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D2D Race Wednesday 4 pm - In Dublin Bay’s increasingly sunlit nor’easterly breeze this afternoon, the pre-start positioning of the 43-strong fleet had barely got itself in order and away with the 14:00 hrs start of the biennial National Yacht Club Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race before it became extremely obvious that the inclusion of “Turbo” in the marque name of Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Turbo class Privateer was in no way fanciful.

Frank Whelan’s canting-keel Elliott 57 Opal from Greystones  at the start of today's  Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatFrank Whelan’s canting-keel Elliott 57 Opal from Greystones at the start of today's  Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

New York Yacht Club’s finest was going like a rocket from the off, and while boats of comparable size were struggling to get over nine knots, she was merrily and immediately reeling off ten and then 11-plus on the dial, such that she was off Greystones within 45 minutes and making along at 14-15 knots, while her nearest challenger in performance potential - Frank Whelan’s likewise canting-keel Elliott 57 Opal – was still at Bray Head.

Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (Royal Irish YC) got a front line start in the 42-boat fleet with Royal Cork ace Chris Bateman on the tiller Photo: AfloatPaul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (Royal Irish YC) got a front line start in the 42-boat Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race fleet with Royal Cork ace Chris Bateman on mainsheet and Mark Pettit on helm Photo: Afloat

However, while conditions were still in the reasonably run-of-the-mill area, it was the Steady Eddy favourites aboard Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (Royal Irish YC) who found themselves pacing with larger boats, and holding the IRC lead narrowly from Pete Smyth’s Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (National YC) and the J/109s Mojito (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop, Pwllheli SC) and Indian (Simon Knowles, Howth YC).

Pete Smyth’s Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (National YC) pictured shortly after the start of the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle RacePete Smyth’s Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (National YC) pictured shortly after the start of the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Photo: Afloat

ISORA champion J/109 Mojito (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop, Pwllheli SC) in Killiney Bay shortly after the start of the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Photo: AfloatISORA champion J/109 Mojito (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop, Pwllheli SC) in Killiney Bay shortly after the start of the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Photo: Afloat

Indian (Simon Knowles, Howth YC)  in Killiney Bay shortly after the start of the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Photo: AfloatIndian (Simon Knowles, Howth YC)  in Killiney Bay shortly after the start of the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Photo: Afloat

But then at 16: 00 hrs and already south of Wicklow Head, Privateer was right in the groove on 15 knots-plus and surging while now showing as IRC leader overall, yet with Rockabill hanging on tightly to second.

The view from Pete Smyth's Sunfast 3600 Searcher now racing downwind under symmetrical spinnaker and showing Rockabill VI 200 metres ahead in the first hours of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race. Photo: Maurice O'ConnellThe view from Pete Smyth's Sunfast 3600 Searcher now racing downwind under symmetrical spinnaker and showing Rockabill VI 200 metres ahead in the first hours of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race. Photo: Maurice O'Connell

Either way, the forecast wind pattern is looking good for record times, though as suggested in Saturday’s overview of the race, it now looks more likely that they may have more wind than’s needed – albeit from the east – down around and beyond the Fastnet tonight and tomorrow.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race starts from the National Yacht Club on Wednesday, 7th June at 2 pm, and this year, the 43-strong fleet will include two entries from the North of Ireland.

Fresh from his second place in IRC in the recent Scottish Series is Shaun Douglas’s Beneteau 40.7, Game Changer, who will make the trip from Belfast Lough to take part in this 270-mile 30th Anniversary event.

Also there, via the Isle of Man, is Michael Eames’ Sunfast 3200.

The current race record of just over 24 hours (24 hours 48 minutes) is currently held by the 94ft Southern Wind, Windfall.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Chris Power Smith, skipper of the J/122 Aurelia from the RStGYC, was presented with the Carmel Winkelmann Memorial Trophy (First Corinthian boat in the 2021 D2D Race) at a presentation in the Royal St George Yacht Club after DBSC Thursday racing on July 20th.

