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J/125 'Jackknife' is Late Favourite for Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Honours

12th June 2019
The winds have been shaping up in optimum style to suit fast reachers, so Andrew Hall’s J/125 Jackknife from Pwllheli became a last minute entry for the Dingle Race, bringing the fleet up to 44 boats The winds have been shaping up in optimum style to suit fast reachers, so Andrew Hall’s J/125 Jackknife from Pwllheli became a last minute entry for the Dingle Race, bringing the fleet up to 44 boats Credit: courtesy NYC

A last-minute entry for this evening’s 280-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race is a clear case of horses for courses writes W M Nixon.

Andrew Hall’s relatively new J/125 Jackknife from Pwllheli is renowned for her speed on a reach, and when her entry was finally confirmed on Monday, the weather forecasts were all suggesting a real drag race in brisk northerlies the full length of the south coast.

With her experienced crew beefed up by the addition of that noted ISORA stalwart Stephen Tudor, Jackknife has completed a very comprehensive three-boat challenge from the Pwllheli club, as her Welsh-based partners in the dash to Dingle will be the consistently successful J/109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox) and the Sunfast 3200i Jac Y Do (Mark Thompson).

While the J/109 is noted as an all-round performer which is good but not exceptional on all points of sailing, the Sunfast range is noted for its reaching abilities, so with Jackknife rating 1.143, Mojito on a very competitive 1.009, and Jac Y Do on 0.995, the Pwllheli club looks to have all options well covered for being there or thereabouts when the final handicap winner is announced.

That might be sooner rather than later, for aboard Mick Cotter’s mighty 94ft Windfall in a windy and rain-swept Dun Laoghaire Harbour this morning, their computer model was optimistically showing that they could be finished some time between 2.0 pm and 6.0pm tomorrow.

windfall reaching2Mick Cotter’s 94ft Windfall – this morning her computers were suggesting she could reach Dingle by tomorrow afternoon
That’s fine and dandy for a big one carrying the blustery breeze all the way to the finish, with a minimum of beating at the end. But if the breeze goes round to the northwest, getting to the Fastnet Rock in a record speed will be a snare and a delusion for the smaller craft. For the 70 miles thereafter, from the Fastnet to Dingle, slugging along to windward on one of the most challenging coasts in Europe, can soon start to seem like the longest 70 miles in the world.

That said, the likelihood of Windfall seeing her line honours becoming the handicap win as well is surely a long shot. But don’t forget that George David’s Rambler 88 did that very thing in some style in the 2016 Round Ireland Race.

Nevertheless with a very solid phalanx of boats between the 40ft and 50ft mark including Jackknife, Chris & Patanne Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia (with ISORA boss Peter Ryan onboard), George Sisk’s Xp 44 WOW, and Conor Doyle’s Xp 50 Freya, we have a group who might just manage the race’s win move of also carrying the best breeze the whole way.

freya from ahead3This is a sight very few boats in the Dingle Race will get to see – Conor Doyle’s Freya from ahead. For the dash to Dingle, her crew will include the special talents of Kenneth Rumball and Ryan Seaton. Photo: Robert Bateman

And then there are the flying outsiders such as Conor Fogerty’s utterly new Figaro 3 Raw. She’s so new his experience of making best use of her foils is minimal, but that could all change tonight. It will be intriguing to watch Raw’s progress, as the word from Stage 2 of the ongoing Solitaire URGO Figaro is that two of the boats had to pull out of the Kinsale-Needles Fairway-Roscoff course to head direct for Roscoff with “water ingress” problems around the casings for their foils.

All this talk of cunning club combinations, and biggies of 94ft, and solid phalanxes of 40-to 50ft boats - plus musings of whether or not the new Figaro 3 could still be reasonably described as Work in Progress - shouldn’t blind us to the fact that there are competitive boats at every level in this best-ever 44-strong Dingle fleet, and somewhere amongst them will be the defending champion, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 1080 Rockabill VI, quietly getting on with the business of getting to Dingle with the least fuss and in the shortest possible time.

rockabill racing4As your were……Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 1080 Rockabill VI on her way to the overall win in the 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Photo: O’Brien

But first, they all have to get cleanly way from Race Director Con Murphy’s start line in a vigorous onshore breeze on an evening of Arctic air with a lumpy sea coming every which way. At the start of the 2017 race in an easier-to-handle offshore wind, the adrenalin was pumping and sheer animal spirits led to some decidedly unorthodox manoeuvring. Having a significant sea running adds to the challenge. But it’s all part of the sport of this very special race, and it starts off Dun Laoghaire’s East Pier at 6.0pm this evening

Entries here 

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Live Tracker 2023

Track the progress of the 2023 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race fleet on the live tracker above and the leaderboard below

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Live Leaderboard 2023 

The 16th edition of the 280-mile race organised by the National Yacht Club starts at 2 pm on Wednesday, June 7th, on Dublin Bay.

  • Read the full 2023 race preview by WM Nixon here
  • Read all the D2D Race News in one handy link here
  • Listen to Lorna Siggins's interview with Race Chairman Adam Winkelmann on Afloat's Wavelengths here

WM Nixon will be posting regular race updates and analysis throughout the 2023 race here

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race Information

The biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race is a 320-miles race down to the east coast of Ireland, across the south coast and into Dingle harbour in County Kerry.

The race is organised by the National Yacht Club.

It never fails to offer a full range of weather, wind and tide to the intrepid entrants, ranging from a 32ft cruiser to a 79ft all-out racer.

Three divisions are available to enter: cruiser (boats equipped with furlers), racing (the bulk of the fleet) and also two-handed.

D2D Course change overruled

In 2019, the organisers considered changing the course to allow boats to select routes close to shore by removing the requirement to go outside Islands and Lighthouses en route, but following input from regular participants, the National Yacht Club decided to stick with the tried and tested course route in order to be fair to large and smaller boats and to keep race records intact.

RORC Points Calendar

The 2019 race was the first edition to form part of the Royal Ocean Racing Club “RORC” calendar for the season. This is in addition to the race continuing as part of the ISORA programme. 

D2D Course record time

Mick Cotter’s 78ft Whisper established the 1 day and 48 minutes course record for the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in 2009 and that time stood until 2019 when Cotter returned to beat his own record but only just, the Dun Laoghaire helmsman crossing the line in Kerry to shave just 20 seconds off his 2009 time.