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Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race: Nieulargo Gives Master Class on Getting Past Old Head of Kinsale

10th June 2021
Nieulargo - an Oscar-winning rounding of the Old Head of Kinsale
Nieulargo - an Oscar-winning rounding of the Old Head of Kinsale

Day #2 1845: If you’d a gloomy outlook on life in general and sailing in particular, you’d readily agree that the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race is just one damned thing after another. No sooner is one challenge sorted than something else looms up to be dealt with. And even when the sailing is relatively straightforward – as it was through the early part of today – the demons of nature lay on a dose of thick sea fog for your diversion and everyone else’s entertainment.

Having got through that, while taking on board the realisation that the passage west from Cork Harbour to the Fastnet Rock (and maybe further) is going to be a sluggeroo of a beat, the top boats have been put through the exquisite torture of witnessing the extremely likeable Murphy family and their friends on the Grand Soleil 40 Nielarguo – overall leaders on corrected time in this race since anyone can remember – providing the extreme kindness of giving everyone else an Oscar-winning master-class in getting round the Old Head of Kinsale with style in the perverse conditions of a veering and flukey wind and lumpy sea.

Scroll back on the tracker until you see Nieulargo thumping along on port tack in towards the entrance to Kinsale Harbour at 15.50hrs, pacing along with Searcher and Rockabill VI close enough on her port quarter - though both admittedly give her time – while out to sea the large Aurelia, WOW and Samataom have - with good sense you’d think - got themselves into clearer air.

(Top) On the rail on Pete Smyth's Searcher on Thursday afternoon, south west of Cork Harbour and (above) abeam of a rival

It’s almost agonising to watch Nieulargo surely going too far inshore. But then they tack, and soon it’s apparent that WITH A MIGHTY LEAP, OUR HEROES AND HEROINES HAVE FREED THEMSELVES.

You’ll sail for many a day before seeing such a beautifully-judged tack called again. Not only does it keep them well in control on their nearest challenger, but closing in on the pin of the Old Head itself, they’re also right back in business on a boat-for-boat business with the three biggies. And though Aurelia had narrowly regained the on-the-water lead at the Seven Heads around 1800hrs, the Young Heads on Nieulargo were having the time of their lives, and were further ahead on CT than ever.

On to the west, due south of Galley Head, on-water leader Freya (Conor Doyle) has found a private twist to the breeze which is enabling her – though only just – to lay the Fastnet Rock, which is suddenly seeming much more attainable than it was a couple of hours ago, and we hope to report on her rounding it in our final report of today later this evening.

"The Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2021 is indeed living up to all expectations"

Meanwhile, back in the body of the fleet and still east of the Old Head, Cian McCarthy and Sam Hunt of Kinsale in the Sun Fast 3300 Cinnamon Girl are having the sail of their lives, leading the two-handed division by an enormous margin, and lying 9th overall in the Open Division despite the burden of a stratospheric rating, and opposition from a fleet of fully-crewed boats.

In all, it’s super stuff and truly inspirational - the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2021 is indeed living up to all expectations as the appropriate pillar event to re-launch Irish sailing into post-pandemic times.

Paul Tingle's X34 Alpaca was the fourth retiral from the  2021 Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race. The yacht retired into her home port of Cork HarbourPaul Tingle's X34 Alpaca was the fourth retiral from the 2021 Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race. The yacht retired into her home port of Cork Harbour

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

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.

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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