Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Round Ireland Yacht Race

The entry of a Howth Yacht Club XC 45 and J109 brings August's Round Ireland Yacht Race fleet to 45.

The stand-out result is made all the more impressive as the Wicklow Race has achieved the numbers in the middle of a pandemic and there are still eight weeks left to the first gun.

Robert Rendell's XC 45 'Samatom' and Simon Knowles' J109 'Indian' now bring to three the number of entries from Howth.

They join clubmate John Murphy's early J109 entry 'Outrajeous' for the 700-miler.

As Afloat predicted earlier, the Round Ireland fleet is building to be an international one for its 21st edition.

Among the fleet are five Jeanneau Sunfast 3600s as well as Cian McCarthy's new 3300 from Kinsale and a French class 40. Also from Dublin Bay is Andrew Algeo's J99 from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Simon Knowles J109 from Howth Yacht ClubSimon Knowles' J109 from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

Published in Round Ireland

Yet Another British-based Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 has entered August's SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race bringing to five the number of the hard chined pocket-rockets entered for Ireland's biennial 700-mile offshore race.

Gavin Howe's Tigris latest entry – the 44th boat into the Irish race – is a potent addition too. Howe, of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, is a former Round Britain Race competitor. A regular two-handed entry, for which the 3600 is popular for, Howe finished fourth overall in the two-handed class in last year's RORC Points Series.

Well adapted to solo, doublehanded, and crewed regattas, the Sun Fast 3600 is proving a popular marque for the August 22nd race. Four Hamble based 3600s are registered now with, as Afloat reported in May, Donal Ryan's Team Fujitsu, Deb Fish's regular Bellino as well as Black Sheep (T Middleton) all slated for the Wicklow Head start.

They'll be joined by local John O'Gorman's Hot Cookie. The National Yacht Club Sunfast 3600 took third overall on IRC in last year's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race, so the offshore hardened crew will be a force to be reckoned with in August. AS previously suggested, although not Round Ireland registered so far, there is always the prospect of Dun Laoghaire Harbour sistership Yoyo (Brendan Coghlan from the Royal St George Yacht Club) taking on the challenge too?

Published in Round Ireland

Making good on last month's speculation by Afloat that the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race postponement could play into the hands of the Irish offshore race with a larger than normal French presence this August, the first Class 40 entry has been received in Wicklow.

Antoine Magre's Palanad 3 from La Trinite sur Mer is the 43rd entry into the 700-mile race boosting hopes that the international Class 40 fleet will support the late summer fixture at Wicklow.

Magre is a former Class 40 winner of RORC's De Guingand Bowl Race.

It is understood the cancellation of Class 40s Transatlantic race due to COVID-19 in May has led the French sailors to look further afield for racing this year.

Class 40 is a type of monohull sailboat primarily used for short-handed offshore and coastal racing. 

It may also well be that Round Ireland Race Organiser Kyran O'Grady's pioneering efforts at the Paris Boat Show last December may yet bear fruit with a bumper international Round Ireland fleet still in prospect.

Published in Round Ireland

Andrew Algeo's J/99 Juggerknot II is the 41st entry into August's Round Ireland Race

The entry for the 21st edition of the 700-mile race from Wicklow Sailing Club is building again after a hiatus during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Round Ireland will be the second offshore foray for the Royal Irish Yacht Club and Baltimore Sailing Club entry, the Dun Laoghaire crew finished in the top ten in the 2019 Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race.

The former J109 National Champion  had his first regatta in the new J99, Juggerknot II (IRL3990) at Spi Ouest Regatta in April 2019 and since then has campaigned at Dublin Bay Regattas and ISORA.

Juggerknot II is entered for the offshore fixture under the joint names of Algeo and Mark McGibney, the RIYC Sailing Manager.

Sigma 33 entry

A third Kinsale Yacht Club entry, David Riome’s Sigma 33, Valfreya brings overall entries in the Round Ireland to 43 so far.

Published in Round Ireland

In a nod to a possible increased French entry, the revised notice of race for August’s Round Ireland Race from Wicklow issued this week says the race will take place under IRC, MOCRA and Class 40 rules.

The updated document (2.3mb) is downloadable below.

As Afloat reported previously, there is speculation that the race's postponement could lead to a larger than normal French entry as the international Class 40 fleet eye the late summer fixture.

There are no additional French yachts registered so far for the 700-miler on August 22 but it is understood the cancellation of Class 40s Transatlantic race due to COVID-19 in May has led the French sailors to look further afield for racing this year.

