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SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race From Wicklow Sees Entries Doubled In A Fortnight

6th April 2022
The Volvo 70 Telefonica Black is in the latest group of Round Ireland entries which has more than doubled the fleet numbers
The Volvo 70 Telefonica Black is in the latest group of Round Ireland entries which has more than doubled the fleet numbers

When this year’s SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022 was top of the agenda on Afloat.ie a fortnight ago, it was in the context of Wicklow Sailing Club being in double celebratory mode. They’d already logged 18 high-quality early entries for their great biennial offshore classic, while in the local context, the WSC float entered for the Wicklow & District St Patrick’s Day parade had won the prize for Best in Show.

Yet this past weekend there has been every cause for further celebration in the hospitable harbourside clubhouse, as the expected surge of entries to avail of the Early Bird Discount that ended on March 31st had exceeded expectations. For not only did they more than double to 37 boats, but in terms of “fleet weight” they probably tripled the heft of the total entry list, as the latest entry list includes some serious biggies in addition to several quality entries with proven track records.

There are now two ex-Volvo Racers, as the gallant warhorse Green Dragon (Conor Ferguson/Enda O Coineen, GBSC/RIYC) will be lining up against Lance Shepherd’s Volvo 70 Telefonica Black. And two ICRA “Boats of the Year” have joined the hunt, with current title-holder Nieulargo (Grand Soleil 40, Denis & Annamarie Murphy, Royal Cork YC) up against the 2021 ICRA Champ, Paul O’Higgins’ well-proven JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (RIYC).

Current ICRA “Boat of the Year” Nieulargo from Cork (above, photo Robert Bateman) will be lining up against the 2021 Champion Rockabill VI from Dun Laoghaire (below, photo Afloat.ie/David O’Brien)Current ICRA “Boat of the Year” Nieulargo from Cork (above, photo Robert Bateman) will be lining up against the 2021 Champion Rockabill VI from Dun Laoghaire (below, photo Afloat.ie/David O’Brien)

Time was when Howth YC was such a force in the offshore world that they provided two out of the three boats in the Irish Admiral’s Cup, but that was way back in 1973 in an era when the Howth clubhouse hosted the meeting which led to the creation of ISORA, which this year is celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

However, fleet numbers and fleet weight have been increasing in Howth lately, and those giving the HYC flotilla a bit of beef in this year’s circuit include Robert Rendell’s successful Grand Soleil 44 Samatom and the recently-announced linkup of Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs in the new First 50 Checkmate XX.

The Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (Robert Rendell, HYC) on her way to the class win in the Sovereign’s Trophy 2021 in Kinsale. Photo: Robert BatemanThe Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (Robert Rendell, HYC) on her way to the class win in the Sovereign’s Trophy 2021 in Kinsale. Photo: Robert Bateman

Also of special note is Adrian Lee’s Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners II (RStGYC), a newish but already well-travelled campaigner as she is making her way towards Wicklow from February’s RORC Caribbean 600.

And the Class40 inclusion of the Round Ireland as a designated event in their 2022 programme is indicated by the new listing of Ari Kaensaekoski’s OCD 40 Fuji from Cherbourg, while Ireland’s western challenge is further reinforced by Derek Dillon of Foynes YC making the debut with his newly-acquired Grand Soleil 37 Big Deal, continuing to carry the name of the Dehler 34 with which he completed very many long-distance two-handed races with his son Conor.

Back in the day…..Derek & Conor Dillon in their early days of two-handed campaigning in the Dehler 34 Big Deal. The new Big Deal – entered for the Round Ireland 2022 – is a Grand Soleil 37Back in the day…..Derek & Conor Dillon in their early days of two-handed campaigning in the Dehler 34 Big Deal. The new Big Deal – entered for the Round Ireland 2022 – is a Grand Soleil 37

Published in Round Ireland
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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

FAQs

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 https://afloat.ie/sail/events/round-ireland/item/25789-round-ireland-yacht-race-tracker-2016-here.

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

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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