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Eleven Irish Entries For Fastnet Race

18th July 2017
Kenny Rumball's INSS entry Jedi is one of ten Irish entries in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes Kenny Rumball's INSS entry Jedi is one of ten Irish entries in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes

A potent line–up of Irish offshore performers will be lining up for the record breaking Fastnet Race entry – the world's largest offshore race that starts in less than three weeks time.

The 605nm race was full in under five minutes, creating another record. Up to 400 boats will be on the RYS startline in Cowes on Sunday 6th August.

Among the eleven Irish entries, among 28 participating countries, is a former Middle Sea Race class winner and some top ISORA performers. There's also two sailing school entries from Dun Laoghaire and two West Coast entries, one from Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary and another from Westport in County Mayo.

Wakey Wakey ISORA j109 2033Roger Smith's J109 Wakey Wakey, a regular ISORA racer, is Fastnet Race bound. Photo:

Although listed as an entrant in the sell–out race, this year's Howth Yacht Club Ostar TransAtlantic winner is not competing. Conor Fogerty's Bam is still in America after Transatlantic success and won't be doing the Fastnet but it appears RORC have been slow to delete the entry. 

Fogerty told 'I'm hoping to do the Caribbean 600 instead, as the logistics make more sense'.

paddy dermot croninIn 2015, Malahide's Dermot and Paddy Cronin come ashore in Malta after winning the double-handed division of the Middle Sea race. Encore is entered for this year's Fastnet Photo: Barry Hurley

Kenneth Rumball will steer his Irish National Sailing School J109, Jedi. The top performer in the ISORA series, who was second in the offshore class of Dun Laoghaire Regatta, will be racing with a number of students who have been building up their offshore miles this season with a number of fixtures including the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race.

big dealFrom Foynes to the Fastnet – Sole Shannon Estuary entry Big Deal races double–handed. Photo:

Another sailing school entry is the Irish Offshore Sailing School's Desert Star. Skipper Ronan O'Siochru shot to offshore success in the 2015 Fastnet Race when he stepped on to the podium in class.

Joan Mulloy sailingWestrport's Joan Mulloy will be sailing double handed in a Cowes Registered Figaro entry

Mayo woman Joan Mulloy will be skippering the Cowes–registered Figaro 2 - 'The Offshore Academy 21'. Her co-skipper is Cathal Clarke and they will be racing double–handed in the IRC 2 class.

Originally from Westport, Co. Mayo Mulloy is currently living in Cowes having spent the last two years working with the UK's Offshore Academy. She has been the 'preparateur' for the British entries in La Solitaire Le Figaro race in France. Mulloy plans a solo sailing campaign of her own with an entry in the 2018 La Solitaire Le Figaro race and longer term ambitions for the Vendee Globe in 2020.

This weekend she skippers 'The Offshore Academy 21' in the RORC Channel Race as part of the Fastnet qualifying process.

The full list of Irish entries taking part is below

Irish in the Fastnet

IRL 8407 Encore 3 C Dermot Cronin First 40.7 Malahide IE
IRL 733 Thalia 3 C Grant Kinsman Sigma 400 2.33 Dublin IE
IRL 3516 Platinum Blonde 3 C Paul Egan First 35 Carbon Dublin 4 IE
IRL 8088 Jedi 3 C Kenneth Rumball J/109 Dublin IE
IRL 37737 Windshift 4 C Louise Gray Sunfast 37 Co. Monaghan IE
IRL 1397 Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing 4 C Irish Offshore Sailing Ronan O'Siochru Sun Fast 37 Dun Laoghaire IE
IRL 3492 Big Deal 4 C Conor Dillon Dehler 34 Top-nova Listowel IE
IRL 45 Katsu 1 C Alan Hannon Rp 45 Downings IE
GBR 5909 Wakey Wakey 3 C Roger Smith J/109 Dublin IE
NED 8824 Trilogic M Hugo Karlsson-Smythe Multi 50 Tallaght IE

Fight to be first home

While the Judel-Vrolijk 115 Nikata will be the largest yacht competing among the 350 or so yachts starting on Sunday 6 August, the battle for line honours glory looks set to be between two titans of the grand prix racing world.

