It is the longest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar, comparable to similar Offshore races such as the Fastnet, Malta Middle Sea, Sydney-Hobart and China Sea races.
The first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. Since then, held biennially, the fleet has grown steadily, and up to 60 yachts have competed in some past editions of the race.
The backbone for the 2008 race was Tonnerre de Breskens III, owned by Dutchman Piet Vroon. The crew arrived in Wicklow with a brace of RORC victories, leading RORC's offshore table, and went into the race as favourites. The first twist in Tonnerre's plot came before the starter's gun, when Vroon ended up in hospital, from where he would follow the race as his crew sailed on without him.
However, that would be the only bump in their road. Tonnerre led from start to finish, both on the water and on handicap. Vroon's crew brought home the trophy for their ailing skipper in the race's happy ending.
Sailing around Ireland poses many challenges for boats and crew, with open ocean on the south and west coasts, tidal challenges on north and east coasts apart from all the off lying rocks and sandbanks to keep navigators on their toes and not forgetting the vagaries of the Atlantic weather systems.
This is very much a sailors race but armchair spectators can follow the race on their computers, thanks to our modern race tracker technology.
A Round Ireland Sail Fest (Thur 21 - Sun 24 June) will complement the race preparations and add a welcome level of fun and entertainment for all coming down to Wicklow for the Race start.
ROUND IRELAND YACHT RACE 2012 on SUNDAY 24TH JUNE
NOTICE OF RACE
The Race is organised by Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
CONDITIONS The race will be sailed under the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012, the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and RORC Prescriptions and amendments and the additions detailed below:
1. This Notice of Race, the Entry Form and the Sailing Instructions.
2. The Race is ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Category 2.
3. IRC Rules Parts A, B, & C – 2012 Rules.
In the event of conflict the Sailing Instructions shall prevail.
START The start will be at Wicklow on Sunday, 24th June 2012.
COURSE Leave Ireland and all its islands excluding Rockall to starboard. The distance is approximately 704 nm.
ENTRIES To: Wicklow Sailing Club, C/o. Dennis Noonan, "Dunmore", Sea Road, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow. The closing date for entries is 8th June 2012. Exceptionally late entries may be accepted, for which there will be a late entry fee. Entries will be from IRC (Endorsed) rated yachts of LOA 9.15m/30 feet and over, with a minimum SSS of 28 or STIX of 32 combined with an AVS minimum of 130-0.002 x M (where M is minimum sailing weight in kg). STIX and AVS data is required for boats with a series date of 1995 and later.
ENTRY FEE LOA: 30-39.9 feet €400 40-49.9 feet €450 50-59.9 feet €500 60 feet and over €550.
LATE ENTRY Late entries will be subject to the relevant fee above +50%. No entry will be accepted after Thursday, 22nd June 2012.
CANCELLATION POLICY Cancellations can be accepted either:
(1) before the closing date, when a refund minus €50 may be claimed or
(2) between the closing date and the start, when 50% of the fee may be claimed.
ENTRY The Race Committee reserves the right to decline an entry.
ENTRY LIMIT The number of starters shall not exceed 75.
CLASSES Racing will take place under IRC. Classes will be allocated according to the number and type of entry. Classes for classic and one design yachts will be subject to the number of entries. Yachts may enter as a team, but RRS Appendix D, Team Racing Rules, will not apply. Details will be provided on application.
Classes will be as follows:
IRC Class CK – 0.850 and greater
IRC Class Z - 1.276 and greater Class 5 – Cruisers, Hull factor 7.5 or less
IRC Class 1 - 1.275 – 1.101 Class 6 – Classics Class (pre 1987)
IRC Class 2 - 1.100 – 1.051 Class 7 – Sigma 38 to Class Rules
IRC Class 3 - 1.050 – 1.007 Class 8 – Two-handed Class
IRC Class 4 – 1.006 - 0.850 Class 9 – TBA
The Race Committee reserves the right to alter the rules and conditions of the race at any time. Changes will be posted on the WSC website at www.wicklowsailingclub.com. Yachts whose entries have been accepted will be advised directly.
The Round Ireland Yacht Race is not a race for novices. Every crew member must have experience of sailing a yacht offshore and be prepared to encounter heavy weather. Competitors may be required to provide evidence of offshore experience.
The skipper and at least half the crew must have completed, in the yacht in which they will race the Round Ireland Race, in the 13 months preceding the start, either:-
1. 300 miles of offshore racing * or
2. Non-stop passage of at least 300 miles.
3. Other qualifications similar to 2. above to be proposed to and agreed by WSC/RORC by 31st May 2012.
* To qualify as offshore racing a race must be at least 75 miles duration and include at least one night at sea.
TRAINING It is the skipper's responsibility to ensure that the following criteria are met and that a certificate or letter of attendance from an establishment recognised by the ISA/RORC should be provided on completion of the following:
1. At least 30% of the crew, including the Skipper, shall have undertaken training to Section 6, (Appendix G) of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.
2. In the case of two-handed entries, both crew members must complete training to Section 6, (Appendix G) of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.
3. In addition at least one member of the crew shall hold a current Senior First Aid Certificate or equivalent (in accordance with OSR 6.05.2) and should be familiar with the management of medical emergencies that may occur at sea, including hypothermia, and radio communications operations for obtaining medical advice by radio.
4. The above training must have taken place after January 2007. Copies of these certificates should be lodged with WSC prior to the start of the race.
CREW LIST A full crew list with names, addresses and telephone numbers of competitors and their next of kin to be lodged with the Race Office on Registration at Wicklow Sailing Club.
INSPECTIONS Yachts shall assemble at Wicklow Harbour no later than 1200 hours on Friday, 22nd June 2012 for Special Regulations inspections. Deep draught yachts may be inspected at Dun Laoghaire, by agreement with the race organisers.
RORC SPECIAL REGULATIONS CHECK-LIST
Each entrant must complete an ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Check List. The completed Check List must be submitted to Wicklow Sailing Club prior to the start of the race and a copy must also be retained onboard the yacht.
ADVERTISING Advertising will be acceptable under conditions to be provided on application. Yachts may carry advertising according to the Racing Rules of Sailing and their class or rating authority. Yachts will be required to fly a race flag and may be required to apply a race sticker to each side of the hull.
TRACKING It will be mandatory for yachts to carry a Tracker Unit for the duration of the race. A refundable deposit, which may be set against a credit card, may be required.
AIS TRANSPONDER All yachts must be equipped with an operational AIS Transponder, which must be switched on and transmitting and receiving for the entire duration of the race.
TIDES Wicklow Harbour, Sunday 24th June 2012. Times are local and are approximate.
HW - 1432hrs
All competitors must apply to the RORC Rating Office as early as possible prior to the race, in order to obtain their current Endorsed Certificates in good time. Please note, STIX and AVS data is required for boats with a series date of 1995 and later. The cut-off date for amended Rating Certificates shall be Thursday the 21st June 2012.
PUBLICITY Entrants should include, with their entry, two recent photographs of the yacht for the programme and for publicity purposes.