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Fastnet 450 Today Shaping Up as Windward Work Along Entire South Coast

23rd August 2020
Fastnet 450 race leader - Denis & Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil Niueulargo Fastnet 450 race leader - Denis & Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil Niueulargo Photo: Afloat

Sunday, day two, 0930hrs: After yesterday (Saturday) afternoon's swift ebb-assisted close reach down the East Coast from Dun Laoghaire to the first major turn at the Tuskar Rock, the fleet in the Fastnet 450 have found a determinedly west wind of between 15 and 20 knots blowing almost directly along the south coast, with only a slight tendency to draw off the land, so there's every likelihood they'll have a slug directly to windward all the way down to the Fastnet.

Fastnet 450 race course tracker The Fastnet 450 race course at 10 am this morning. See tracker below

Progress has been steady with the fleet gradually seeing the leaders extend ahead, but racing numbers are now down to 13 as more recent retirees have included the Sigma 33 Valfreya and the Oyster 37 Blue Oyster, while an incident around 0712 this morning saw the JOD 35 Red Alert (Rupert Barry, Greystones SC) pull out, and the Sunfast 37 Desert Star (Ronan O Siochru, Irish Offshore Sailing) change course to assist and accompany the Greystones boat towards Dunmore East.

Valfreya Sigma 33 - IRL 4297 Skipper: D Riome & M Leonard Retired - Sigma 33 Valfreya

JOD 35 Red Alert (Rupert Barry, Greystones SC)Dismasted - JOD 35 Red Alert (Rupert Barry, Greystones SC)

With firmer breezes offshore, all the racing fleet have stayed on starboard with only the occasional stab at port to see how it is shaping up before reverting to starboard again. The first night at sea has been particularly demanding for crews less hardened in the offshore racing game, and some boats that had been showing well in yesterday's daylight and straight-line sailing have found themselves slipping in the rankings during the dark.

Still in line abreast at the front, and now almost due south of Cork though around 30 miles offshore, Chris Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) continues narrowly in line honours ahead of Denis & Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil Niueulargo, and Cian McCarthy's little Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl neck and neck, but a couple of miles further south.

cinnamon girl Sunfast 3300Cian McCarthy's Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl

In the main part of the fleet, only two boats had found the wind briefly obliging enough to enable them to hold the westward course as they put the Tuskar astern, they were Red Alert and Siimon Knowles J/109 Indian, but while Red Sert subsequently sipped to lee. Indian hung on to her small but significant advantage, and though now in the same wind as everyone else, is in a useful windward station close to the higher-rated Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie (John O'Gorman, NYC) and ahead of the J/99 Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo).

Juggerknot IIJ/99 Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo)

A really steady performance has been put in by Peter Coad's vintage Pocock 37 Blackjack (WHSC), which revels in windward work and is boosted by a rating of only 0.917. Signing off at 0930 Sunday, we find on IRC overall Nieulargo continues to lead, Cinnamon Girl is second, Blackjack third, Aurelia fourth, Indian fifth, and Hot Cookie sixth.

Big Deal Dehler 34 - IRL 3492  Skipper: Derek DillonBig Deal, Dehler 34 (Derek Dillon)

 

Published in Fastnet 450 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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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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