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Two-handed Round Ireland Record Bid Passed Fastnet Rock at 0400hrs This Morning

14th October 2020
"Standard conditions" on the Kerry coast. But good fortune is on the side of round Ireland record challengers Pamela Lee and Cat Hunt as they sail along the southwest seaboard in an increasingly favourable offshore wind. "Standard conditions" on the Kerry coast. But good fortune is on the side of round Ireland record challengers Pamela Lee and Cat Hunt as they sail along the southwest seaboard in an increasingly favourable offshore wind.

Female Two-handed Round Ireland Record Day Two 0900hrs:  The Magenta Round Ireland two-handed record challenge Record campaign from Dublin Bay by Pam Lee and Cat Hunt of RL Sailing and Greystones has logged an excellent start in its first 24 hours. They put the Fastnet Rock astern at 0400hrs this morning, and at 0745 hrs – just 24 hours after they started from the official records Kish Lighthouse-Dun Laoghaire Pier line in Dublin Bay – they were passing Dursey Head, the first headland of the majestic Kerry coast.

Having made many good miles in sometimes boisterous but always favourable northwest to northeast wind, they are now facing lighter conditions off the southwestern seaboard, something which had been predicted as the breeze veers until eventually, it's hoped, it will settle in more firmly as an easterly to give fair winds as far as distant northwest Mayo, when it's even possible another veering will provide a reach across to Tory Island.

Pam Lee and Cat Hunt at 0945 this morning off the County Kerry coast. Scroll down for live tracker belowPam Lee and Cat Hunt at 0945 this morning off the County Kerry coast. Scroll down for live tracker below

That's some time in the future. Meanwhile, the Magenta Shore Team, headed by Kenneth Rumball, are well pleased by the relatively steady progress past the often tricky stage from the Fastnet to Dursey. And while at Dursey Head itself there was a slight pause as speed fell back to 5.5 knots, they'd soon found the veering nor'easter had settled in with more vigour to give them better than 8 knots, and comfortably on track for the next course adjustment at Skellig Michael.

It's said that any single sailor, soldier or airman on active service needs about seven people providing background comprehensive support ashore, and while the Magenta Project direct shore management team doesn't quite reach the total of 14 this might suggest, nevertheless it's an impressive international array of talent. Headed by Kenneth Rumball of Irish National Sailing School, it includes communications co-ordination by Volvo Ocean Race media veteran Brian Carlin (originally of Kerry), while tactical and strategic advice is continuously available from ashore through Miles Seddon and Libby Greenhalgh, and additional support comes from Hannah Hunt (Cat's sister) and Abby Elher of the Agenta Project.

Brian Carlin of Kerry headed the international press team on the 2017 Volvo Ocean Race, and is much involved on he shore team with the Magenta ChallengeBrian Carlin of Kerry headed the international press team on the 2017 Volvo Ocean Race and is much involved on the shore team with the Magenta Challenge

Behind it all is the benevolent but very effective presence of Big Daddy. aka Marcus Hutchinson of Howth, Kinsale and Brittany, whose exceptional knowledge of campaigning a Figaro boat is rivalled only by his access to boat resources in areas like IMOCA 60s and the entire Figaro selection. It was Uncle Marcus who came up with the state-of-the-art Figaro 3 which had made this possible, and much helpful advice and encouragement with practical support has come from him with it.

There are many other less direct supporters in technical, equipment and sail services, while the stamp of officialdom is provided by Chris Moore of Dun Laoghaire, the former National YC Commodore who is currently in the onerous role of DBSC Honorary Secretary, yet somehow finds time to be Ireland's World Sailing Speed Records Commissioner too, and thus his presence on the start line yesterday morning in DBSC's Committee Boat Freebird made it all very official.

Chris Moore of DBSC and the NYC is Ireland's World Sailing Records CommissionerChris Moore of DBSC and the NYC is Ireland's World Sailing Records Commissioner

Yet even with all the shoreside support and widespread goodwill, for much of the time, it comes down to two female sailors very much on their own out in the Atlantic in volatile weather. Although the next underlying problem may well eventually be a softness of wind strength as high pressure gradually comes to dominate the weather systems, yesterday evening there was plenty of wind about from the north as Magenta Project scooted along far at sea off the coast of East Cork, and at 1910hrs there was a sudden adjustment of course downwind and an easing of speed which caused concern for those ashore about sail or rigging damage.

But instead, it was a prudent easing of the pressure in order to change as safely as possible from the A5 spinnaker - which had carried them so well and so quickly from Dublin Bay - to the now more useful Code Zero, and in the relatively conservative approach which had underlined the first day of the challenge, this was very much the right way to do it, and soon they were back to 12.5 knots, and blasting west into the night, on towards the Fastnet.

Sailing Magenta Round Ireland Record Tracker

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