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Tidal Gates of Northern Coasts are Now Dominant as Kuka3 and Rockabill VI Hold Round Ireland on-Water and Handicap Leads

21st June 2022
Paul O’Higgins’ Rockabill VI – currently making the turn at Tory Island while registering a respectable 6.9 knots – is narrowly leading overall on Corrected Time
Paul O’Higgins’ Rockabill VI – currently making the turn at Tory Island while registering a respectable 6.9 knots – is narrowly leading overall on Corrected Time Credit: Afloat

Round Ireland Race Day Four (Tuesday) 0830 hours: When the on-water leader, the Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka3 (Franco Niggeler), came past Rathlin Island at 03:00 hrs this morning, her crew knew that they had barely two hours of tide still in their favour at this most notorious of the Round Ireland Race’s tidal gates, and that as they made southing into the North Channel along the impressive Antrim coast, they’d be sailing into an area of much lighter breezes than the moderate westerly they’d enjoyed through the night along the North Coast.

The Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka3 (Franco Niggeler) left in a downwind duel with the now retired INO XXX (James Neville) in Saturday's Round Ireland race start Photo: AfloatThe Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka3 (Franco Niggeler) pictured right in a downwind duel with the now retired INO XXX (James Neville) in Saturday's Round Ireland race start Photo: Bob Bateman

And so it has come to pass. At 0800 hrs Kuka3 was making barely 2 knots off Red Bay, knowing that it will be 1100hrs before the tide shows signs of turning in their favour. But meanwhile, the Volvo 70 Green Dragon (Enda O Coineen & Conor Ferguson), which had been all of 30 miles astern west of Donegal, has been taking full advantage of Kuka’s inevitable stop and has closed up to just 12 miles astern, making a slightly better speed of 5 knots off Fair Head, though steadily slowing to 1.5 knots as she got more completely into the condition which has brought Kuka to an effective halt.

Volvo 70 Green Dragon (Enda O Coineen & Conor Ferguson) Photo: Bob BatemanVolvo 70 Green Dragon (Enda O Coineen & Conor Ferguson) Photo: Bob Bateman

With light winds, the turn of the tide may not see a dramatic change in progress over the remaining 140 miles to the finish at Wicklow. But all is relative in these conditions, and the full surge of the new south-going flood in the North Channel may encourage some local breezes to liven up the sailing.

Michael Boyd’s J121 DarkwoodMichael Boyd’s J121 Darkwood

Meanwhile astern, only the leading Class40 Kite (Greg Leonard, USA) has managed to get past Inishtrahull in the westerly wind, and having tacked to lee in towards the coast, they are now off Lough Foyle and managing to make 5.8 knots over the ground as the ebb continues to pour westward.

Eagle Island off the County Mayo coast shrouded in mist as seen by the crew of the Sunfast 3600 Yoyo on the evening of day three of the 2022 Round Ireland Race Photo: Maurice O'ConnellEagle Island off the County Mayo coast shrouded in mist as seen by the crew of the Sunfast 3600 Yoyo on the evening of day three of the 2022 Round Ireland Race Photo: Maurice O'Connell

The two leading “normal” IRC boats, Michael Boyd’s J121 Darkwood and Robert Rendell’s Grand Soleil 44 Samatom are still west of Malin Head and due north of the Lough Swilly, with Darkwood leading Samatom on the water while being second on IRC Overall, where Paul O’Higgins’ Rockabill VI – currently making the turn at Tory Island while registering a respectable 6.9 knots – is narrowly leading overall on Corrected Time.

All details and Race Tracker below

Published in Round Ireland

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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