Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Invisible Sailor Wins Class in Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race

17th June 2019
Co-skipper urgently needed…..Yannick Lemonnier aboard the Mini 6.50 Port of Galway in Dun Laoghaire alongside Liam Burke’s Farr 31 Tribal, also from Galway Co-skipper urgently needed…..Yannick Lemonnier aboard the Mini 6.50 Port of Galway in Dun Laoghaire alongside Liam Burke’s Farr 31 Tribal, also from Galway Credit: John Malone

So much happened during the brief and hectic Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2019 that the stories emanating from it will run and run for a long time writes W M Nixon.

And of course in trying to keep pace with it as it unfolded at breakneck speed, inevitably some boats which deserved a special mention slipped under the radar. Thus although Ken Cunnane’s Swan 46 Mynx was referred to in the previews as being the only Dingle-based boat in the entire fleet, during the race itself she never got a mention.

It happens easily enough with an active racing fleet of 43 boats all vying for attention. But for her rarity value alone, Mynx should have been in there with her solid 16th on line honours and 23rd overall, for this was definitely a case of being chucked in at the deep end.

mynx crew2 Crew of the Dingle-based Swan 46 Mynx at the finish, Ken and Paddy Cunnane second and third from left, Frank Larkin on right. Photo: Dominick Walsh

Her owner lives in Listowel and had his 17-year-old son Paddy in the crew, which means that Listowel in North Kerry, a town more noted for its literary and horse-racing connections, had two father-son lineups in the Dingle dash, as Listowel is also of course the home town of Derek & Conor Dillon, seasoned campaigners of the Dehler 34 The Big Deal, in which they took fifth in the Two-handed Division.

When The Big Deal isn’t being actively campaigned she’s kept at Foynes, but the Cunnanes go for the longer haul to join their ship further west in the Big Country at Dingle, and among those racing with them from Dun Laoghaire was experienced Limerick sailor Frank Larkin, who recently gave himself a 73rd birthday present in the form of a Laser (not his first by any means ), which he sails from Killaloe on Lough Derg.

Another name which should have been mentioned was to be found aboard John O’Gorman’s Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie (NYC), to which Mark Mansfield added some of Ingredient X to give her an outstanding performance to be third overall. There was more of Ingredient X added by the visiting navigator, which was Lough Swilly’s Richie Fearon, no less, navigator of Tanit, the Round Ireland Race 2014 winner, and shot-caller on many other successes.

Mark Mansfield Sunfast 3200 2917John O’Gorman’s Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie placed third with Mark Mansfield (left) and Richie Fearon added to the strength. Photo: O’Brien

And the race runner-up Chris Power Smith who kept the Hot Cookie crew at bay has gone to the effort of documenting Aurelia's D2D voyage to Dingle in a three-minute vid (below) to the Stevie Wonder 'Superstition' soundtrack. 

Meanwhile, the Dingle dash seems to have had its own invisible man, and a very active role he played too. In the reports and results, you’ll see the Mini 6.50 Port of Galway listed as raced by Dan Mill and Yannick Lemonnier. But Dan Mill sustained a debilitating knee injury the day before the race. With just hours to spare, Yannick Lemonnier took the chance of phoning a guy who’d sailed with him relatively briefly in Galway Bay, and had shown promise and real talent.

John Malone is originally from Clontarf and honed his sailing skills there and in Howth, but these days much of his sailing is done from Lough Ree YC as he lives in Mullingar with his wife Joanne with 2 boys and a girl aged 5,8 and 11, while his time-consuming career is as CEO of Provident CRM. You can imagine what it was like when he got Yannick’s phone call on the Tuesday evening - we let John take up the story:

“I got a last minute call from Yannick on Tuesday evening - Dan had a knee injury and after months of preparation could not sail - he was utterly disappointed as the forecast certainly looked favourable. A quick review of the weather routing ensured a phone call back to Yannick less than 5 minutes later to say yes………

port of galway4“Are you new round here?” The newly-arrived John Malone on the helm and Yannick Lemonnier on the foredeck as the little Port of Galway closes in for the start. Photo: O’Brien

Familiarisation with Yannick’s Mini was brief due to the 24hr window before the race started. It included visiting Viking Marine to purchase an Personal AIS beacon based on what I had learned at a talk in the Spring at Poolbeg Y & BC by the Jedi crew on their MOB experience in the 2018 Round Ireland (I also brought a PLB, but based on the info from the Jedi talk, they are more useful for finding bodies than recovering MOBs).

The Mini is a very complex little boat, but at the start while I helmed Yannick set up everything including the canting keel, which is controlled by manually-operated tackles athwartships which sometimes seem to take up half the accommodation (such as it is), and finding a space to sleep can be a mater of heaving sailbags into a “comfortable” pile forward of the canting gear, and getting sleep as best you can.

Once it was all set up, Port of Galway absolutely took off. We streaked away from the rest of the feet, and only the giant Windfall was ahead as we got out into St George’s Channel and conditions which suited us even better.

Our trip down the East Coast can only be described as a fire hosing - cruising at 17-18kts for extended periods with our largest available A-Sail, jib & reefed main, NKE & Racegeek speedo showing a brief 20kts SOG at least once - just before our gybe to Tuskar. A change of clothes and four hours in a survival blanket were required immediately after rounding Tuskar due to getting soaked head to toe by the torrents of water flowing over the decks & coach roof for close to 6 hours

port of galway leads5Shortly after the start as seen from Dalkey, with Port of Galway scampering ahead on the right

In hindsight, we should have elected to go outside the Tuskar TSZ (longer but faster) - attempting to cross immediately north of the TSZ was hazardous with 4 ships in our pathway and a close call with a cruise liner.

The south coast was an amazing reach to Galley Head - carrying our favourite sail the Code-5 which we toasted with Dick Macs in Dingle - it was the making of our Mini 6.5 class win. We cruised at 10-12kts with this sail combination (code-5, jib & full main) for long periods passing many boats. The comfort of the sail setup afforded Yannick a 6½hr sleep - I'm not sure any other boat had such comfortable cruising conditions.

Becalmed in a convergence zone at Fastnet, the fast fun was over and we started the long beat which lasted all the way until the final approach from the Skellig to Dingle, which afforded a Code Zero and more speed.

john malone yannich lemonnier6Job Done. John Malone and Yannick Lemonnier head into Dingle Harbour. Photo: John Malone

We proved the YB tracker does successfully record a finish by sailing a few metres inside the lat-long co-ordinates for western end of line in the SIs - outside of the red line drawn on the YB tracker app - a subject of much discussion at the briefing and with only an eastern end buoy in the water we checked the app after crossing the virtual line to ensure we had digitally finished.

We were greeted by Yannick’s father-in-law Brian Farrell, the former Dingle HM who lives in Dingle, as did his daughter when the young Figaro sailor called Yannick came in search of some Irish culture all those years ago……

Warmest thanks to Yannick for a superb opportunity to experience the Mini in its optimal conditions, and his parents-in-law for the post-race shower, bed & great breakfast in their home only metres from the marina.

And special thanks to my long-suffering wife Joanne and my business partners at Provident CRM, Gary Cullen and James Forde, for their tolerant understanding of the very sudden absence of their CEO.”

Read all the D2D Race News in one handy link here

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

Email The Author

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.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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.

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race 2021

The 2021 Race will start from the National Yacht Club on Wednesday 9th, June 2021.

This will be a limited entry event.

Previous entrants will be offered early entry options and then the entry will be opened to others to allow up to a maximum of 50 yachts.

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