The nation’s first offshore racing entity, 'Ireland Ocean Racing', made its Dublin landfall last night at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire to announce its 2020 Vendée Globe campaign to an RIYC gathering.
Only 100 people have sailed single handed non-stop around the world and no Irish sailors have yet completed the Vendée Globe event but if Royal Cork's Nicholas O'Leary has his way, he'll be the first, the sailing crowd at the RIYC heard last night.
The club was buzzing with sailors as a world record turnout of Water Wags was achieved during the Captain's Prize race staged at the RIYC.
As Afloat.ie has previously reported, leading Irish sailor 'Nin' O’Leary will skipper the Irish entry and he aims to be the first Irish sailor to complete this exciting and incredibly arduous sporting challenge.
His boat for the campaign, Hugo Boss sped across Dublin Bay yesterday afternoon with both Alex Thomson and O'Leary onboard. More Dublin Bay sails are planned to day and tomorrow.
Having shown Cork what the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss can do, and even scored a photo op with the Durcan brothers, Nin O’Leary sailed into Dun Laoghaire yesterday morning on a mission that could define his Vendée Globe campaign. Speaking to Tom MacSweeney, he tells of his dream to race a “Formula 1” yacht in 2020, adding “I’m a very competitive guy”. But can he win his first battle to sup from the small sponsorship pot? That, admits team manager Stewart Hosford, is the €3million question. Listen to the full interview here.
Nin has competed across a range of sailing and racing events from an early age and has raced with his father, Anthony O’Leary, and brothers, Olympic sailor Peter O’Leary and Irish Champion sailor Robert O’Leary, to many victories. His achievements include winning the prestigious All Ireland ‘Champion of Champions’ an unprecedented three times, as well as being part of the Yes! Racing team.
Nin added his thoughts on his recent announcements:
“This is an important day for Irish offshore sailing and for me personally to lead the first Ireland Ocean Racing project . The campaign over the next 4 years building up to the Vendée Globe offers sponsors and investors a perfect partnership platform including branding, hospitality and dramatic content. I have just completed the Fastnet race with co-skipper Alex Thomson and now the real work starts in order to achieve the biggest challenge of all – the 2020 Vendée Globe.