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Fastnet 450: Nieulargo Wins, Aurelia Takes Line Honours, & Cinnamon Girl is Right There Despite it not Being Her Weather

25th August 2020
History redeemed….the Royal Cork YC have been denied much of their Tricentennial Celebration during 2020, so it was a very special moment when Denis & Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RCYC) crossed the line at Roche's Point this (Monday) morning to win the Fastnet 450 Race History redeemed….the Royal Cork YC have been denied much of their Tricentennial Celebration during 2020, so it was a very special moment when Denis & Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RCYC) crossed the line at Roche's Point this (Monday) morning to win the Fastnet 450 Race Photo: Robert Bateman

Day 3, Monday, 1600 hrs: The demanding Fastnet 450 course kept crews working very hard indeed until the last couple of miles running in towards the finish in the entrance to Cork Harbour under the iconic Roche's Point Lighthouse this (Monday) morning. Out at sea in the Harbour approaches, and struggling to reach the final turning point at the Daunt Rock Buoy, a sloppy sea and light winds had downwind sailing speeds down to below four knots as Chris Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia kept her cool to stave off a persistent line honours challenge.

Chris & Patanne Power Smith's line honours winner, the J/122 Aurelia, finally finds an encouraging breezeChris & Patanne Power Smith's line honours winner, the J/122 Aurelia, finally finds an encouraging breeze as she shapes her course for the finish from the final turning mark at the Daunt Rock Buoy. Photo: Robert Bateman

Aurelia crew Fastnet 450 RaceWe made it! Line honours winning crew from Aurelia celebrate keeping the superstars on Nieulargo at bay. Photo: North Sails Ireland

This came from corrected time leader Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, which in turn was constantly keeping an eye over the shoulder toward the much smaller Cinnamon Girl, Cian McCarthy's Sunfast 3300 with the determined Mark Mansfield aboard and always looking for a way to pull another Lazarus Act out of the hat.

But it was not to be. In fact, weather and wind-wise, the only time Cinnamon Girl really had conditions which truly suited her was during the short three-sail dash from the start at Dun Laoghaire to the Muglins at the entrance to Dublin Bay, where she duly led the entire fleet.

Just about done in……the little Cinnamon Girl's crew can finally ease the pressure as they cross the finish line after a tough race. Photo: Robert Bateman

Yet now approaching the finish many miles later off Cork with the Daunt finally astern, for the last three miles Aurelia found herself more comfortably in business at the front of the fleet, sailing in a slightly firmer breeze in a more purpose-like way for the finish, which she reached at 10.26, having covered 304 nautical miles to complete the 263.5 miles course.

When Nieulargo came in just 23 minutes later, she'd covered 303 miles, and immediately with her lower rating had jumped into an unassailable Corrected Time lead. But although the Murphy boat had Cinnamon Girl clearly beaten as they have the same IRC Rating, when the McCarthy boat finally finished at 11.46 she still had corrected time comfortably in hand on Aurelia to move into second overall on IRC, which no other boat can now challenge.

the highly-individual-looking Cinnamon Girl gave an extremely good account of herself despite having a tough ratingHandsome is as handsome does – the highly-individual-looking Cinnamon Girl gave an extremely good account of herself despite having a tough rating. Photo: Robert Bateman 

Interestingly, Cinnamon Girl had sailed 314 miles, but this reflected the successfully determined tacking on every wind shift she'd done in getting herself back in the frame while still beating towards the Fastnet, after her placing had slipped a bit yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.

Fourth to finish was John O'Gorman's Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie (National YC) with The Prof on the strength. But although the Cookie had been in a CT battle for much of the race with Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian from Howth for the fourth overall slot, at the finish Indian succeeded in being ahead on CT of the O'Gorman boat, and she'd also staved off the challenge of both Andrew Algeo's J/99 Juggerknot II (Royal Irish YC), and James Tyrrell's J/112E Aquelina from Arklow, which was racing with a vigorous crew mix made up from both Arklow SC and the 250-year-old Lough Ree Yacht Club which, like the Fastnet 450's sponsoring clubs of the National YC and the Royal Cork YC, has been severely constrained in its celebrations.

James Tyrrell's J/112E Aquelina in the Fastnet 450Leave no turn unturned…..When the 250-year-old Lough Ree YC and the much newer Arklow SC get together to race James Tyrrell's J/112E Aquelina in the Fastnet 450, it's a case of all hands to the wheel. Photo: John Malone

It will be well into this evening when the low-rated tail-enders Big Deal (Derek Dillon, Foynes YC) and Blackjack (Peter Coad, Waterford Harbour SC) finally get to the finish. But while the weather in the end panned out to suit the biggies, both of these vintage craft had their time well in the frame at some stage during the course of an extremely interesting race. It's a race which has miraculously managed to be staged, despite everything that the pandemic problems and the cussed Irish weather have tried to throw at it. So all credit to those involved in organising and promoting it - they never gave up hope that it should and could and would happen, and we now have a real sailing highlight for this frustrating year.

The 2020 season has a highlight after all the frustration – Nieulargo crosses the finish line at 1049 hrs this morning to win the Fastnet 450. Photo North Sails

If this is as good as it gets, then that's just grand – having already won the Kinsale-Fastnet-Kinsale Race a fortnight ago, Nieulargo's crew celebrate the Fastnet 450 win at their home port of Crosshaven today. Back: Denis, Annamarie and Molly Murphy, Mark ‘Nipper’ Murphy (no relation), Killian Collins, Clive O'Shea. Front: Mia Murphy, Cian Byrne, James Fegan, Nin O'Leary Photo: North Sails

Read all our Fastnet 450 coverage in one handy link here

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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