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Cinnamon Girl Leads Fastnet 450 Fleet After Fast Start From Dublin Bay

22nd August 2020
Cian McCarthy's Cinamonn Girl from Kinsale is front row after the 1pm start today of the Fastnet 450 Race on Dublin Bay Cian McCarthy's Cinamonn Girl from Kinsale is front row after the 1pm start today of the Fastnet 450 Race on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

A brisk sou'wester provided a fast reaching start for the 266-mile Fastnet 450 Race at 1300 hrs today in Dublin Bay, with Chris Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC), John O'Gorman's Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie (NYC) and Robert Rendell's X45 Samatom (HYC) seeming to get the best of it at the weather end of the line. But top contenders such as Cian McCarthy's new Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl from Kinsale and Denis & Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RCYC) out towards the pin were more interested in keeping their wind clear in order to shape their course at max speed towards the Muglins and the stronger south-going tide beyond.

Those who held to weather found a flat gap off Killiney, while Mark Mansfield's presence on Cinnamon Girl manifesting itself in a pesky persistence in being in the lead every which way, while another notable performance was being put in by John Conlon's now-vintage Sunfast 37 Humdinger from Arklow, which was right in there going like a train and showing her transom to boats who should have been clear ahead.

Eventually, the Killiney Delayeds got themselves going again, and heading on south far enough off Bray Head to avoid any wind shadow. Aurelia began to show just in front of Nieulargo, but Cinnamon Girl was clearly being sailed by men possessed, as she stayed doggedly ahead of big sister Hot Cookie with The Prof himself on board.

It's always a mistake to assume an offshore breeze down the Wicklow and Wexford coasts turns it into a straightforward drag race. Even when the gradient wind has power to it, unexpected gaps always appear, and this afternoon were are twists and turns with rain about.

IRC leader Cinnamon Girl works her way along the Wicklow coast in the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race from Dublin to Cork Photo: Roger BatemanIRC leader Cinnamon Girl works her way along the Wicklow coast in the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race from Dublin to Cork Photo: Roger Bateman

But eventually, it's going to veer and ease, and in the demanding business of covering ground against the late evening's new north-going flood tide, smaller craft may find themselves having to resort to all sort of tide-dodging channels with bewildering names through the Wexford Banks, while the leaders find that as they close in on the corner at the Tuskar, those enigmatic sandbanks get placed by a profusion of non-nonsense rocks.

Signing this off after two hours of racing, with next thing on the agenda a thoughtful passing of Wicklow on the very day they'd hoped to have their last chance of staging the Round Ireland Race, we have Aurelia, Hot Cookie, Cinnamon Girl and Samatom more or less in line abreast across a mile of sea with 250 miles still to race, Nieulargo is right on their tail, and in the next less even line abreast just over a mile astern, we find Aquelina, Indian, and Juggerknot 2 with Humdinger out to sea half a mile away, going like a train and giving the newer boats a tough time – there'll be pensioners dancing in the streets of Arklow, even if it does contravene COVID guidance for the elderly.


Published in Fastnet 450 Race
WM Nixon

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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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Fastnet 450

The South Coast of Ireland Racing Association, in association with the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay and the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork will stage the first edition of this race from Dun Laoghaire to Cork Harbour via the Fastnet Rock on August 22nd 2020.

The IRC race will start in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday 22nd August 2020 and pass the Muglin, Tuscar, Conningbeg and Fastnet Lighthouses to Starboard before returning to Cork Harbour and passing the Cork Buoy to Port, finishing when Roches’s Point bears due East. The course is specifically designed to be of sufficient length to qualify skippers and crew for the RORC Fastnet Race 2021.

The clubs have combined forces to mark their anniversary celebrations, it being the 150th anniversary of the National Yacht Club and 300th (Tricentenary) of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

At A Glance – Fastnet 450 Race

The first edition of this 270-nautical mile race starts from the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay on August 22nd 2020 and finishes in Cork Harbour

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