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All Skill Sets Will Be Tested In SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race From Wicklow Today

18th June 2022
The Round Ireland Start of 2014. It was the last time a Volvo 70 raced, but there are two taking part today. Overall winner was the Sydney 36 Tanit (right foreground) navigated by Richie Fearon of Lough Swilly YC, who races this year on the Grand Soleil 44 Samatom
The Round Ireland Start of 2014. It was the last time a Volvo 70 raced, but there are two taking part today. Overall winner was the Sydney 36 Tanit (right foreground) navigated by Richie Fearon of Lough Swilly YC, who races this year on the Grand Soleil 44 Samatom

With the four year pandemic-imposed gap since the previous edition in 2018, today’s restoration of the biennial SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow has been attracting an unprecedented amount of countdown attention and discussion. There has been an across-the-board shooting of the breeze on just about every possible aspect of this great race.

But good people, do please be careful. There has been so much shooting of the breeze that we may have managed to kill it stone dead. Or at least we’ve wounded it so much that although today’s start off the Wicklow pierheads may get away at 1.0pm with a fair wind of sorts – and a generous ebb tide to sweep the fleet into the wide blue yonder and welcome invisibility beyond Wicklow Head – by the time they’re off the Wexford coast, there might be local calms.

This could introduce some crews to the many delights of kedging to simply stay in the one place when the tide turns foul. Kedging is such fun, particularly if you’re in deep water and have to use every bit of line in the boat to get the necessary length for putting the anchor on the seabed. And some anchors need more line than others. In our own mad-keen offshore racing days, we carried a fancy bit of kit called a Fortress anchor, a sort of Danforth with enormous seabed-gripping wings.

But it was made of aluminium, for we were weight-obsessed. So when you chucked the Fortress over the bow as the boat started to make negative SOG, the Fortress weaved elegantly about like a cruising manta ray, and took its own leisurely time before finally digging in somewhere in the inky depths and eventually stopping the sternward progress.

 It now seems like a lifetime ago. Tracks recorded in the last Round Ireland in 2018 – it’s possible this year’s race will also have windward work along the west coast. It now seems like a lifetime ago. Tracks recorded in the last Round Ireland in 2018 – it’s possible this year’s race will also have windward work along the west coast.

It’s an exercise which needs a complete mental re-set when you’ve headed off to do some offshore race in anticipation of rugged sailing, and instead find yourself gliding along with everyone in tip-toe movement style. In these circumstances when tide is not a factor, there is only one item of Holy Writ. Never Lose Steerage Way. Have someone aloft if needs be to search out every little ruffle of wind, and if necessary be prepared to re-trace your steps in order to stay in a usable zephyr. But if you lose steerage way it takes so long to get going again - even when a faint air does arrives - that you’re rather more thoroughly stuffed than a Christmas turkey. And please don’t ask how you do this wind-chasing at night……..

Round Ireland Line Honours and CT Winners since 1980.Round Ireland Line Honours and CT Winners since 1980.

POSSIBLY WINDLESS MONDAY

Looking beyond this (Saturday) afternoon’s expectations, although the wind will struggle on from various directions through Sunday, by Monday it may be gasping to survive in any significant strength all round the Irish coast, It will be difficult to imagine good strong wind sailing, yet right now (Saturday morning) the 200-strong fleet in the biennial Newport-Bermuda Race on the other side of the Atlantic have all the wind they want, while up in Iceland the Vendee Arctique fleet racing round Iceland have been told to take a break, as winds of 50 knots-plus are blowing off the north coast, and being dense Arctic air, that’s extremely intense boat-damaging pressure.

Yet down here off Ireland and in adjacent waters, the breezes are thin, with the two leader in the RWYC Round Britain and Ireland Race (they were in Galway a fortnight ago) struggling to finish in Plymouth by lunchtime today – they’re Andy Fennell’s 39ft Shuttleworth tri Morpheus and Simon Baker’s Dazcat 46 Hissy Fit.

SOME EXTRA FOOD?

However, at least they’re looking at the finish of their race, even if the tail-enders in this eccentric three-stopovers event are still in Scottish waters. But the boats making the final adjustments this morning for the round Ireland will be thinking of time to the finish, and wondering if a bit of extra food might be a good idea.