It is full steam ahead for the biennial race that this week reported three new entries

Crew weight

IRC Rule 22.4.2 has been deleted in the Notice of Race. The rule invokes a crew weight limit unless otherwise specified. Wicklow Sailing Club organisers have replaced the rule with 'the maximum number of crew that may sail aboard a boat shall be the number as specified on her rating certificate' meaning there is no weight limit.

The provision overrides IRC Rule 22.4.2 in respect of one design classes but the Notice of Race also says a class may wish for its own purposes to apply its own crew limits.

The updated NOR is downloadable below.

Published in Round Ireland

Round Ireland Yacht Race organisers are hoping that the package of measures announced by Marine Minister Michael Creed for Wicklow Harbour last week will be in place for the biennial race that starts in 12 weeks time.

Wicklow harbour was awarded €95, 000 for upgrading work on its piers as part of a €3.1m package to assist 10 coastal local authorities in 58 development and repair projects.

€33,750 has been allocated for the upgrading of existing and installation of new ladders with handrails along the North and South Quay.

€61,875 has also been provided for minor improvement works at Wicklow's East Pier to include the installation of vertical rubber fenders; Installation of LED lighting; Replacement of damaged railings and installation of new railing at certain points. There is a provision of power and water points; improvements to steps leading to the water at the top of the Packet Pier and lifeboat end; Installation of three new ladders; Installation of two to three small bollards between existing bollards to increase capacity/ reduce crossover.

The race starts from Wicklow on August 22nd and already has 39 entries registered.

Published in Round Ireland

It is full steam ahead for August's Round Ireland Yacht Race at Wicklow Harbour with three new entries received for the 700-mile classic.

Back for another circumnavigation is the Shannon Estuary father and son team of Derek and Conor Dillon in the Dehler 34 Big Deal.

Rumball Fiaro 2 4434Shannon Estuary Round Ireland Challengers - The father and son team of Derek and Conor Dillon from Foynes in the Dehler 34 Big Deal Photo: Afloat

After a lull in entries as the race was rescheduled and crews came to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a small number of withdrawals but three new arrivals means the 21st-anniversary fleet is at 39 boats with 12 weeks to the first gun off Wicklow.

Also entered is Charlene Howard's Jeanneau 45.2 AJ Wanderlust of Douglas BayYC in the Isle of Man and Kate Cope's Sunfast 3200, Purple Mist of RORC adding to the Jeanneau Round Ireland fleet.

Organisers say the revised Notice of Race will be posted in the coming days as will a revised entry deadline.

Published in Round Ireland

If the prospect of a fleet of four Sunfast 3600s for this summer's Round Ireland Yacht Race is not enough of a sign of Jeanneau's potency offshore these days, the race debut of at least two brand new Sunfast 3300s is also another exciting aspect of the postponed 700-mile race that looks set to attract an international fleet for its 21st edition.

As regular Afloat readers will know, the recently arrived Kinsale-based 3300 supplied by MGM Boats  'Cinnamon Girl' is signed up and, as Afloat sources now reveal, this West Cork entry brings with it the prospect of a UK sistership entering the race too.

2 sun fast 3300 dun laoghaire2 1The new-style stem on the MGM Boats-imported Sun Fast 3300 Cinnamon Girl as seen in March in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Afloat

As Afloat's WM remarked in March, weeks before lockdown, the launch of the 3300 will make Irish sailing fun again, let's hope he is right! 

Sunfast 3600

Three Hamble based 3600s are registered now for the August 22nd start with Donal Ryan's Team Fujitsu, Deb Fish's regular Bellino as well as Black Sheep (T Middleton) all slated for the Wicklow Head start.

They'll be joined by local John O'Gorman's Hot Cookie. The National Yacht Club Sunfast 3600 took third overall on IRC in last year's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race, so the offshore hardened crew will be a force to be reckoned with in August. Although not Round Ireland registered so far, there is always the prospect of Dun Laoghaire Harbour sistership Yoyo (Brendan Coghlan from the Royal St George Yacht Club) taking on the challenge too? 

ISORA Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 0554Two Dun Laoghaire Harbour Sunfast 3600s – Hot Cookie Sunfast 3600 (John O'Gorman) to weather and Brendan Coghlan's YOYO (also below) from the Royal St George Yacht Club competing in a 2019 ISORA race Photo:

Sunfast 37

Meanwhile, three older Sunfast 37s are also flying the Jeanneau flag in this 21st edition of the race. John Conlon's Sun Fast 37, Humdinger from Arklow Sailing Club is registered as are two Irish Offshore Sailing School entries from Dun Laoghaire Harbour too.