The perpetual trophy was presented by Adam Winkelmann (D2D Chairman) along with Con Murphy (D2D PRO), Richard O’Connor (Commodore RStGYC) and Conor O’ Regan (Commodore NYC)

The re-purposed Perpetual Trophy was kindly provided by the NYC and beautifully restored by Pat Shannon of Facet Jewellers, Dun Laoghaire.

As Afloat reported at the time, Carmel, a stalwart of Dun Laoghaire sailing, sadly passed away in St Vincent’s University Hospital at the same time as her son Adam was presenting the prizes in Dingle to the various Race Prizewinners on June 12th last year. As was her way, and despite her very brief but serious illness, she found the wherewithal to instruct her son Adam to go to Dingle to finish the yachts and complete the race administration and prizegiving along with the rest of the NYC team.

Fitting tribute - the Carmel Winkelmann Memorial Trophy is presented by her son Adam (right) to top Corinthian skipper Chris Power Smith for his 2021 performance in the offshore race. Photo: Michael ChesterFitting tribute - the Carmel Winkelmann Memorial Trophy is presented by her son Adam (right) to top Corinthian skipper Chris Power Smith for his 2021 performance in the offshore race. Photo: Michael Chester

"It is fitting that following a near lifetime of volunteer effort by the late Carmel Winkelmann a trophy recognising Corinthian values will be perpetually presented in her name", Adam told Afloat.

"Congratulations to Chris Power Smith and the Aurelia crew on a wonderful performance in the race where they finished first Corinthian and 4th Overall in IRC", he said. 

The 2023 D2D race will start from the NYC in Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday, June 7th 2023. More details are expected in due course from the National Yacht Club including event sponsorship.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Day #3 0930 - The Murphy family’s consistently successful Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Royal Cork YC) reached Dingle this morning at 09:27 hrs and immediately corrected into an overall lead in the D2D which she is unlikely to lose. Having passed the Fastnet at midnight, the Murphy crew then found themselves in a tense but performance-enhancing battle in a good southwest breeze through the remainder of the short night along the coasts of West Cork and Kerry.

Conor Doyle's Freya crosses the Dingle finish at 0531 this morningConor Doyle's Freya crosses the Dingle finish at 0531 this morning

It was performance-enhancing as they were racing in close company with defending champion Rockabill VI, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 from the Royal Irish YC, and the new Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (Pete Smyth, NYC). Both are slightly higher rated than Nieulargo, but when you’re in the very open Atlantic off the coast of Kerry, the local vagaries of wind and water can see an apparently good lead evaporate like some will o’ the wisp.

Nick and Pete Smyth round Galley Head last night at 730pm on Searcher Photo: Prof O'ConnellNick and Pete Smyth round Galley Head last night at 730pm on Searcher Photo: Prof O'Connell

Well ahead, Conor Doyle’s leading Xp50 Freya from Kinsale had swept past the last major turn at Skellig Michael at 02:15, still making 8.8 knots but there was more than a feeling that the bite was already going from the breeze. Nevertheless, they were still across the finish line to take line honours in convincing style at 05:31 this morning (Friday), while their CT position will be improved in due course after redress has been given for a pause to rescue a drifting kite-surfer off the Wexford coast on Tuesday evening.

The Nieulargo crew in Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday: (Front row left to right) Molly Murphy, James Fagan, Clive O'Shea, Ian Heffernan, (back row right to left) Denis Murphy, Mia Murphy, Annamarie Fegan, Brian Mathews, Nin O Leary, and Harry Durcan The Nieulargo crew in Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday: (Front row left to right) Molly Murphy, James Fagan, Clive O'Shea, Ian Heffernan, (back row right to left) Denis Murphy, Mia Murphy, Annamarie Fegan, Brian Mathews, Nin O Leary, and Harry Durcan

Taken at 0530 this morning, the Nieulargo crew close in on the County Kerry finish lineTaken at 0530 this morning, the Nieulargo crew were closing in on the County Kerry finish line

Three hours elapsed after Freya’s finish before another three-way duel came over the line in the form of Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom at 08:36, Chris & Patanne Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia at 08:39, and George Sisk’s Xp44 WOW at 08:47, with Aurelia ahead on CT to correct into a provisional 5th overall as the next group battling for the overall CT victory closed in on the mouth of Dingle Harbour, with Rockabill VI first across at 09:12.