The new First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Cullen) racing at Wave Regatta in a good breeze earlier this month. It’s a moot point if the Round Ireland fleet will experience wind of this strength in the 2022 race. Checkmate XX was withdrawn on the eve of the Wicklow race due to a positive COVID test  Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe new First 50 Checkmate XX (Nigel Biggs & Dave Cullen) racing at Wave Regatta in a good breeze earlier this month. It’s a moot point if the Round Ireland fleet will experience wind of this strength in the 2022 race. Checkmate XX was withdrawn on the eve of the Wicklow race due to a positive COVID test  Photo: Annraoi Blaney

It looks as though 44-47 boats will come to the line, as the global travel chaos appears to have spread to the yacht delivery ships criss-crossing the Atlantic. This has banjaxed the chances of an appearance by Adrian Lee’s Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners, whose normally trouble-free Transatlantic transportation has run late.

Round Ireland Yacht Race 2022 Entries 

  1. More Mischief, entered by: Grzegorz Kalinecki, boat type: First 310, Length 9.15, Club: ISA
  2. Cavatina Ian Hickey Granada 38 11.60, Royal Cork Yacht Club
  3. Aurelia Chris Power Smith, J122, 12.20 RSGYC/RORC
  4. Prime Suspect Keith Miller Mills 36 10.97 Kilmore Quay BC
  5. Mojo Kieron Blamey J105 10.51 Isle of Man Yacht Club
  6. Blue Oyster Noel Coleman Oyster 37 11.30 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  7.  Hiro Maru Hiroshi Nakajima Sparkman & Stephens 15.05 Stamford Yacht Club
  8. Finally Paul Kitteringham Elan 350 10.50 Pwllheli Sailing Club
  9. Influence Andrea Fornaro VPLP Class 40 12.40
  10. SL ENERGIES Groupe FASTWAVE Laurent Charmy JBOAT J111 11.15
  11. Green Dragon Enda O’Coineen / Conor Ferguson VOR70 21.50 Galway Bay Sailing Club / Royal Irish Yacht Club
  12. Samatom Robert Rendell GS44R 14.90 Howth YC
  13. Peregrine Jasper Golyer Pogo Class 40 12.10 MYC
  14. Pyxis Kirsteen Donaldson X332 10.06 RORC
  15. Arthur Jim Bennett Beneteau First 40 12.24 RORC
  16. Sherkin Irish Offshore Sailing David Hanks Sunfast 37 11.40 RIYC Dun Laoghaire
  17. Indian Simon Knowles J109 10.9 Howth YC
  18. YOYO Graham Curran Sunfast 3600 10.75 Royal St. George
  19. Rockabill VI Paul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 10.84 Royal Irish Yacht Club
  20. State O Chassis Mike Murphy Sigma 38 11.55 Royal Irish Yacht Club
  21. Artful DodJer Finbarr O’Regan J Boats 10.75 Kinsale Yacht Club
  22. Ca Va Tony Rayer Pogo 12.50 12.19 Cardiff Bay Yacht Club
  23. Wild Pilgrim Daniel Jones Sunfast 3300 9.99 RORC
  24. Telefonica Black Lance Shepherd Volvo 70 21.50 RORC
  25. Shindig A. Kingston Swan 40 S&S 12.80 Kinsale
  26. Black Magic Barry O Donovan Beneteau 13.65 Waterford Harbour Sailing Club/Howth Yacht Club
  27. Nieulargo Denis&Annamarie Murphy Grand Soleil 40 B+C 12.12 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  28. Cinnamon Girl Cian Mc Carthy Sunfast 3300 9.99 Kinsale Yacht Club
  29. L’ESPRIT D’EQUIPE Lionel Regnier Briand 17.60 Les Sables D’Olonne
  30. Fuji Ari Känsäkoski OCD40 12.19 RORC/Port Chantereyne Cherbourg
  31. Lynx Wild West Sailing Cian Mulee Reflex38 11.52 SYC
  32. Fujitsu Donal Ryan Sunfast 3600 10.80 RORC 
  33. Snapshot Michael and Richard Evans J99 9.94 HYC
  34. Asgard Ross Farrow Sunfast 3300 9.99 Hamble
  35. KUKA3 Franco Niggeler Cookson 15.20 St. Moritz Sailing Club
  36. Luzern eComm U25 Lorcan Tighe Figaro 3 10.89 RIYC
  37. Jezebel Cris Miles J111 11.0 Conwy
  38. InoXXX James Neville HH42 12.60 RORC
  39. Bellino Rob Craigie Sunfast 3600 10.80 RORC, Hamble
  40. Darkwood Michael Boyd J121 12.19 Royal Irish Yacht Club
  41. Kite Greg Leonard 12.00 RORC
  42. Jackknife Andrew Hall Rod Johnstone 12.50
  43. Pen Duick VI Marie TABARLY André Mauric 22.25 Lorient
  44. Bijou Ian Morton Pogo 30 9.15 Port Bannatyne

