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Dun Laoghaire's New Ker 46 'Tonnerre de Breskens 3' to Contest Round Ireland Race and IRC Europeans

8th May 2024
The former Tonnerre de Breskens 3 has spent the last number of years racing in the Meditteranean as Tonnerre de Glen but will be Dublin Bay based from June under new Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Pete Smyth
The former Tonnerre de Breskens 3 has spent the last number of years racing in the Meditteranean as Tonnerre de Glen but will be Dublin Bay based from June under new Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Pete Smyth Credit: Gilles Martin Raget/SNIM 2024

Noted Dublin Bay inshore and offshore sailor Pete Smyth of the Royal Irish Yacht Club has purchased the famous Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 which will arrive in Dublin Bay three weeks before its first major event, the 2024 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race.

One of the 'most successful IRC racers of all time', the carbon 2009-built racer will join the Dublin ISORA fleet and also compete in the IRC European Championships at Smyth's home club in September, Afloat has learned.

The boat will be significantly faster than any other current Dublin Bay campaign and, at 45-foot long, is rated as a Cruisers Zero and will be expected to be a leading home nation boat in June's  700-mile Irish classic. 

Tonnerre de Breskens 3 has spent the last number of years racing in the Meditteranean as 'Tonnerre de Glen' but will be remembered best in this country for her 2010 Round Ireland Race victory under the ownership of Dutchman Piet Vroon before going on to multiple RORC wins and to be described as 'one of the most successful IRC racers of all time', winning the RORC overall championship in 2013.

As regular Afloat readers know, former dinghy ace Smyth has campaigned the Sunfast 3600 Searcher for the past few summers, with notable results, including wins in the 2023 NYC Regatta, the 2023 DMYC Kish Race, numerous ISORA races, and strong finishes in the 280-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race.

It is well known among the Searcher crew that sailing with family and friends has a big appeal for Smyth. He sails regularly with his brother Nick, and according to a source, the Searcher/Tonnerre crew is expected to be bolstered by some new additions for the circumnavigation. Among others, Afloat has learned that ex-pat brother Trevor Smyth, who has campaigned TP 52s in Australia, winning the Sydney to Auckland Race, is coming home for the Round Ireland.

Pete Smyth on his way to victory in the 2023 Kish race on Dublin Bay with a crew composed of family and friends on his Sunfast 3600, Searcher Photo: AfloatPete Smyth on his way to victory in the 2023 Kish race on Dublin Bay with a crew composed of family and friends on his Sunfast 3600, Searcher Photo: Afloat

Afloat magazine readers will recall that Pete is one of five Smyth boys who grew up sailing their father's UF0 27 “Fools Gold” out of Howth in the 1980s.

Core crew member, Evan O’Connor will continue in the key boat preparation role for the Smyth boat, the source says. Team

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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

At A Glance – Round Ireland Yacht Race 2024

Race start: Off Wicklow Harbour on Saturday, June 22 2024

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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