It was edge-of-seat stuff, but although Rockabill may have nipped in just ahead, Nieulargo seemed to find some final reserves of speed to give her 7.2 knots as she crossed at 09:27 with Searcher following a couple of minute later.

This brought “victory-for-the-moment” for Nieulargo, and it’s likely to stand, for although the Committee will be generous in their redress for Freya’s good deed on Tuesday, it’s unlikely to be the 2 hours and 26 minutes required to correct her ahead of Nieulargo.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Northern Ireland yacht eXcession has contacted NYC Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race organisers to advise that the IMX 38 is experiencing electrical problems.

The crew reported: "Experiencing electrical problems - making best effort to keep AIS live. NOT Retiring. Just FYI"

As Afloat reported earlier, eXcession, under the triple ownership of John Harrington, Ruan O'Tiarnaigh and Jonathan Mullholland is representing Royal Ulster, Ballyholme and Sutton Dinghy Club in the IRC Racing division.

 

 

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Day #2 1330: “Neither fog nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds….”.

Okay, so we’ve substituted fog for snow in a misappropriation of the US Mail’s gallant motto in our celebration of the onward progress of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle fleet along the south coast today. But when you find you’re racing at full chat through banks of sea fog off the shores of Cork, with visibility reduced to 300 metres or less, any inspirational quotation is a help.

This is so even if the original came from some poetry rejoicing in the achievements of the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire, whose descendants today in modern Iran aren’t quite the flavour of the month in western democratic circles. But whereas in ancient times it was common for ships to get lost in a fog - the Irish Rover out of Cork (where else?) being a prime example - modern electronics mean you press on regardless with a fairly accurate idea of where you are, sustained by the hope that radar will show other boats at risk of collision.

Visibility is improving as the day makes on, but the wind is veering and freshening, possibly to the point where its power is a hindrance rather than a help. Fleet leader Freya (Xp50 Conor Doyle KYC) has passed the entrance to Cork Harbour, but misses out on the hopes of getting past the Old Head of Kinsale without tacking, as the veering re-shaped her course in towards the entrance to Kinsale.

Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (HYC)Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (HYC) Photo: Michael Chester

Around ten miles astern, the group led by Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (HYC) is also significantly headed, but the Murphy family on overall leader Nieulargo were located in such a way that this wind shift has left them even better placed, and they’re looking good as usual – as SCORA Commodore Darragh Connolly puts it, “on Nieulargo, the only thing they know is fast”.

It’s all in detail in the Tracker Chart – the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2021 may have seen little change in relative positions for the last twelve hours, but there’s a lot of racing to be done yet.

Published in West Cork

Day #1 8 pm: The weather has settled down to a warm and sunny summer's evening as the fleet in the 2021 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race turn to windward close inshore between Wicklow Head and Arklow, theoretically with ample time to appreciate the lush beauties of the coastline of the Garden of Ireland, as they'll be plugging an adverse flood tide until midnight.

But the pressure of the racing is such that coastal beauty will have to be appreciated in hindsight. Conor Doyle's Xp50 from Kinsale was finally beginning to feel the benefit of her extra length, and had moved into a stylish lead on the water, but at the 1945hrs check in, she was shown as heading back north – however, that position had reversed at 2000, and she was back on track in light winds. Read how Freya picked up a Wicklow kitesurfer here.

But on corrected time it's the star of Crosshaven, the Murphy family's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, whose name is in lights. She has seldom put a foot wrong in keeping ahead of some very determined assaults from decidedly hot boats close astern, with Pete Smyth's Sun Fast 3600 Searcher briefly almost managing to get ahead at one stage when the breeze had lightened and the tide was at its strongest.

