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Round Ireland Two-Handed Challenge Speeds West into the Night Towards the Fastnet Rock

13th October 2020
The Fastnet Rock is the next turning point for Pamela Lee and Cat Hunt The Fastnet Rock is the next turning point for Pamela Lee and Cat Hunt

Female Two-handed Round Ireland Record Day One 2000 hrs: The Round Ireland two-handed record challenge by Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt, which started from the Kish in Dublin Bay at 0745 this morning, had been accelerating westward well out to sea off the East Cork coast, putting them due south of Capel Island at 1930hrs and making 12.5 knots. Their Beneteau Figaro 3 was beginning to feel the effects as the strong north to northeast winds - 25 knots and more in the Irish Sea and St George's Channel all afternoon - start spreading vigorously into the Atlantic.

Not that the Magenta team need more pressure power, as they've had a very handy favourable breeze all day. But through the early part of the night they've been having to handle this extra challenge of keeping up speed without sustaining any damage before the blast of extra wind has gone through, and at 1910hrs a problem arose and they peeled off for twenty minutes on a downwind course, but still sailing at 8.3 knots. Yet now (1940 hours) they're back up to 12.4 knots and it seems to be all systems go again.

Ironically, although they're on a record-establishing mission, they don't want to arrive down at the Fastnet Rock too early, as on the current setup, it gets very bumpy thereafter. From The Rock northwestwards, the wind has been more then fresh from the north along the Kerry and West Cork coasts through today, and as any Round Ireland and indeed Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race veteran can affirm, slugging into a strong northerly off Kerry is no cakewalk.

But fortunately for the two co-skippers, the wind is expected to veer markedly and ease as it draws from the east, helping them round the corner and past Ireland's most westerly point, the unmarked Great Foze Rock west of the Blaskets, a lonely and mysterious place which is best avoided by night or day.

For now, however, that's in the future as supporters ashore wait to hear what caused the sudden alteration of course at 1910hrs, hoping that it was only a blip rather than the loss of an important sail or some rigging damage.

Sailing Magenta Round Ireland Record Tracker

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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