Apart from two essential stops at Portrush in County Antrim and Ballyglass on Broadhaven in County Mayo to take on fuel, Safehaven Marine’s challenge for a viable record for the 2000 kilometres round Ireland and Rockall, powering on with their remarkable new speed machine Thunderchild, has seen only two other stops writes W M Nixon.
One was to get a photo of the boat at Rockall itself last night, when enough daylight was available at the edge of the short northern darkness to produce a memorable and otherworldly image. And the other, specially important to a crew so closely involved with sea safety, was a pause at Black Rock off the Mayo coast this afternoon to pay their respects to the memory of the crew of air-sea rescue helicopter R 116, tragically lost on a March night four months ago in conditions very different from the summer weather which has now settled over Ireland.
But as this calm weather has followed on an unsettled period, the seas have taken time to smooth down. It’s seldom enough that Thunderchild has been able to enjoy a top speed of 52 knots in a voyage which at one stage saw her slowed back – albeit very briefly - to 20 knots. At 1845 hours this evening (Wednesday) she is at 42 knots coming in past the Fastnet, well on track to set a good time when she completes the circuit at the Old Head of Kinsale with an average speed of better than 33 knots, and neatly on time for a proper welcome home to Cobh well before dark.