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American Yacht Rambler 88 Sets New Round Ireland Monohull Record & New Race Record

20th June 2016
Round Ireland Yacht Race
Rambler 88 finished the Round Ireland Race today to set a new monohull record Rambler 88 finished the Round Ireland Race today to set a new monohull record

The progress of George David’s Rambler 88 down the North Channel and the Irish Sea today has been remorseless, with the big silver boat ticking off waypoints like an express train closely on schedule writes W M Nixon. With the ebb tide helping her for the final stages, she was registered as crossing the finish line at 15-24-09, which means she has gone round Ireland in 2 days 2 hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds, which is one beautiful bit of sailing.

It means she has wiped out both the 2 days 17 hours race record of Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard from 2008, and the open record of 2 days and 9 hours time set by Jean-Philippe Chomette’s CityJet/Solene in 2006. While the former had always been seen as eminently beatable, the latter was seen as pitching it a bit high. But with around 7 hours chopped off it, there’s just no questioning the quality of this showing.

The performance potential of the new generation of big canting keeled boats means everyone will have to re-configure their notions of what’s possible, as the fact that Rambler was beating virtually the whole way from Wicklow to the Fastnet Rock was comfortably offset by finding that once she’d freed sheets beyond the Fastnet, she was away like an express train.


Then too, the wind held up, and as the vid shot by Ryan Wilson off Larne at 0630 this morning shows, so long as it’s not verging on flat calm, Rambler 88 is capable of more-than-respectable speeds in modest breezes. But even so, the skills required to keep a boat of this calibre at peak performance are way beyond the imagination of most sailors. Yet from the moment Rambler 88 made that utterly brilliant start on Saturday, finding her way through a melee of confused smaller boats, we knew we were looking at something very exceptional.

But now, the south to west winds have been blowing for two days and more. And despite yesterday’s vile weather, it is still definitely June – indeed, tonight is the shortest night of the year. Thus the chances of prolonged periods of calm are increasing with every passing hour. All of which means that though the rest of the monohull fleet are still bustling along the west coast, the chances of them getting hung up by tidal gates and windless areas between Tory Island and Wicklow are growing all the time. Which in turn means that the chances of Rambler 88 taking the mighty mono-hull treble of a new record, line honours, and the overall win on IRC are increasing by the hour. Sailing history might well be in the making.

See Round Ireland tracker here and keep to up to date with the fleet's progress with Afloat's regular Round Ireland 2016 updates here

Published in Round Ireland

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The Round Ireland Yacht Race is Ireland's classic offshore yacht race that starts from Wicklow Sailing Club (WSC) and is organised jointly with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC). This page details the very latest updates from the 2008 race onwards including the race schedule, yacht entries and the all-important race updates from around the 704-mile course. Keep up to date with the Round Ireland Yacht Race here on this one handy page.

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