Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Another VO70 for Round Ireland?

16th June 2008

An announcement is likely today on whether or not Team Russia will send its new VO70 to the start of the Round Ireland race. The Team will officially christen its radical boat today.

Hopes are high that Team Russia will line out against Ger O'Rourke's McConnell's Chieftain VO70 off Wicklow head on Saturday. Whether or not both boats turn up, the chances are high that the long-standing record could fall.

Mike Slade, owner of ICAP Leopard - fresh from slashing 8 hours off the Transatlantic 'powered sails' record - is now targeting the BMW Round Ireland as the next scalp to hang from his tepee. The 100-foot yacht arrives into Dun Laoghaire harbour tomorrow (Tuesday) and will be based at number one berth.

Colm Barrington's record of 3 days 4 hours 23 minutes and 57 seconds has stood for the last ten years in spite of serious challenges over the years, particularly from O2 Team Spirit in 2004 and another 30m monster Konica Minolta Zara from New Zealand in 2006.

At 30m - the equivalent length of three and a half double-decker buses - ICAP Leopard is a Farr design canting keel racing machine dedicated to winning the most prestigious offshore yacht races in the world. She is the current holder of the record for the Rolex Fastnet Race having taken a massive 9 hours off that record in 2007.

However, Leopard will face stiff competition for both line and class honours in this years race with up to 2 VO70's, a VO 60 and Andres Soriano¹s IRC 68 Alegre amongst others expected to compete in the Super 0 class.

The BMW Round Ireland Race starts off Wicklow Harbour at 4pm on 21st June. The start itself is an amazing spectacle and the buzz around the harbour and in Wicklow Sailing Club is one of the great spectacles of Irish sailing. The latest information on each competitor and GPS tracking for each boat can be found by logging onto the race website and the GPS tracker and regular updates will be available on throughout the race. Team

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