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Round Ireland Race Focus Swings to the Services, Two-handers, Sailing Schools & Minis

5th July 2018
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Mayo entry Blackshell Farm (Louis Mulloy) (above) is chasing Yannick Lemonnier in Port of Galway in the race to be the smallest boat ever to have sailed round Ireland non-stop Mayo entry Blackshell Farm (Louis Mulloy) (above) is chasing Yannick Lemonnier in Port of Galway in the race to be the smallest boat ever to have sailed round Ireland non-stop Photo: Afloat.ie

Three of the primary positions are now resolved in the 20th Round Ireland Race writes W M Nixon. Niall Dowling (Royal Irish YC) has repeated the remarkable George David/Rambler 88 double of 2016 by taking both Line Honours and the overall IRC win with the Ker 43 Baraka GP. And the attractive new Class 40 Corum from France – completely fresh out of the wrappings when she arrived in Ireland a week ago – has ended with a comfortable 2 hours and 17 minutes lead in class over Norway’s Hydra.

Niall Dowling RIYC 3688Niall Dowling (Royal Irish YC) has repeated the remarkable George David/Rambler 88 double of 2016 by taking both Line Honours and the overall IRC win with the Ker 43 Baraka GP (below) Photos: Afloat.ie

Baraka GP 3925

A small cluster of boats made the finish as mid-day drew near, but with the north-going flood tide at full flow, there’s a gap with the 58ft American sloop Patriot next in line to get there, and she is currently off Dublin Bay while managing 7.9 knots in the moderate northwest to north wind.

Auerlia Chris power smith 3664Chris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia finished second overall Photo: Afloat.ie

Other contests now include the Services win, and who will be the first Mini 6.5 to sail round Ireland non-stop. The British Soldier entry Team Fujitsu, a high-rated X41 skippered by Donal Ryan of Howth, may have already finished in close company with second overall in IRC Aurelia (Chris and Pat Anne Power Smith). But there’s still a chance that Wicklow’s own Commandant Barry Byrne with the J/109 Joker II could pull it off for the Irish Defence Forces, as he has time in hand and is currently off Lambay making 7.0 knots despite the adverse tide.

Round Ireland Joker II 4275Wicklow’s own Commandant Barry Byrne with the J/109 Joker II could pull it off for the Irish Defence Forces Photo: Afloat.ie

However, it’s a moot point as to just how long this helpful fair wind will last, and the two Mini 6.5s, currently off the County Down coast and running smoothly, are doing so in the expectation of having some windward work before they finally get to Wicklow.

Port of Galway (Yannick Lemonnier and Cathal Clarke) has a good lead over the Mayo entry Blackshell Farm (Louis Mulloy), but the Galway sailors are quick to point out that it’s a miracle the Mayo boat is in any sort of serious contention at all, as she broke her spinnaker pole on the first night out. They had to do a complete on-board carbon and epoxy repair job, and whatever a Mini 6.5 may be, it is not the ideal spar repair workshop. But they managed nevertheless.

Yannick Mini 650 4541Mini 650 Port of Galway (Yannick Lemonnier and Cathal Clarke) Photo: Afloat.ie

Whoever finishes first of this dynamic duo if little ’uns will automatically become the smallest boat ever to have sailed round Ireland non-stop, so they’ve added an extra interest to their private contest.

Nicolas Pasternak’s JPK 10.10 JaasapNicolas Pasternak’s JPK 10.10 Jaasap Photo: Afloat.ie

Another specialist contest is the two-handed division, which has gallantly persisted in its ability to surprise everyone by providing the overall leader from time to time. Nine boats started, and the two outstanding ones have been very different craft - Paul Kavanagh’s Swan 44 CoOperation Ireland, and Nicolas Pasternak’s JPK 10.10 Jaasap. At the moment, it is Jaasap which is carrying the two-handed banner to the best effect, so much so that she could well be third overall at the finish, but CoOperation Ireland is right in on the hunt, and is currently rated as being sixth overall.

Irish offshore sailing 4459Ronan O Siochru’s organisation has the 37ft Desert Star (which he skippers himself) (above) in first, while sister-ship Sherkin 2 (Daniel Smith) below is second Photos: Afloat.ieIrish offshore sailing 4459

Finally, an area of special interest is the Sailing Schools, with six boats racing. The spreading in through the night of the new wind from the northwest did Irish Offshore Sailing of Dun Laoghaire no end of good, and Ronan O Siochru’s organisation has the 37ft Desert Star (which he skippers himself) in first, while sister-ship Sherkin 2 (Daniel Smith) is second. If they can keep this up, it will look very good indeed in the End-of-Term reports…….

Race Tracker and Leaderboard 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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