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Olympians prepare to round the rock

20th June 2008

Two former Olympians will both head off from Wicklow today (Saturday) on what is, for both, their first Round Ireland yacht race.

One is from Ireland, the other from Brazil.

Tom Fitzpatrick, who represented Ireland at the Athens Olympics in the 49er with Fraser Brown, will head off 'round the rock on FMB Noyeks, a Beneteau First 36.7 which he'll be sailing with his father, Tom Snr.

Fitzpatrick, a former Afloat Sailor of the Year and three times the ISA Champion of Champions (now sailing All-Irelands) winner has had much of his success in small boats, but will turn his skills to offshore sailing in what is his first long-distance event.

Meanwhile, on board IRC 68 Alegre, multiple Olympic medallist Torben Grael has stepped in last minute to take the helm.

Grael, who has earned Brazil five gold medals for sailing keelboats, will shorten the odds on Alegre considerably.

The lightweight flyer, recently delivered from the Canary Islands is thought to be a rocketship downwind in light conditions, but the heavy upwind slog predicted for much of Saturday night and into Sunday morning may not suit her as well it does the larger boats like the 100ft maxi ICAP Leopard.

On board the delivery crew for that journey was former Mirror World Champion, Cork's Revelin Minihane.

Minihane will be keeping a close eye on Alegre from his berth for the race, on board Ger O'Rourke's VO70 McConnell's Chieftain, where he'll be doing bow.


Afloat has all you need to track the BMW Round Ireland Yacht race

Check back for our live updates, posted several times a day, with podcasts straight from the boats while they're out on the racecourse.

Get the official news from the race committee on the official race website - www.roundirelandyachtrace.ie

Get real-time live information on boats' race position with the race's official race tracker - Link here

Check what the weather's doing hour-by-hour with - Windguru

Check how your favourite rates against the others in the unofficial Afloat stakes

Afloat.ie - we've got the Round Ireland all rounded up.

Afloat.ie Team

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