUNFAST 3300 9.99 SNBSM  
  15. Peregrine Jasper Golyer Pogo Class 40 12.10 MYC  
  16. Pyxis Kirsteen Donaldson X332 10.06 RORC  
  17. Arthur Jim Bennett Beneteau First 40 12.24 RORC  
  18. Sherkin Irish Offshore Sailing David Hanks Sunfast 37 11.40 RIYC Dun Laoghaire  
  19. Indian Simon Knowles J109 10.9 Howth YC  
  20. YOYO Graham Curran Sunfast 3600 10.75 Royal St. George  
  21. Rockabill VI Paul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 10.84 Royal Irish Yacht Club  
  22. State O Chassis Mike Murphy Sigma 38 11.55 Royal Irish Yacht Club  
  23. Artful DodJer Finbarr O’Regan J Boats 10.75 Kinsale Yacht Club  
  24. Ca Va Tony Rayer Pogo 12.50 12.19 Cardiff Bay Yacht Club  
  25. Telefonica Black Lance Shepherd Volvo 70 21.50 RORC  
  26. Shindig A. Kingston Swan 40 S&S 12.80 Kinsale  
  27. Black Magic Barry O Donovan Beneteau 13.65 Waterford Harbour Sailing Club/Howth Yacht Club  
  28. Nieulargo Denis&Annamarie Murphy Grand Soleil 40 B+C 12.12 Royal Cork Yacht Club  
  29. Checkmate XX Nigel Biggs and David Cullen First 50 14.98 Howth Yacht Club  
  30. Big Deal Derek Dillon Grand Soleil 37 BC 11.30 Foynes yacht Club  
  31. Cinnamon Girl Cian Mc Carthy Sunfast 3300 9.99 Kinsale Yacht Club  
  32. L’ESPRIT D’EQUIPE Lionel Regnier Briand 17.60 Les Sables D’Olonne  
  33. Fuji Ari Känsäkoski OCD40 12.19 RORC/Port Chantereyne Cherbourg  
  34. Lynx Wild West Sailing Cian Mulee Reflex38 11.52 SYC  
  35. Fujitsu Donal Ryan Sunfast 3600 10.80 RORC  
  36. LeeOverlay Partners II Adrian Lee Swan 18.85 RORC /Rstgyc  
  37. Phosphorus II Mark Emerson Archambault A13 13.10 RORC RSgYC  
  38. Snapshot Michael and Richard Evans J99 9.94 HYC  
  39. Asgard Ross Farrow Sunfast 3300 9.99 Hamble  
  40. KUKA3 Franco Niggeler Cookson 15.20 St. Moritz Sailing Club  
  41. Luzern eComm U25 Lorcan Tighe Figaro 3 10.89 RIYC  
  42. Jezebel Cris Miles J111 11.0 Conwy  
  43. Teasing Machine Eric De Turkheim JNYD 16.5 RORC/CNAR  
  44. InoXXX James Neville HH42 12.60 RORC  
  45. Bellino Rob Craigie Sunfast 3600 10.80 RORC, Hamble  
  46. Darkwood Michael Boyd J121 12.19 Royal Irish Yacht Club

As it is, the race received a boost with the confirmation that former winner Michael Boyd and ex-RORC Commodore is back on the line with Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwoood (RIYC), and that France’s Eric de Turckheim – a previous front runner with his Archambault 13 Teasing Machine – has now entered his 2020-built 16.4 metre NMYD 54 of the same name. 

In a different line of thinking, the Maybird Mast Trophy (in honour of Darryl Hughes’ 2016 circuiteer Maybird, built Tyrrell’s of Arklow in 1937), is now up for competition for the oldest boat to complete the course, and on the present listings it looks as though it will be contested between two Sparkman & Stephens classics, Tony Kingston’s immaculate Swan 40 Shindig from Kinsale, and Hiro Maru (Hiroshi Nakajima) from the US, with others such as Ian Hickey’s Granada 38 Cavatina also in the mix.

