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Round Ireland Race 2022 Tests Crews’ Patience and Persistence As They Struggle Towards The Finish

22nd June 2022
Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot (HYC) has been hanging in like a limpet to maintain her IRC lead
Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot (HYC) has been hanging in like a limpet to maintain her IRC lead Credit: Afloat

Round Ireland Race Day Five (Wednesday) 1500 hrs - Time was when most crews thought they’d had a crisp and efficient Round Ireland Race if they were finished by the Thursday evening. But George David’s sensational circuit with Rambler 88 in 2016 seems to have changed everyone’s perceptions and expectations in an enduring way, and people start getting restless if somebody isn’t back across the Wicklow finishing line by Tuesday morning.

Yet here we are, well into Wednesday afternoon, but there’s no finisher yet, and over much of the course between Malin Head and the finish, the seas are so windless and flat, with the skies so monochrome grey, that exhausted sailors are losing their bearings - and their sense of what is up and down - to such an extent that there’s talk of this all being a trial run for the Ending of Days.

The scene from the race course just below Belfast Lough off the Skulmartin rocksWhich way is up? In the ultra light airs it is hard to know which is sky and which is sea! This shot from the Round Ireland race course was taken just below Belfast Lough off the Skulmartin rocks

As it is, today at various times we’ve seen both the leader on the water and the IRC overall leader lose steerage way to such an extent that they were pointed in exactly the opposite direction to that intended.

It happened first to the IRC leader SL Energies, the French J/11I, to the southeast of the entrance to Strangford Lough, and an hour or so ago it happened to line honours leader Kuka3 off Greystones, just 10.5 miles from the finish and already in the disagreeable position of battling an adverse tide until around 19:00 hrs this evening.

But meanwhile, other boats have been taking full advantage of private zephyrs, and back in the North Channel Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot (HYC) has been hanging in like a limpet to maintain her IRC lead, with SL Energies on the go again to lie second, while Rockabill VI (Paul O’Higgins RIYC) is staying well in touch in third.

And there are of course intriguing inter-boat races all down the line, with few as fascinating as the match between the Class40s Kite and Infuence which – after going their separate and sometimes eccentric ways at earlier stages of the race – have now come together again to be neck and neck as they make best use of the south to the southeast breeze which can currently be found in the big bight in Ireland’s East Coast between Howth Head and St John’s Point.

Race Tracker & Data below. Live Dublin Bay webcams here

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


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