That’s the trouble with the modern world. It’s too rigidly set in pre-ordained schedules. Things were a bit more rough and ready in the old days. Back in 1977, Otto Glaser of Howth changed from his McGruer 47 Tritsch-Tratsch II to the Frers 47 Red Rock, which happened to be in Argentina. Not to worry. He arranged her Transatlantic shipment from Buenos Aires as deck cargo on a general freight ship. But then a marathon dock strike in England meant that Red Rock would stay on the ship. Not to worry. Otto got onto the ship’s captain, persuaded him to divert into the Solent, then further persuaded him to activate his ancient derricks to offload Red Rock – cradle and all – off Cowes, where she was taken in tow by Groves & Guttridge’s yard launch and towed slowly into their marina where the whole lot was lifted out again, the mast was stepped, and racing started almost immediately, leading in time to the highlight of Red Rick being the best-placed Irish boat in the Fastnet Race.

KEY CREW PEOPLE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

One can’t see that being done nowadays, ’Ealf ’n Safety would have a fit, so boats miss races. But of the fleet still remaining in the Round Ireland race, perhaps all bets are off, for despite the popularity of recent prediction here by Maritime Mystic Meg, the weather pattern is just all over the place, and it’s going to be the crews as much as the boats which have the stamina to see this thing through to individual success.

Lorcan Tighe of Dun Laoghaire, Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” for September 2017, will be the youngest skipper in the 2022 Round Ireland Race.Lorcan Tighe of Dun Laoghaire, Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” for September 2017, will be the youngest skipper in the 2022 Round Ireland Race.

This puts further pressure in young Lorcan Tighe, our Sailor of the Month in September 2017 after the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 had returned from the Fastnet Race garlanded with awards. The youngest skipper in the Round Ireland, Lorcan is racing the Figaro 3 Lucern. This seems to be the only boat in the race with foils, which in light weather is a very mixed blessing, but it’s the youth factor which gives the extra interest here.

Another factor is previous success, and who is sailing where. Back in 2014, the overall winner was the Scottish-owned Sydney 36 Tanit, with Richie Fearon of Lough Swilly as navigator. Despite having flu to such an extent that he was of his head with anti-biotics throughout the race, Richie persuaded his shipmates to hold to the middle of the Irish Sea in the final stage, and Tanit emerged from the leading bunch to win overall.

Those formidable Fearon talents are being transferred aboard Robert Rendell’s already talent-laden Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (HYC) today (with four-time Olympian Mark Mansfield onboard), and the longer the race in terms of time, the more important they become.

The strong Howth contingent also sees Shane Hughes of North Sails shipping aboard Mike Evans’ notably potent J/99 Snapshot, while his work colleague Maurice the Prof O’Connell is with the Sunfast 3600 YoYo (Brendan Coghlan RStGYC) with Graham Curran.

In times past in a slow race with calms, it was always reckoned that the lowest-rated boats would come out tops. But these days while the heftier boats do indeed come a stop in what seems like total calm, there’s a new generation of ultra-slippy boats which seems to generate their own private breeze, and the Fast 40+ class based in Cowes have showing the way.

What’s to stop her? The HH 42 is designed and built for speed and racing successWhat’s to stop her? The HH 42 is designed and built for speed and racing success.

RORC Commodore James Neville with his Judel-Vrolik HH42 InoXXX (it sounds like a decidedly rough real ale best consumed with a dash of lime) has been successfully pushing the offshore boundaries with this. And when we look at the total package, there seems every likelihood that InoXXX has what it takes to win. The profile is remarkable, while she has one of those extraordinarily effective hulls which lose about half their wetted area just by being heeled 15 degrees.

So all the logic points to InoXXX success. But this is Ireland. Logic is not necessarily our strong suit. So if anyone happens to beat InoXXX overall in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022, it will be a mighty victory.

Wicklow Harbour will be the focal point of sailing in Ireland today.(Above and below) Wicklow Harbour will be the focal point of sailing in Ireland today

Competitors berthed in Wicklow on the eve of the 21st race Photo: Bob BatemanCompetitors berthed in Wicklow on the eve of the 21st race Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Round Ireland, W M Nixon

Round Ireland Yacht Race Live Tracker 2022

Track the progress of the 2022 Wicklow Sailing Club Round Ireland Race fleet on the live tracker above and see all Afloat's Round Ireland Race coverage in one handy link here

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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