Tony Kingston’s immaculately-restored vintage Swan 40 Shindig from Kinsale will be a contender for the Maybird Mast Trophy for the oldest finisher, and she’d also be in line for a Concours d’Elegance Trophy, if there was one. Photo: Robert BatemanTony Kingston’s immaculately-restored vintage Swan 40 Shindig from Kinsale will be a contender for the Maybird Mast Trophy for the oldest finisher, and she’d also be in line for a Concours d’Elegance Trophy, if there was one. Photo: Robert Bateman

And we may see more Class40s confirming, now that the ten top boats in the class have completed the 15th May-started thousand mile Normandy Channel Race out of Caen, racing west and north to make their northerly turn at the Tuskar Rock. The ubiquitous Ian Lipinski sailing with Ambroggio Beccaria on Credit Mutuel won in the small hours of Friday (yesterday) by nine minutes from Corentin Doguet and Yoann Richomme (now there’s a useful name for a yottie) on Queguiner-Innoveo.

The start last Sunday (May 15th) of the 1,000 mile Normandy Channel Race from Caen round the Tuskar Rock and back, with Queguiner-Innoveo showing well. However, at yesterday (Friday’s) finish, she was beaten for first by nine minutes by Credit-Mutuel (Ian Lipinski & Ambroggio Becarria).The start last Sunday (May 15th) of the 1,000 mile Normandy Channel Race from Caen round the Tuskar Rock and back, with Queguiner-Innoveo showing well. However, at yesterday (Friday’s) finish, she was beaten for first by nine minutes by Credit-Mutuel (Ian Lipinski & Ambroggio Becarria).

THE TUSKAR ROCK AS TURNING MARK?

Yeah, you read that right. Earlier this week the hottest Class40s in the world were using our very own Tuskar Rock as a turning mark. The tide-riven reef-bestrewn Tuskar Rock can be difficult enough to sail past at the best of times, so using it as a turning mark is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But as these guys then raced their super-powered machines round the even more tide-riven reef-bestrewn Channel Islands before heading on for the finish at Caen, they probably regard the Tuskar as a straightforward sort of brick, and thus their presence in the Round Ireland on June 18th would certainly add extra oomph to the lineup.

As it is, the thought of the Tuskar as a turning mark reminds us that by the time this is posted, at least some of the fleet in KYC’s Matthews-sponsored Inishtearacht Race will know what it is like to use the Blaskets’ only lighthouse for real, for in rounding they may well have left it to starboard - as per Race Instructions – in the dark.

Not only does this mean that if the wind has backed as much as some forecasts have been suggesting, they then may have the choice to leave the Blasket southerly outliers to starboard as they beat south to the next turn at Skellig Michael, but equally they’ll have learned that the west side of Inishtearacht is quite a messy place.

A turning mark for heroes – Inishtearacht in some classic Atlantic weatherA turning mark for heroes – Inishtearacht in some classic Atlantic weather

GPS has of course taken much of the sting out of negotiating it, but nevertheless they’ll have raced between the Great Foze Rock and Inishtearacht, for the course instructions only say that the Tearacht Rocks close west of Inishtearacht have to be left to starboard. The Tearacht Rocks are not to be trifled with. When God made the Tearacht Rocks, he made them pointy. And the night after he’d finished and was resting, the Devil made them razor sharp.

All of which was well illustrated in the famous video of the MOD70 Phaedo establishing her anti-clockwise Round Ireland Record in 2016, when she sailed south between the Foze and Inishtearacht, with the glimpses of the Tearacht Rocks to port putting the heebie-jeebies on everyone.

It also raised the delicate matter of whether or not Phaedo had actually sailed round Ireland at all, as until then we’d thought the Great Foze Rock was ours. But Phaedo’s crew claimed that the Foze was not mentioned as part of the course by the Round Ireland Record Keepers. Nevertheless it was a problem, but we solved it here at Afloat.ie on April 1st 2017 by announcing that the Great Foze Rock had been ceded to Portugal, it was re-named Grande Ilheu de Foze in the process, and was now officially part of the Azores Archipelago.

Enough of frivolity. The Inishtearacht Race is a demanding course, the weather to the southwest of Ireland has been quite rough of late and continues to be volatile, and predictions of finishing times are anybody’s guess. Who knows, but we might end up with Irish offshore racing’s first Prize-Giving Brunch…

Published in W M Nixon, Round Ireland
WM Nixon

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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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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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