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Nieulargo & Aurelia Fight Fastnet 450 All The Way Towards this Morning's Finish  

24th August 2020
Royal St. George's line honours leader, Chris Power Smith's Aurelia at the Daunt Buoy at 0930 hours this morning on her way to the Cork Harbour finish of the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race Royal St. George's line honours leader, Chris Power Smith's Aurelia at the Daunt Buoy at 0930 hours this morning on her way to the Cork Harbour finish of the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race Photo: Bob Bateman

Day 3, Monday, 0900hrs Chris Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia may have had nearly two miles in hand on Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 when she led the Fastnet 450 fleet round the Fastnet Rock at 0040 hrs in the small hours of this morning (Monday). But in a downwind tacking duel which initially took them well offshore over the 58 miles to the finish at Roche's Point at the entrance to Cork Harbour, the slightest sneeze on Aurelia's part saw both Nieulargo and Cian McCarthy's Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl taking bites out of her lead, and at 0800 hrs this morning running in past the Old Head of Kinsale, the margin on Nieulargo was just under a mile, with Cinnamon Girl barely two miles further back.

Nieulargo pictured off the Cork Buoy this morning Photo: Bob BatemanNieulargo pictured off the Cork Buoy this morning Photo: Bob Bateman

The keenly-anticipated firm sou'wester has yet to materialize, and progress eastward has mostly relied on getting offshore and back into the stronger sou'west to west breeze which has doggedly remained in place out on the ocean for more than three days now. That said, after slowish initial progress eastward from the Fastnet, they began to record better speeds offshore, and approaching the Old Head, all three were comfortably over 7 knots, with Aurelia pushing above 8 knots to open the gap slightly on Nieulargo.

Derek & Conor Dillon's Dehler 34 Big Deal from FoynesDerek & Conor Dillon's Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes

Back at the Fastnet Rock, it is still light and lumpy, such that the lower-rated tail-enders, Derek and Conor Dillon's Dehler 34 The Big Deal from Foynes, and Peter Coad's veteran Blackjack, were still struggling to make their rounding as the leaders came past the Old Head of Kinsale. The front runners – slowed to 6.7 knots as we complete this report at 0900 – should be nearing the finish line by 1000 hrs, with every indication that Nieulargo will retain her lead in most of the main contests except for line honours, which Aurelia is fighting every inch of the way.

For now, all attention is focused on simply finishing a quite tough race.

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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