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Round Ireland Day 2. 2pm: Record Speeds Confound Weather Predictions

1st July 2018
The new Class 40 Corum is approaching Skellig Michael off the County Kerry coast The new Class 40 Corum is approaching Skellig Michael off the County Kerry coast Credit:

In the days leading up to the Volvo Round Ireland Race start at Wicklow yesterday, there were predictions of boats being delayed by calms, struggling for sea breezes by day and land breezes by night writes W M Nixon. But the always interesting setup at – which works from the basis of existing conditions at strategically-located recording sites – doggedly continued to suggest that the further west the fleet got, the more wind they’d find, and such has proven to be the case.

Ian Moore Navigator 3669Ian Moore of Carrickfergus is the Navigator onboard Round Ireland leader Baraka GP Photo:

The only problem is that the winds they so doggedly predicted had a lot of north in them. And now that the leaders are scorching out past Dursey Head - the furthest point of West Cork - they continue to find that XCW is right on the money – their accurately forecast wind is starting to provide a king-size dose of rugged windward work.

But thanks to the favourable conditions down as far as Mizen Head, which provided something veering on drag racing along the south coast, the leading nine boats on the water are going to have logged better than the magic 200 miles by the time the first 24 hours of the race has elapsed at 2.0pm today, and the front runners are going to be well past that figure.

Now, however, things are different. The formerly fleet-leading trimaran Trilogic (Hugo Karlsson-Smyth, Netherland) may have put Dursey Head astern but - faced with a true windward challenge - she is no longer cutting the mustard, her track is sliding to lee, and it is the new Class 40 Corum which is managing best to hold up to the line for the next waypoint to shape them up for getting past Skellig Michael.

In fact, with indications of slight but positive tendencies for the brisk headwinds off the southwest and western seaboards to veer, the imperative is to keep to the right and if need be take a short tack on port every so often. As this afternoon goes on, it will be interesting to see how often this move is deployed.

"Niall Dowling’s Ker 43 Baraka GP continues in awesome style at the head of IRC on the water and in the frame on handicap"

Meanwhile, Niall Dowling’s Ker 43 Baraka GP continues in awesome style at the head of IRC on the water and in the frame on handicap, though for the moment the JPK 10.10 Jaasap from France is overall IRC leader. Baraka is currently passing Dursey Head and making 10.1 knots, so the going is good. She’s going good in near proximity to the Class 40 Sensation, which has had a good night of it, and is showing that Corum’s lead in class may not be invincible after all.

Class 40 sensation 4143The Class 40 Sensation has finally found form, and is nibbling at the Mach 40 Corum’s lead Photo:

However, while that’s the way it is with the bigger boats, let’s hear it for the little ‘uns in the two-boat Mini-Transat division. They may have been sent off after everyone else in their own separate start in order not to offend official sensibilities, but Yannick Lemonnier in Port of Galway in particular has been racing like a man possessed. His tiny boat has gone down along the south coast like a scalded cat, and is currently off Baltimore, narrowly ahead of George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW.

Yannick Lemonnier 4518Yannick Lemonnier is getting a sensational performance out of Port of Galway, his 21ft Mini. Photo:
For now, Port of Galway is the star, the mighty atom and then some. As for the other Mini, there was a charming meeting at Wicklow in the pre-race festivities when Mini-Transat superstar Ian Lipinsky, doing this race in exalted style on Corum, called by to encourage Louis Mulloy of Westport and his crewman Arthur on their tiny craft 303 Blackshell Farm. Blackshell may not be achieving quite the same performance as Port of Galway, but she’s going some nevertheless, and is currently off Glandore and making 8.3 knots with a lot of very much larger boats tucked in well astern.

Mini sailors irlMeeting of Mini Transat fans – Ian Lipinsky in Wicklow with Louis Mulloy and Arthur from 303 Blackshell Farm  

Mini pogo Blackshell 4581Tiny craft – 303 Blackshell Farm Photo:

Race tracker here

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Round Ireland Yacht Race Information

The Round Ireland Yacht Race is Ireland's classic offshore yacht race 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 reference page.

2020 Round Ireland Race

The 2020 race, the 21st edition, was the first race to be rescheduled then cancelled.

Following Government restrictions over COVID-19, a decision on the whether or not the 2020 race can be held was made on April 9 2020 to reschedule the race to Saturday, August 22nd. On July 27th, the race was regrettably cancelled due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19.

Because of COVID-19, the race had to have a virtual launch party at the Royal Irish Yacht Club for its 21st edition

In spite of the pandemic, however, a record entry was in prospect for 2020 with 50 boats entered with four weeks to go to the race start. The race was also going big on size and variety to make good on a pre-race prediction that the fleet could reach 60. An Irish offshore selection trial also looked set to be a component part of the 2020 race.

The rescheduling of the race to a news date emphasises the race's national significance, according to Afloat here


704 nautical miles, 810 miles or 1304 kilometres

3171 kilometres is the estimate of Ireland's coastline by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

SSE Renewables are the sponsors of the 2020 Round Ireland Race.

Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London and The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin.

Off Wicklow Harbour on Saturday, August 22nd 2020

Monohulls 1300 hrs and Multihulls 13.10 hrs

Leave Ireland and all its islands (excluding Rockall) to starboard.

It depends on the boat. The elapsed record time for the race is under 40 hours but most boats take five or six days to complete the course.

The Race Tracker is

The idea of a race around Ireland began in 1975 with a double-handed race starting and finishing in Bangor organised by Ballyholme Yacht Club with stopovers in Crosshaven and Killybegs. That race only had four entries. In 1980 Michael Jones put forward the idea of a non-stop race and was held in that year from Wicklow Sailing Club. Sixteen pioneers entered that race with Brian Coad’s Raasay of Melfort returning home after six days at sea to win the inaugural race. Read the first Round Ireland Yacht Race 1980 Sailing Instructions here


The Round Ireland race record of 38 h 37 min 7 s is held by MOD-70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail and was set in June 2016.

George David’s Rambler 88 (USA) holds the fastest monohull race time of two days two hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds set in the 2016 race.

William Power's 45ft Olivia undertook a round Ireland cruise in September 1860


Richard Hayes completed his solo epic round Ireland voyage in September 2018 in a 14-foot Laser dinghy. The voyage had seen him log a total of 1,324 sea miles (2,452 kilometres) in 54 sailing days. in 1961, the Belfast Lough Waverly Durward crewed by Kevin and Colm MacLaverty and Mick Clarke went around Ireland in three-and-a-half weeks becoming the smallest keelboat ever to go round. While neither of these achievements occurred as part of the race they are part of Round Ireland sailing history

© Afloat 2020

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At A Glance – Round Ireland Yacht Race 2022

Race start: Off Wicklow Harbour date to be announced, June 18 2022

There will be separate starts for monohulls and multihulls.

Race course:  leave Ireland and all its islands (excluding Rockall) to starboard.

Race distance: is approximately 704 nautical miles or 1304 kilometres.

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