#D2D – Finishing shortly after 3am, a County Kerry entry, Amazing Grace, won the 2013 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, the first Kerry yacht to win in the 20–year history of the race. The Tralee Bay Sailing Club entry, one of the slowest, oldest and heaviest boats in the race was sailed impressively by a Fenit crew and skippered by Brian O'Sullivan to beat some of Ireland's top offshore racers.
Overall results for the 2013 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race are here. Full race report in Summer Afloat magazine published late June.
While a few boats in the 22–boat fleet have yet to finish this morning, only two of them have lower ratings and are now too far behind to affect Amazing Grace. Official confirmation of the result is expected by the race organisers later this morning.
Second overall looks likely to go to Spindrift, a Hallberg Rassy 34 under the command of David Kelly of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, which should correct to about an hour behind Amazing Grace, while Lulla Belle, Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive's First 36.7 from the National Yacht Club, will be about an hour further back in third place.
Lulla Belle is also the winner of the double-handed division.
This was a race that favoured lower rating boats as the light winds experienced for all but the latter stages didn't allow the higher handicappers to generate the necessary distance to save their time. Additionally, the wind continued to build after the first finishers, allowing the smaller boats to cover the last 60 to 70 miles at speeds equalling or exceeding that of their faster competitors.
The south coast turned out to be a turning point for Amazing Grace, skipper Brian O'Sullivan informing Afloat.ie:
"Most of fleet sitting off south coast, looking for wind pockets! Excellent day/night to be out on the water. All to play for, with half the race more or less completed! Moved south a little to get the first break in the wind, keeping fingers crossed! Wouldn't be any place else, other than the snoring from down below, all is good!
Once again D2D, a half Round Ireland, has thrown up an interesting set of conditions resulting in an outsider's victory that will not only entice many of the entrants to return in 2015, but should also attract first timers.
Celebrating in the early hours at Dingle Harbour the winning Amazing Grace crew are back row (left to right) Finbarr O'Connell, skipper Brian O'Sullivan, Fergus Kelliher, Pearse Boyland, Tim Kelliher, Cian O'Donnell. Front row Brendan Culloty and Michael McCormack. Photo: Frances Clifford
Amazing Grace, an Oyster 37 was built from a kit by Cork sailor Jim Fegan on a farmyard in the 1980s.
A past Round Ireland and Fastnet race competitor this offshore campaigner previously sustained damage to her rudder in heavy weather off Wexford.
Little was heard of this Oyster until she was bought by former owner Gary Horgan and raced out of Kinsale for a number of years before moving to Fenit in County Kerry under Gerard O'Donnell.
O'Sullivan bought the boat in March this year from O'Donnell and this morning's result is a highlight of her 30–year career.
O'Sullivan is a well known boat builder producing among others the 1720 sportsboat. He is managing director of O'Sullivan Marine, a leading Irish boat builder based in Tralee.
This afternoon the Tralee Bay Sailing Club Commodore Pat Daly congratulated O'Sullivan and the crew of Amazing Grace on their 'historic' win.
'This victory, by Amazing Grace, a first for a local boat, will further boost this week's ICRA National Cruiser Championship & WIORA Regional West Coast Championships, to be hosted by the club'
The club expect 500 sailors and over 60 boats to hit Fenit for four days of racing from Wednesday to Saturday, June 12-15th in Tralee Bay'.