Pete Smyth's Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (National YC) is fresh out of the box, and fancied to be in the frame in the race to DinglePete Smyth's Sun Fast 3600 Searcher (National YC) is fresh out of the box, and fancied to be in the frame in the race to Dingle

If you have to go to windward, conditions are as pleasant as possible – the breeze no longer batters – but with some boats working very determinedly indeed on getting inside the worst of the tide, there isn't really a moment to relax. And once the tide is in their favour in the small hours, they'll have the challenge of piloting their way past Ireland's uber-rocky southeast corner, buoyed by the prospect of having clear water racing once the Coningbeg Light off the Saltee Islands is put astern tomorrow morning.

Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl (Kinsale YC, Cian McCarthy & Sam Hunt) heads the two-handed divisionSunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl (Kinsale YC, Cian McCarthy & Sam Hunt) heads the two-handed division Photo: Michael Chester

Meanwhile, as of 2000hrs Wednesday, Nieulargo leads overall and in Class 1, the J/109 Indian (Simon Knowles, Howth YC) leads Class 2, the Sunfast 37 Desert Star of Irish Offshore Sailing, co-skippered by Ronan O Siochru and Conor Totterdell, is tops in Class 3, and the Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl (Kinsale YC, Cian McCarthy & Sam Hunt) heads the two-handed division.

Update 3 tomorrow morning.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Day #1 (Start Time) 2 pm: They say in One-Design Racing that the boat which has made the best start is the one that is in a commanding position five minutes after the off. But in a distance race like the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle which started this afternoon in Dublin Bay in a humid, rather variable and sometimes decidedly brisk southerly, the reckoning was that maybe it was the first boat to the first turn at the Muglins which ultimately had the best of it, and that – in a tightly packed bunch of leaders – was the NYC's Sean Lemass-entered First 40 Prima Forte whose helming strength includes young Crosshaven male star Cian Jones.

That said, with a recall providing two starts for those who savour such things, there was no doubt that defending champion Rockabill VI (RIYC), Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80, was right there both times, exactly at the pin and sailing fast in clear air each time the signal sounded.

The D2D 2021 start from Scotsman's Bay off Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Michael Chester(Above and below) The D2D 2021 start from Scotsman's Bay off Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Michael Chester

The 38-boat D2D fleet prepare for the 2021 start at dun Laoghaire Photo: Barry O'NeillThe 38-boat D2D fleet prepare for the 2021 start at Dun Laoghaire Photo: Barry O'Neill

But further inshore a group of fancied craft including Prima Forte, the Murphy family's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, the two Sun Fast 3600s Hot Cookie (John O'Gorman with Mono Mansfield aboard), and Pete Smyth's new Searcher with The Prof on the strength, were finding a private and very favourable breeze in company with Andrew Algeo's J/99 Juggerknot II  and Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian.

Kinsale yacht Freya (Conor Doyle) Photo: Michael ChesterKinsale yacht Freya (Conor Doyle) Photo: Michael Chester

For some glad moments at the Muglins, this select half dozen really did have the world at their feet until the serous metal offshore – Rockabill VI, Robert Rendell's new Grand Soleil 44 Samatom, and Conor Doyle's Xp50 Freya – girded their loins, so to speak – and threw a tack to start mixing with the gilded youths in towards the shore.

Robert Rendell's new Grand Soleil 44 SamatomRobert Rendell's new Grand Soleil 44 Samatom Photo: Michael Chester

In the mixing pot as they slugged south for Bray Head, Nielulargo sailed an absolute blinder and got well ahead of the other 40 footers, pacing with her newer bigger sister Samatom. Juggerknot II is also right there, sailing like a boat possessed, and nearby the Searcher/Hot Cookie battle continues, with Freya in the thick of it too, while out to sea the J/122 Aurelia (a boat to watch) and George Sisk's Xp 44 WOW were making steadily along at 7.2 and 7.4 knots.

George Sisk’s Xp 44 Wow Photo: Michael ChesterGeorge Sisk’s Xp 44 Wow Photo: Michael Chester

At 1530hrs, all are working closer to the shore. With High Water Dublin Bay at noon, the ebb was already running south by 11 o'clock this morning, so there'll be little or none of it left at Wicklow Head by 5.0pm. No-one will manage to get past before then, so this has all the makings of a sluggeroo all the way to the Fastnet.