CQS IngvallLudde Ingvall still holds the double record set 22 years ago in the Rolex Fastnet Race, taking both line honours and handicap victory. He's back this year with the 100ft DSS foiling CQS © Andrea Francolini

Finnish Whitbread Round the World Race legend Ludde Ingvall returns having previously put in one of the most exceptional performances in the 92 year history of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event.

Firstly in 1985, the same year Simon le Bon's Drum famously capsized, Ingvall raced on the Whitbread maxi Atlantic Privateer when it won her class. But the race which has gone down in history was a decade later, when he skippered Nicorette, the former 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race maxi Charles Jourdan but much modified, to line honours, finishing a massive 24 hours ahead of the next boat. But significantly that year Nicorette not only claimed line honours but victory on handicap as well.

"We won it on CHS, we won it on IMS and we got line honours," Ingvall recalls proudly. "We walked away with 16 trophies, which was amazing. I still remember the speech at the prize giving where they said 'the Vikings have been here before and now they have come back to steal our silver!'" That race, 22 years ago, was the last occasion someone won the Rolex Fastnet Race line honours and handicap 'double'.

This time Sydney-based Ingvall is back with another weapon, and again one which is heavily modified. CQS was originally built in 2004 as the 90ft canting keel Simonis Voogd-design Nicorette aboard which Ingvall claimed line honours in that year's Rolex Sydney Hobart. During 2016, this boat underwent major surgery extending her to 100ft by fitting a new bow. Small wings were added at deck level to widen her shroud base to accept a larger, more powerful rig and she was also fitted with retracting lateral Dynamic Stability Systems foils to provide lift to leeward.

Since competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, CQS has arrived in Europe and, weekend before last, set a new course record in Sweden's AF Offshore Race (Round Gotland), breaking the existing record which Ingvall had established on his previous Nicorette.

However Ingvall warns that he and the crew, that includes sponsor Sir Michael Hintze and Kiwi sailing legends Chris Dickson and Rodney Keenan, are still green when it comes to the new beast. "We are taking steps forward all the time, but everything still feels quite new and we really haven't had enough time with a regular crew." A week and a half's training with her race crew before the Rolex Fastnet Race will help rectify this.

CQS will face stiff competition from American George David's Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Rambler 88. She may have a shorter waterline but in her long career racing Jim Clark's 100ft Comanche, this has seemed to have made little difference: In the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, Rambler 88 crossed the finish line just four and a half minutes behind Comanche.

According to tactician Brad Butterworth, their fight with CQS is likely to come down to the weather. "If there is any breeze it will make a big difference as to who wins across the line. If there are any powered up situations then Rambler will do pretty well, but if it is light airs running or even upwind, it will be a struggle. The modern maxis like Comanche and Rambler have huge wetted surface so when they are not heeled you are carrying a lot of viscous drag around with you."

Like Ingvall, Butterworth is a veteran of countless Fastnet Races dating back to 1987 when he skippered the top-ranked Admiral's Cup boat Propaganda in that year's victorious New Zealand team. Two years later he claimed line honours on Peter Blake's all-conquering maxi ketch Steinlager II. He says Rambler 88 has changed little from her 2015 configuration other than some sail development and a weight loss program. "That is why we're hoping for a bit of breeze."

Ingvall agrees with Butterworth's assessment of their relative form going into the Rolex Fastnet Race: "Rambler is a bloody good boat with top guys and they have been sailing the boat for a long time whereas we are still learning about what we've got. CQS is very long and skinny, while Rambler is very wide and her hull stability gives her a huge advantage. We are still learning about the DSS foil which improves our stability. When it is a matter of stability and power they will be hard to beat, whereas if it is about light airs and finesse, then I think we will be pretty good because we are so narrow and low resistance in the water. It will be fun to race each other."

Published in Fastnet Team

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Fastnet Yacht Race 

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between. The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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