Round Ireland 2010 Launch: Last night Wicklow Commodore Charlie Kavanagh delivered a strong message to both competitors and potential sponsors to get involved early with next year's round Ireland. We reproduce his full speech over the fold:
In 1979, our current President, Fred Drew, along with other visionary members organised a Round Ireland Rally, which a year later spawned the inaugural Round Ireland Yacht Race. Wicklow Sailing Club will celebrate the 30th anniversary of that first Round Ireland, our flagship event, when the boats leave here on the 20th of June 2010.
Also, we will be celebrating 60 years as a club here in Wicklow in 2010 and we are extremely proud of our Internationally renowned Offshore Classic, which is the envy of many a club around our coastline. The Race, organised under the auspices of the RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club), has attracted some of the world’s best sailors and boats over the 15 races to date and we can proudly associate ourselves in the same category as the Fastnet, Sydney-Hobart, China Sea and Malta Middle Sea offshore races. As a club, we have been fortunate to have organisers of the calibre of the late Michael Jones, Fergus O'Conchubhair and the incumbent, Dennis Noonan within our own membership. Dennis will be running his 7th race in 2010, and with his very dedicated team, is looking forward to the challenge as if it was his first.
The Round Ireland is all about the competitors and we greatly appreciate both our regular owners and crews as well as those who come once or twice to experience this wonderful test of man and equipment around the 704 miles of the often daunting Irish coastline. Dennis tells me that we already have positive enquiries from about 12 new prospective entries to the race, a very encouraging scenario when we are still without a sponsor – we are in safe hands when the sailors still support us. The two-handed innovation has been very popular and 25% of the entrants in the 2008 race came from this category.
The introduction of GPS tracking has completely revolutionised the profile of the Round Ireland Yacht Race and is by far the best reason for a sponsor to consider sponsoring our event, with a worldwide audience tuning in for 5 or 6 days to follow the fleet. As we all know by now, the race has rarely been won until almost the last boat is home – armchair spectators loved that aspect in 2008 with almost 90,000 hits on our website – that’s a hit of one in every 5 seconds.
Another helpful addition to make the event more sponsor-friendly will be a Town promoted Festival to piggy back on the Round Ireland, hopefully following on from the wonderful spectacle that was the Galway Volvo Stopover earlier this year. Mayor Irene Winters will elaborate the Town plans for it shortly.
This race depends on the goodwill and the co-operation of many agencies and local bodies – we are grateful to Wicklow Town Council, Wicklow County Council, Wicklow County Tourism, Wicklow Chamber of Commerce, Wicklow Civil Defence, Wicklow Gardai, Wicklow RNLI, Wicklow Port Company, the RORC, Irish Sailing Association and many more. We would particularly like to thank Wicklow Chamber for the use of the Gaol this evening, as our premises was not available due to a film being made in its vicinity. The most important ingredient in the success of the event is the extraordinary commitment of the members of Wicklow Sailing Club who are never found wanting when the race comes to town.
I now hand you over to our 2010 Race Organiser, Dennis Noonan, to say a few words and officially launch his 7th race and the 16th one in all.
Commodore, Wicklow Sailing Club