Published in Round Ireland

Organisers of the SSE Renewables Round Ireland 2020 say they appreciate the enthusiastic support from entrants and its title sponsor alike upon its move to a new start date on 22 August.

Earlier this month it was announced that the start of the 704-mile race would be pushed back by two months, subject to Government guidelines, amid restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wicklow Sailing Club Commodore Kyran O’Grady said: “We would like to thank all the entrants to the race for their continued support.

“The majority of the current entrants who have sent us words of encouragement are still hoping to take part on the new date of the 22nd of August, and we look forward to welcoming them all to Wicklow.”

That support was echoed by title sponsor SSE Renewables.

“Postponing the SSE Renewables Round Ireland is the correct course of action as safety is our first priority,” said Barry Kilcline, SSE Renewables’ director of development.

“We remain committed to working with Wicklow Sailing Club on preparations for the new August date and the prospect of an exciting race.”

Previously, W M Nixon wrote about now the new start date emphasises the significance of the race to the national sailing calendar.

Published in Round Ireland

If we needed a reminder of the central role which the biennial Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow has grown into within Irish sailing and in the global offshore racing context during its 40 years and 20 editions, then the ramifications of its postponement from the 20th June 2020 to the 22nd August is really all that is required to signal the importance of this 704-mile challenge.

In the very complete Coronavirus COVID-19 meltdown of normal life, the numbers of sailors and others advocating such a move – or something similar - had been steadily increasing, as it became increasingly evident that the date was still available and possible, yet needed to be booked well in advance. As the time needed for the countrywide eradication of the disease is still very much an unknown - despite increasingly sophisticated analyses of its progress – the latest possible date for the race while still placing it within the summer season was the one which had to be chosen.

The sympathies of any reasonable person and all experienced sailors – particularly the large numbers who have raced in this very special event – will have been very much with Wicklow SC Commodore Kyran O’Grady and his organising team, together with their new, supportive and understanding sponsors in SSE Renewables, as they grappled with a challenging decision.

2 corum teasing machine2The modern Round Ireland Race has international credentials – France’s Corum and Teasing Machine battle it out at 2018’s start. Photo: W M Nixon

An event of this stature has a dominant position in the entire complex season-long structure of the Irish sailing programme. Thus, even when it had to be postponed by only one week to June 30th in 2018, the rest of the national cruiser-racer schedule in that period of the summer adjusted itself accordingly.

But that was a minor change by comparison with this new two months hiatus during which – if the lock-down is so successful that it can start to be significantly eased – we can expect pop-up regattas and immediate sailing events to be rapidly organised in the best flash mob-style the instant sailing becomes possible again.

In the crazy times we live in, and with everyone probably slightly off their rockers by the time we do get sailing again, it’s perfectly possible that folk will get a taste for this sort of ad hoc arrangement, and a long countdown event like the Round Ireland will seem almost quaint.

3 1980 round ireland start3Small beginnings – the start of the first Round Ireland Race off Wicklow in 1980. The winner was Brian Coad’s Rival 34 Raasay of Melfort (centre) from Dunmore East. Photo: W M Nixon

But by its very nature, the Round Ireland has to be a long countdown event, for it requires participating crews to have logged a certain amount of minimal experience in serious offshore competition, such that one of the strongest pressure groups in urging a specific postponement was the sailing schools, who reckoned they’d find it very difficult to fulfil their quota of qualifiers in such a truncated early season.

Yet with other potential events starting to wave flags about easily re-shaped happenings which can be put together almost overnight, serious Round Ireland owner-skippers are going to find themselves in a quandary, for although a successful offshore racing crew is not a democracy, nor is it an autocracy. Decisions are reached through a sort of osmosis.

Denis Doyle & Moonduster

In these circumstances, the best approach is to ask: “What would The Doyler have done?” Or rather, “What would The Doyler do?” For although the great Denis Doyle of Cork has been gone from among us now for 19 years - having sailed his last Fastnet Race on the Crosshaven-built Frers 51 Moonduster at the age of 81 in 2001 - his sailing inspiration and moral example is so strong that, for an entire generation of Irish offshore campaigners, it’s The Doyler who continues to be our reference point, our ever-present guide, our moral compass.

4 denis doyle4Denis Doyle – he was racing offshore for sixty years

Yet by seeing him as such, we aren’t contravening the great Dwight D Eisenhower’s hallmark of a successful commander, which was revealed here in a fascinating piece about strategy and tactics by that renowned soldier-sailor Commandant Barry Byrne, originally of Wicklow, and no stranger to success in the Round Ireland Race himself.

