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Irish Yachts Tír na nÓg and Rí-Rá Begin Oyster World Rally From Antigua

15th January 2024
Oyster yachts starting their 27,000-mile adventure! Ireland's Ri Ra (IRL 7060) is pictured centre at Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua
Oyster yachts starting their 27,000-mile adventure! Ireland's Ri Ra (IRL 7060) is pictured centre at Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua Credit: James Tomlinson

Two Irish yachts, Tír na nÓg (Robert Rendell of Howth) and Rí-Rá (Patrick and Hugh Blaney of Dun Laoghaire) were part of a twenty-one Oyster yacht fleet that crossed the start line of the Oyster World Rally at Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua, on Sunday afternoon.

The Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, fired the cannon to the 27,000-mile, 16-month adventure that will take in some 27 destinations and explore some of the world's most spectacular cruising grounds. Oyster Yachts Chief Executive Ashley Highfield was also at the starting ceremony on Fort Charlotte, Antigua and Oyster's CCO, Paul Adamson, a former sailing instructor at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The fleet will meet again in Panama for their transit through the canal in mid-February.

It has been an emotional and exciting build-up to the start of the 16-month adventure. Some of the fleet arrived in Antigua in mid-December, taking part in the ARC Rally, as Afloat reported here, the traditional delivery passage to the Caribbean for Europe-based yachts. Number 565 Tír na nÓg and 675 Rí-Rá both finished in the top ten of the ARC fleet.

All the crews have spent the past few weeks building up to this day, ensuring their boats are fully ready for this experience-of-a-lifetime event. They have participated in safety training, weather briefings, technical workshops and more - all supported by the Oyster Technical and Logistics Team, who will be on hand for the whole event to support and advise the fleet.

The first stop for the Rally will be Shelter Bay, Panama, where the fleet will all come together ahead of transiting the Panama Canal.

"Logistically, this is one of the trickiest parts of this edition of the Rally, as lack of water in the lake that feeds the canal has put additional pressure on the number of recreational boats allowed to transit at one time. However, we are hopeful that we should be able to keep with our current schedule of arriving in Galapagos, our second stopover, in early March," comments Oyster World Rally Director, Allie Smith.

Published in Cruising Team

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