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Nieulargo & Aurelia Struggle with "Wind Full of Holes" to be First at the Fastnet

23rd August 2020
 The Dubois 40 Irish Independent with Tim Goodbody as lead helm rounds the Fastnet Rock in August 1987, on the way to overall victory in the Fastnet Race. Tonight, Tim's son Richard and grandson Max will be racing rounding the Rock as crewmembers on Chris Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia in the Fastnet 450. The Dubois 40 Irish Independent with Tim Goodbody as lead helm rounds the Fastnet Rock in August 1987, on the way to overall victory in the Fastnet Race. Tonight, Tim's son Richard and grandson Max will be racing rounding the Rock as crewmembers on Chris Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia in the Fastnet 450.

Day Two, Sunday, 2030hrs:  After a stimulating day's sailing along the length of the south coast, turning to windward in very sailable breezes and enjoying more sunshine than much of the rest of Ireland, the leaders in the Fastnet 450 are now struggling through a period of frustratingly light airs as they negotiate the Atlantic swell off the West Cork coast and try to find boat speed over the last twenty miles to the Fastnet Rock.

Things had been looking good for Chris Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia as she closed on port tack towards the land on course towards Glandore, and lifted up from under the following boats as the breeze backed. But as it backed it eased further and then went all over the place with a wind full of holes, and at around 1730hrs Aurelia tacked off Galley Head and went seaward again in search of firmer conditions.

AureliaChris Power-Smith's J122 Aurelia

But out at sea she found the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Denis & Annamarie Murphy) likewise significantly slowed, so the Power Smith boat tacked again to maintain cover, and speeds are beginning to improve at 2000 hrs as they feel what may be the first of a forecast new sou'wester, but it's still very fitful.

Nieulargo, the Grand Soleil 44, Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Nieulargo

There's quite a generational thing going on board Aurelia, as her crew includes 16-year-old Max Goodbody and his father Richard, who normally sail on the family's J/109 White Mischief in Dublin Bay where the Father and Grandfather of all the Clan is legendary helmsman Tim Goodbody who, in a long and extraordinarily varied sailing career, didn't get around to doing his first Fastnet Race until 1987.

Yet although it may have taken him some time to take on the challenge of The Rock, he made a beauty of it when he finally did so, as he was lead helm on the Dubois 40 Irish Independent as the top-scoring member of the Irish Admirals Cup Team, and they won the Fastnet Race overall.

This made for quite a moment as Irish Independent came round the rock in daylight and already doing very well all of 33 years ago. So even though Aurelia will be rounding in the dark, it will be quite a milestone for family history, and if they can continue to stay ahead of Nieulargo (where some other formidable sailing families are involved), that will be all to the good for the Goodbodys.

With the new sou'wester being the harbinger of a full gale by tomorrow (Monday) night, it's expected that the fleet should be well across the finish line at the entrance to Cork Harbour by then. But for some of the less well-placed boats further down the fleet, the fact that they've been more or less slugging to windward since coming past the Muglins at the entrance to Dublin Bay since lunchtime yesterday has seen a couple of boats already diverting into Cork Harbour. Yet down off the coast of West Cork, the battle for the win is still being very emphatically played out, and the picture should be clearer for our next report tomorrow (Monday) morning. 

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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