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There’s a problem with the Round Ireland sailing record if you’re hoping to set a new one in the Volvo Round Ireland Race when it starts from Wicklow at 1300hrs this Saturday, June 18th writes W M Nixon.

The problem is set by that very specific date and that time. It in turn has been set for a long time now, two years and more. But the absolute unlimited round Ireland has become refined to such an extent that you have to allow flexibility and a very broad window of time in which to make your start, and within that arc of time you wait for conditions to come just right.

Yet even then, as all your ducks of wind and weather come into the required neat row, it could well be that a few minutes either way in actually getting the record challenge on track may ultimately make a difference. It has become as sophisticated as that.

However, when it’s a matter of the gun firing and the race going off at a pre-ordained time, while it’s the same for everyone, equally the possibility of a new record – other than for the race itself – is very much in the lap of the Gods.

Yet it was the 704-mile Round Ireland Race which first began serious interest in an open record time. After Denis Doyle with the great Moonduster – a Frers 51 – set an astonishing time of 3 days 16hrs 15mins and 43 seconds in the race of 1984, it became open season for an open record.

People inevitably speculated what might be done, going for it exactly when you wanted when wind expectations were optimised, and going with a multi-hull too. But if anything, the times initially recorded served only to emphasise what an astonishing achievement The Doyler with The Duster had made in 1984. Yet within a decade, a new plateau had been reached when Steve Fossett, with the 60–ft trimaran Lakota, enticed to Ireland by Con Murphy and Cathy MacAleavey who crewed with him, rocketed round in 1 day 20 hours 42 minutes and 20 seconds in September 1993.

 Lakota

Lakota departs Dublin Bay on her record challenge in September 1993

That open record stood for 22 years – it was only finally bested by Sidney Gavignet with the MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail in May 2015 with a time of 1 day 16 hours 51 minutes and 57 seconds. The fact that the MOD 70’s crew didn’t come anywhere near knocking the ten hours they’d expected off the Lakota record tells us what a fantastic performance it had been in the first place, but equally it means that it’s unlikely that anyone will be trying to better Musandam’s time any time soon, unless the wind and weather chips fall exactly the right way during a Volvo Round Ireland Race.

Oman sail MOD 70 3
The MOD 70 Musandam-Oman off the Irish coast for her successful record challenge in May 2015

But with Saturday currently forecast to see light nor’easterlies giving way to fresher sou’westers, while conditions aren’t entirely unfavourable, they could be much better. Everyone will have to take it as it comes, knowing that for a speedy round Ireland you need either nor’westers or sou’easters, not too much, not too little, and holding up well. It’s a big ask.

However, we’ve plenty of other stats to be going along with, as the Volvo Round Ireland Race will almost certainly see a Race Course Record for multi-hulls established, for although a little cruising catamaran went off with the original pre-RORC fleet from Wicklow in the first race of 1980, nobody seems too sure that she even finished, and if she did, she certainly wasn’t first.

But as the race developed its own mythology over the year, its own record elapsed times became interesting. That said, it took a long time to do better than Moonduster, but Lawrie Smith finally managed it in 1990 with the 83–ft Maxi Rothmans, shaving the Doyler’s time downwards by just three hours to set a time of 3d 12h 56m 06seconds.

Rothmans Maxi 4
The 83ft–Rothmans (Lawrie Smith) finally shaved a bit off Denis Doyle’s monohull record time of 1984 during the Round Ireland Race of 1990

Interestingly enough, Gordon Maguire was aboard Rothmans when she set that time in 1990, and he was aboard Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard when she set what is still the current course record of 2d 17h 48m 47s.

But there was another course record in between those two times, in 1998 when Colm Barrington raced round Ireland with the Whitbread 60 Jeep Cherokee, and did it in a time of 3 days 4 hours 23 minutes and 53 seconds.

When we remember that the Barrington time with a 60-footer was sandwiched between the times of an 83-footer and a 100-footer, it gives the Jeep Cherokee record an added lustre. But this Saturday, the MOD 70s and the likes of Rambler 88 will know that they have to be looking at a time of less than 2 days and 17 hours if they’re going to be making any sort of a dent in Leopard’s record.

ICAP leopard 5
Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard currently holds the course record for the Volvo Round Ireland Race after taking line honurs in 2008

And for those looking for fresh records to conquer, you can forget about the single-handed record of 4 days 1 hour and 52 minutes established by Michel Kleinjans of Belgium in the Open 40 Roaring Forty in October 2005, for if you tried to do the same, you’d probably get arrested, as ambitious single-handed sailing is officially frowned upon in Irish waters. But there is a growing area of interest, the two-handed record, so we’ll watch what this year’s race serves up in that department.

However, as for the open mono-hull record independent of the race, here again we have the same kind of time, in its way, as was set in 1993 by Lakota. It was in 2006 that the fully-crewed Open 60 Cityjet/Solene (Jean-Philippe Chomette) went round in 2 days 9 hours and 41 minutes, and even the mighty Leopard in 2008 took eight hours longer than that.

Solune 6
CityJet/Solene established an very impressive unrestricted monohull record in 2006. Photo: David O’Brien

CityJet/Solene had ace meteorologist Chris Tibbs calling the strategic and tactical shots, and he got it so right that it has an unbeatable look about it, but then they used to say the same about the Lakota figure. Be that as it may, here’s a shortened tabulation of sorts, and it all starts from Moonduster’s performance of 1984, the Great Mother of All Round Ireland records.

Round Ireland Race Record times:

1984 Moonduster (D. Doyle, RCYC) 3d 16hrs 15mins 43s.

1990 Rothmans (L Smith, LTSC) 3d 12hrs 56mins 06s

1998 Jeep Cherokee (C. Barrington, RIYC) 3d 4h 23m 57s

2008 Leopard (M Slade, RORC) 2d 17h 48m 47s

Round Ireland Open Record Times

1984 Moonduster (D Doyle, RCYC) 3d 16h 15mins 43s

1986 British Airways (R Knox-Johnston) 3d 4h 5m 36s

1986 Novanet (R Gomes, RUYC) 2d 22h 25m 16s

1993 Lakota (S Fossett) 1d 20h 42m 20s

2015 Musandam-Oman Sail (S Gavignet) 1d 16h 51m 57s

Round Ireland Monohull Record Times

1984 Moonduster (D Doyle, RCYC) 3d 16h 15m 43s

1990 Rothmans (L Smith, LTSC) 3d 12h 56m 06s

1998 Jeep Cherokee (C Barrington, RIYC) 3d 4h 23m 57s

2005 CityJet/Solene (Jean-Philippe Chomette) 2d 9h 41m

Published in Round Ireland

Damian Foxall and Oman Sail’s crew on the Sultanate of Oman’s giant trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail are determined to fly the flag for Oman (and Foxall's home county Kerry) in Wicklow Sailing Club's Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race this Saturday by beating the two other Multi70s and defending their Round Ireland world record.

When the race starts in Wicklow on Saturday, Sidney Gavignet’s team will have their sights on defeating Phaedo 3 and Concise 10, the two other 70–foot trimarans competing for honours.

Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 has on board some Irish talent too. Double Volvo Ocean Race winner Justin Slattery is on board. Also on Phaedo3 is the UK's Brian Thompson, one of the most famous sailors in the world. He was the first Briton to break the Round the World sailing record twice. He was also the first to sail non stop around the world 4 times.

Despite a win over Team Concise in the recent Myth of Malham Race, they will have to pull out all the stops to achieve their aim, according to Gavignet, but after some intensive preparations, they were savoring the opportunity to compete.

“We see this as the most important race of our season,” said skipper Gavignet who will share helming duties with Omani Fahad Al Hasni and Irish offshore heavyweight Foxall over the two to three-day challenge.

“We do not know how we will get on against the other two but we really want to finish ahead of them both! They have done a lot of sailing this year and from the Myth of Malham, I’d say that Team Concise are sharp and we understand that Phaedo has had a complete refit with new 3D sails.

“But we know from when we set a new Round Ireland world record last year that this is a difficult course.

“We want to retain that record because achieving it meant so much to us and we were very happy to hear that the Round Ireland race has attracted the largest ever entry this year with teams motivated to beat our record. It feels like there’s been a renewal which makes us even more determined to win.”

The 704nm race clockwise round the Emerald Isle, as it is known, is a mix of coastal and offshore challenges so French navigator Jean Luc Nelias will have his work cut out while everyone is prepared for heavy weather along the way.

“Ideally it will not be too bad on the west coast - we do not want to be hammered by a massive low,” said Al Hasni.

“And if we could pick a breeze, we would go for fast reaching conditions because we are difficult to beat in that mode. We have good boat speed on Musandam-Oman Sail and a good crew especially with Sidney and Damian who seem to be able to put on extra knots!”

Gavignet will leave it until Friday when the team assembles in Wicklow for final training to announce his six strong crew for the race but his options will include debutant Raad Al Hadi, the 95kg powerhouse known as ‘Thunder’, after he participates in delivering Musandam-Oman Sail from Lorient to Wicklow.

Also available are Yasser Al Rahbi and Sami Al Shukaili who were on board for the record-breaking voyage in 2015 when Musandam-Oman Sail smashed the Round Ireland record completing the course in 40 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds, slicing four hours off a record that had stood for 22 years.

All have been in France competing in the J80 class at Normandy Race Week which has helped with refining boat handling skills and building on a strong team spirit in preparation for the Round Ireland Race and also for the 2016 Transat Quebec-St Malo race across the Atlantic in July.

Published in Round Ireland

Some of the world's top offshore sailors in some of the world's top racing machines from both monohull and multihull disciplines are heading for the Irish east coast this week in advance of Saturday's Volvo Round Ireland Race off Wicklow.

Over half of the fleet are gathering in Dun Laoghaire harbour this week to avail of Wicklow Sailing Club's new tie–in with the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the facitlities of the town marina. 33 boats will prepare for the 700–mile cricumavigation at Dun Laoghaire but not even Ireland's biggest deep–water marina can host the biggest yacht in the fleet. The world's fastest monohull, the supermaxi Rambler 88, will use a mooring in the outer harbour for reasons of depth. The George David skippered super–yacht is expected to be the star of the 2016–fleet.

Wicklow Sailing Club will host an eve–of–race fleet recepton at the Royal Irish Yacht fleet reception on Thursday when it is understood most of the fleet will be in–harbour. Some yachts have already arrived. The world record breaking Phaedo 3 trimaran, skippered by Lloyd Thornburg, has already been spotted out on training runs on Dublin Bay last Saturday. Also in port is the oldest boat in the fleet, the 1936 Maybird skippered gaff–ketch that will race in class five. Katsu, a Reichel-Pugh design, has been entered in class one by Alan Hannon of the RORC and she is alongside at the RIYC. One of two Concise Class 40 Class 40 yachts are on the marina along with the Phaedo3 tri.

Early arrivals for Round Ireland 2016

Katsu round ireland Katsu, a Reichel-Pugh, at the RIYC slipway, has been entered in Class 1 by Alan Hannon of the RORC. Scroll down the page to see some of the other early arrivals

class40 concise

UK Class 40 Team Concise entry at Dun Laoghaire marina

Maybird ketch

Darryl Hughes's Maybird, a 1936 Gaff Ketch racing in Class 5 at Dun Laoghaire Marina 

Phaedo3 round ireland

Phaedo 3, a MOD70 entry in the multihull class has been practising on Dublin Bay

rambler88 arrives

Supermaxi Rambler 88 arrives in Dun Laoghaire late on Monday evening

round Ireland dunlaoghaire

Half of Wicklow Sailing Club's 65-boat Round Ireland fleet will be in Dun Laoghaire harbour by Thursday for the pre–race reception at the RIYC clubhouse. 

Three Tralee Bay Sailing Club members set out from Fenit in county Kerry yesterday to retrace a TBSC voyage first made 25 years ago. Ribbers Cian O'Donnell, James Landers and Giles Kelliher set out from the most westerly port in Europe on the 700–mile circumnavigation. Pit stops are planned in Burtonport tonight, then Bangor, Kilmore Quay, Dingle before returning home to Fenit. 

Published in Powerboat Racing

An entry into next month's Volvo Round Ireland Race finished second in this weekend's Myth of Malham race and now tops the RORC points series just three weeks before the Irish offshore classic begins in Wicklow. Royal Irish sailor Michael Boyd will skipper the First 44.7, Lisa for the 700–mile Irish race and given this weekend's performance, the Beneteau yacht is very much up to speed.

Tenacity and dogged determination were to the fore for the class winners of the 230-mile Myth of Malham Race. With a light fickle northerly breeze, staying alert and making the best of the light conditions was the recipe for success. Yachts from Britain, France, Germany and Oman were the class winners.

Gilles Fournier's French J/133, Pintia was the overall winner of the Myth of Malham Race, after a tremendous battle with Suzi and Nick Jones' British First 44.7, Lisa. The two boats were literally side by side for the 230 mile race and after IRC time correction Pintia was the winner by just eight seconds after 38 hours of racing. Lisa was second but now leads the RORC Season's Points Championship. Past RORC Commodore Mike Greville racing his Ker 39, Erivale III was third overall.

Gilles Fournier was sailing back to their home port of Le Havre when he heard the news. “The whole crew are delighted but I must ring Nick Jones.” smiled Gilles. “When you are on the right side by eight seconds it is nice but I suppose Nick will be on the right side next time. They managed to stay ahead of us for sometime but we caught up and rounded Eddystone in front but then we ran out of wind and they passed us again. However, w never gave up, we kept up our motivation to the end because we knew that it would be very close. Like Nick and Suzi's Lisa, we are a family boat. Pintia sails with my daughter Corinne Migraine and my grandson Victor Migraine and my two nephews; Yan and Thomas Fournier. Also Daniel Devos who is one of the best Laser Masters in the world. We are all from the Société des Régates du Havre and it is the best sailing school in France.”

“We really pushed each other and that is probably why we both did so well.” commented Lisa's skipper, Nick Jones. “Keeping going in light airs for that length of time is far more difficult that racing in moderate or heavy weather and all the crew had to dig deep to stay alert. With just zephyrs of wind concentration levels need to be maintained. Suzi did a fantastic job trimming the Code Zero. Using the apparent wind to hop from one puff of breeze to the next was the trick and the team managed that very well. We are delighted to be leading the RORC Season's Points Championship and would like to thank the Pintia team for a fantastic race. Now home to look after our three children!”

The battle of the MOD70s in the Multihull Class was won by Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet. Tony Lawson's Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, was just under 12 minutes behind after a cat and mouse chase lasting 21 hours. The Multihulls started after the rest of the fleet and although Musandam-Oman Sail were first over the line, Concise 10 did a better job of getting through the traffic to make the favoured main land shore in the crowded Solent. However, it was the Omani MOD70 that led out past The Needles into the English Channel, passing Concise 10 just after Lymington in a better wind line. Concise 10 came back, taking the lead on a hitch offshore after Swanage, but once again Sidney Gavignet's team came back, in fresher breeze building from behind, to round Eddystone Lighthouse ahead of their rival. Concise 10 narrowed the margin by staying offshore at Portland on the return leg, but Musandam-Oman Sail covered their competition from the front, to take line honours and the multihull class.

Musandam-Oman Sail's skipper Sidney Gavignet commented: "Light, very light! But great racing. We just managed to move away from Concise, a bit more than a mile, but that is nothing. From the start we have had a good battle, probably doing better gybes than our friends, which helped us to get out of the Solent. But then a transition zone came and messed with the cards and we got over taken…. Raghhhh! The team is sailing well, with no mistakes on the manoeuvres. It is good to be racing. Before the race, RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd, prepared a nice speech and gave it to Fahad Alhasni, to read in Arabic…Probably the first time that Arabic has been used in the RORC, it was great!"

Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 was the first boat home racing under IRC but a building breeze favoured their German rivals, Avenarius & Gondesen's Ker 46, Shakti was the winner of IRC Class Zero, after time correction. It was Shakti's second class win of the season and puts the team narrowly ahead of Tonnerre 4 for the class.

In IRC Two, Gilles Fournier's French J/133, Pintia scored a commanding victory, winning the class by nearly five hours after time correction. Two British J/122s enjoyed a terrific battle for second place. After racing for for two days and night, Andy Theobald's R&W crossed the finish line just two minutes ahead of David Richards' Jolly Jellyfish sailed by Gianluca Folloni. However, after time correction Jolly Jellyfish won the battle for second place. The Army Sailing Association's J/122, British Soldier finished a tenacious fifth to take the class lead for the season in IRC Two.

In IRC Three, Benoit D'halluin's A35, Dunkerque - Les Dunes de Flandre took both line honours and the win on IRC corrected time for the class. Second was Louis-Marie Dussere French JPK 10.10 Raging Bee with Nick Martin's British J/105 Diablo-J in third.

In IRC Four, Noel Racine's JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew took line honours for the class but the winner on IRC corrected time was Stuart Greenfield's Half Tonner Silver Shamrock. Hugo Tardivel's A31 Columbus Circle was third. Silver Shamrock was also the winner of the IRC Two-Handed Class. Louis-Marie Dussere French JPK 10.10 Raging Bee was second in IRC Two-Handed Class less than 13 minutes ahead of Nick Martin's British J/105 Diablo-J. Robert Nelson's J/105 Bigfoot was fourth, retaining the IRC Two-Handed class lead for the season.

Four Class40s entered the Myth of Malham Race. Christophe Coatnoan's Partouche took up the early running but Adriaan van Oord's Moonpalace was the eventual winner with Partouche second. Tony Lawson's Concise 2, with an all girls team sailed by Joy Fitzgerald was third and lead the RORC Season's Points Championship.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the 125-mile Morgan Cup Race on Friday 10 June from Cowes to Dieppe and the Round Ireland Race a week later. For full results from the Myth of Malham Race: www.rorc.org

Published in RORC
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Latitude:52.08295
Longitude:-6.59018
GPS location Date/Time:05/29/2016 16:47:49 IST

Published in Round Ireland Power

 Latitude:52.99888
 Longitude:-5.62967
 GPS location Date/Time:05/29/2016 15:34:58 IST

Published in Round Ireland Power

 Latitude:54.07438
 Longitude:-5.42014
 GPS location Date/Time:05/29/2016 14:28:40 IST

Published in Round Ireland Power

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 Longitude:-6.18073
 GPS location Date/Time:05/29/2016 12:55:09 IST

Published in Round Ireland Power

Latitude:55.43712
Longitude:-7.27466
GPS location Date/Time:05/29/2016 12:20:29 IST

Published in Round Ireland Power
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