The word from Commandant Byrne was that Eisenhower was totally supportive of high-level commanders and staff officers who were always planning, but didn’t have some sacred fixed Plan, other than an ultimate objective.

5 jokerII round ireland start5The J/109 Joker II (John Maybury, skippered by Barry Byrne) at the start of the 2018 race, in which she finished second overall. Photo: O’Brien

Thus Denis Doyle, who was racing offshore from the late 1930s until just after the turn of the century, was keen to go offshore racing, and even keener if he felt it was good for Cork, good for Ireland, and good for life generally – his ultimate objective was broad in scope.

So although the first Round Ireland Race of 1980 from Wicklow (see the first set of sailing instructions here) was seen by many in the Irish sailing community as a rather cheeky shot in the dark from a small club, Denis Doyle in Cork saw that it was good, and with his new Moonduster built in 1981, he arrived into Wicklow with this marvellous boat for the next race in 1982, and his commitment to the Round Ireland Races thereafter was complete, contributing enormously to its long-standing success.

6 new moonduster spinnaker6“This marvellous boat” – the new Crosshaven-built Frers 51 Moonduster in 1981. Photo: W M Nixon

Now admittedly all the Round Ireland Races in which he competed – winning two of them and establishing course records in both 1982 and 1984 – were placed firmly in the final week of June, which thus left the later part of the season clear for other events for Moonduster, events which could be very distant.

For instance, one year he and three others including his ever-supportive wife Mary set out to sail Moonduster post-haste to Sardinia in order to race in the Sardinia Cup. And as well, the elegant varnished sloop was no stranger to the regattas in Galicia in northwest Spain, so much so that when I first ambled into the Monte Real Yacht Club in Bayona after an unusually agreeable Biscay crossing back in 1995, it was to note with interest that the newly-installed board listing Honorary Members was so new it had just two names on it – Denis Doyle and some guy called Juan Carlos. 

7 moonduster spinnaker7Throughout his 20 years with the Frers-designed Moonduster, Denis Doyle kept her topsides varnished. This is how she looked in 1995, at the start of the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race. Photo: David O’Brien/

So his reach in sailing was truly pan-European, yet once he’d given his commitment to some event and its locality, his commitment was maintained through thick and thin, a commitment which remained through major changes when those changes were caused by circumstances beyond the control of the event organisers. So although the Round Ireland Race is now going to be two months late, I think we know what The Doyler would do.

For sure, the nights will be significantly longer and the weather of late August can be verging into the Autumnal. But those longer nights don’t seem quite so brutal as some of the short nights of June, for the sea has become significantly warmer and if the weather is benign, there’s a velvet quality to those longer nights which can make them a pleasantly memorable experience.

But either way – good weather or mixed – we can be sure that if Denis Doyle were still around, any ideas he might have had about other sailing plans for late August would have been scrapped in the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and first priority would be given to the original commitment of being on the starting line for the Round Ireland Race, even if Force Majeure has caused it to be held two months late.

8 original moonduster fastnet8The original “white Moonduster”, a 47ft Robert Clark design built in Crosshaven in 1965, making to windward towards the Rock in the Fastnet Race of 1969
He would be there because it’s the right thing to do. This attitude was clearly revealed back in 1972, when Denis Doyle was a flag officer both of the Royal Cork YC and the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and still racing the handsome Robert Clark-designed Crosshaven-built 47ft white Moonduster of 1965 vintage. The core event of the season was one with which he was particularly involved, an RORC Cowes to Cork Race after Cowes Week, something which promised great sport for a large entry.

9 original moonduster cork9The original Moonduster manoeuvring before the start of the 1970 RORC Cork-Brest Race, after the RORC fleet had raced Cowes-Cork as part of the Royal Cork YC Quarter Millennial celebrations. Photo: W M Nixon

But as 1972 progressed, the Troubles in Northern Ireland deepened rapidly with much bloodshed, and the top management in the RORC became jittery about their fleet racing to “war-torn Ireland”. Denis assured them that nowhere was further and safer from the northern troubles than the race’s destination at the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven, but he was over-ruled, and the decision was made to race instead from Cowes to Santander in Spain.

Denis took this rebuff in his usual calm way, and entered Moonduster for the 1972 RORC Cowes-Santander Race. As was her wont, Mary Doyle went out to Spain to be ready to welcome her husband and his crew at the finish. And as Moonduster glided up the river, there indeed was Mary, coolly stylish as ever, elegantly waiting beside the smoking ruins of the Real Club Maritimo de Santander. It had been blown up by Basque Separatists the night before.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
Page 2 of 16

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating