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Rockabill VI Best on Dun Laoghaire Dingle Start Line, But Prima Forte Sparkling in Early Stages, Then Nieulargo Shines

9th June 2021
Defending champion Rockabill VI makes a perfectly timed pin end start to the 2021 Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race
Defending champion Rockabill VI makes a perfectly timed pin end start to the 2021 Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race

Day #1 (Start Time) 2 pm: They say in One-Design Racing that the boat which has made the best start is the one that is in a commanding position five minutes after the off. But in a distance race like the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle which started this afternoon in Dublin Bay in a humid, rather variable and sometimes decidedly brisk southerly, the reckoning was that maybe it was the first boat to the first turn at the Muglins which ultimately had the best of it, and that – in a tightly packed bunch of leaders – was the NYC's Sean Lemass-entered First 40 Prima Forte whose helming strength includes young Crosshaven male star Cian Jones.

That said, with a recall providing two starts for those who savour such things, there was no doubt that defending champion Rockabill VI (RIYC), Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80, was right there both times, exactly at the pin and sailing fast in clear air each time the signal sounded.

The D2D 2021 start from Scotsman's Bay off Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Michael Chester(Above and below) The D2D 2021 start from Scotsman's Bay off Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Michael Chester

The 38-boat D2D fleet prepare for the 2021 start at dun Laoghaire Photo: Barry O'NeillThe 38-boat D2D fleet prepare for the 2021 start at Dun Laoghaire Photo: Barry O'Neill

But further inshore a group of fancied craft including Prima Forte, the Murphy family's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, the two Sun Fast 3600s Hot Cookie (John O'Gorman with Mono Mansfield aboard), and Pete Smyth's new Searcher with The Prof on the strength, were finding a private and very favourable breeze in company with Andrew Algeo's J/99 Juggerknot II  and Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian.

Kinsale yacht Freya (Conor Doyle) Photo: Michael ChesterKinsale yacht Freya (Conor Doyle) Photo: Michael Chester

For some glad moments at the Muglins, this select half dozen really did have the world at their feet until the serous metal offshore – Rockabill VI, Robert Rendell's new Grand Soleil 44 Samatom, and Conor Doyle's Xp50 Freya – girded their loins, so to speak – and threw a tack to start mixing with the gilded youths in towards the shore.

Robert Rendell's new Grand Soleil 44 SamatomRobert Rendell's new Grand Soleil 44 Samatom Photo: Michael Chester

In the mixing pot as they slugged south for Bray Head, Nielulargo sailed an absolute blinder and got well ahead of the other 40 footers, pacing with her newer bigger sister Samatom. Juggerknot II is also right there, sailing like a boat possessed, and nearby the Searcher/Hot Cookie battle continues, with Freya in the thick of it too, while out to sea the J/122 Aurelia (a boat to watch) and George Sisk's Xp 44 WOW were making steadily along at 7.2 and 7.4 knots.

George Sisk’s Xp 44 Wow Photo: Michael ChesterGeorge Sisk’s Xp 44 Wow Photo: Michael Chester

At 1530hrs, all are working closer to the shore. With High Water Dublin Bay at noon, the ebb was already running south by 11 o'clock this morning, so there'll be little or none of it left at Wicklow Head by 5.0pm. No-one will manage to get past before then, so this has all the makings of a sluggeroo all the way to the Fastnet.

The Sunfast 3600 Searcher Photo: Michael ChesterThe Sunfast 3600 Searcher tackles the big waves on Dublin Bay Photo: Michael Chester

As The Prof said before joining the Smyth brothers aboard the new Searcher this morning, "It's going to be tough but fun!" Tough but fun, forsooth…… has no-one told him about the proper joys of yachting? The only possible response is "Tally-ho!"

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Live Tracker 2021

Track the progress of the 2021 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race fleet on the live tracker above 

The 14th edition of the 280-mile race organised by the National Yacht Club starts at 2 pm on Wednesday, June 9th on Dublin Bay.

  • Read the full 2021 race preview by WM Nixon here
  • Read all the D2D Race News in one handy link here

WM Nixon will be posting regular race updates and analysis throughout the 2021 race

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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.

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.

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