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Prof O'Connell & Conor Clarke Dismasted While Leading Round Jamaica Race

4th December 2018
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Motoring into Kingston Harbour escorted by Jamaican Coastguard, L-R is Conor Clarke (IRL), David Allen (JAM), Prof O'Connell (North Sails Ireland) and Michael Browne (NI) Motoring into Kingston Harbour escorted by Jamaican Coastguard, L-R is Conor Clarke (IRL), David Allen (JAM), Prof O'Connell (North Sails Ireland) and Michael Browne (NI)

Two years to the day that Ireland's Embarr team won the Melges 24 Worlds in Miami, Conor Clarke and Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell were back on the water for the 380–mile Round Jamaica Race on Mark Shield's Beneteau 35s5 "Breakaway". Mark is Commodore of the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club which is now Conor's home club. Prof takes up the story of a circumnavigation that ended suddenly

We were going very well, vying for first place on corrected time when, 15 miles from the finish in 25 knots of wind in tough upwind conditions, the starboard rod cap shroud failed at the turnbuckle and we were dismasted. We had a No. 2 genoa and a reef in the main at the time. It happened at 6 am yesterday morning.

We systematically cut all the lines, halyards, electrical cable and shrouds and sent the broken rig and the two sails to the ocean floor - including a brand new North Sails 3Di mainsail! Had we had more time, we would have tried to recover it all and bring it back onboard but we were drifting to a lee shore and had to move fast. It was an odd feeling - once the rig and all the bits had gone, there was an eerie silence which you wouldn't expect. Quite strange.

The good news is that it all went pretty smoothly, nobody was seriously hurt. En route home now via Miami.

Maurice O'Connell

About The Author

Maurice O'Connell

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Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell is a One Design Expert with North Sails Ireland. He is a Pro Sailor and Coach. Full bio here.

North Sails Ireland is operated by Loft Manager and One Design Expert Nigel Young at his Cork Harbour base at Myrtleville. The company specialities include Bend on / Bend off, Canvas, Certified Service, Sail Hardware Upgrades, Sail Inspection / Evaluation, Sail Measurement, Sail Repair, Sail Storage and Sail Washing. Working with Nigel are Maurice O'Connell, Shane Hughes and Richard Marshall.

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