The Sunfast 3600 Searcher Photo: Michael ChesterThe Sunfast 3600 Searcher tackles the big waves on Dublin Bay Photo: Michael Chester

As The Prof said before joining the Smyth brothers aboard the new Searcher this morning, "It's going to be tough but fun!" Tough but fun, forsooth…… has no-one told him about the proper joys of yachting? The only possible response is "Tally-ho!"

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

National Yacht Club Race Chairman Adam Winkelmann has confirmed June's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race is 'most definitely on' and crews will begin preparing for the 320-mile offshore race next week. 

Winklemann told Afloat, "we are greatly encouraged by the recent government announcements and timelines for re-opening / back to sport".

The race will be sponsored this year by the National Yacht Club itself and by long term race partner The Dingle Skellig Hotel.

Assuming there are no changes to those plans in the coming month the D2D Race will start as planned on June 9th from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

As Afloat reported earlier, boats can train from May 10th and after June 7th race with crews in pods of up to 15 maximum and ISORA and DBSC are both planning on the water training from next week. 

Adam Winkelmann - June's D2D Race is 'most definitely on'Adam Winkelmann - June's D2D Race is 'most definitely on'

Based on the current travel restrictions in force, Winkelmann says the race will be restricted to boats and crews normally based on the island of Ireland or those in compliance with quarantine guidance and port entry restrictions. "This means our entries from the UK (other than Northern Ireland) will be refunded their entry fees paid," he says.

All boats on the waiting list will be accommodated and we will accept additional entries up to the closing date as per the NOR.

Defending Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race champion Paul O’Higgin’s Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht ClubDefending Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race champion Paul O’Higgin’s Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

In the coming weeks the National Yacht Club will finalise sailing instructions (SIs) and arrangements to minimise contact and wherever possible to ensure safe operations for volunteers and competitors.

"We will look at pre-race berthing in DL harbour to ensure that we have safe berthing for visitors. We will also be making arrangements for the Dingle Marina and finishing operations that seek to comply with all advice and again minimise risk for all involved" he says.

There will be virtual declarations both pre and post-race and use the virtual finish line at Dingle. This will include plans for giving out and recovering YB trackers and handing out prizes.

Finally, Winklemann says "As you might expect we cannot organise any shore events at either end of the race and we ask that people make arrangements in advance and behave sensibly to avoid any gatherings other than those that comply with government guidance. We want to provide you all with a great race and a safe race - that is the priority for us".

• Accommodation is to re-open from June 2nd and outdoor dining from June 7th for groups of up to six people, indoor dining for residents at their accommodation. The organisers are asking competitors to book accommodation in Dingle as soon as possible using the booking form on the race website.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

The 2021 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race has reached its 50-boat limit for the National Yacht Club fixture, bringing the club closer to rolling out a spectacular June offshore fixture starting from Dublin Bay.

The 50-boat limit has been made for practical reasons at the County Kerry finish of the 280-miler at Dingle, one of Europe's most westerly harbours.

Afloat's WM Nixon predicts the biennial fixture will be the race that should get sailing going again, if Covid restrictions are lifted.

Such restrictions are uppermost in the mind of Race Chairman Adam Winkelmann who told today's 2021 ICRA conference by Zoom that the biennial race is in 'great shape' but he is waiting for the next government Covid announcement in order to finalise plans. 

The Greystones Harbour JOD Red Alert shortly after the 2019 Dun Laoghaire startThe Greystones Harbour JOD Red Alert shortly after the 2019 Dun Laoghaire Dingle start Photo: Afloat

A notice on the event website says "in these uncertain times, we may have to request some boats not to take part or some competitors may be forced to withdraw their entries".

Winklemann told ICRA that if the restrictions do not permit the race to go ahead on June 9th, then a decision has already been made to "push the event out until its next staging in June 2023".

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle
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