Arriving back into Cork Harbour today, Nicholas O'Leary's IMOCA 60 has had a Winter make–over and looking very much more Irish than when she last sailed these shores as the former Great American IV.
Sporting some prominent 'Ireland.com' decals, the logo of Tourism Ireland, this is the agency responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a holiday destination.
As Afloat.ie readers will be aware, Ireland Ocean Racing, the team behind rookie Nicholas O'Leary's 2020 Vendee Globe Challenge, first sailed into Dun Laoghaire last November, with the IMOCA 60 racing yacht.
The 'new' boat for O'Leary is the former Great American IV, an Owen Clarke designed boat from 2006 aboard which Dominique Wavre took part twice in the Vendée Globe (retired in 2008/2009, 7th in 2012/2013). This 60-footer has clocked up an impressive number of miles. She has taken part in two Barcelona World Races, the double-handed round the world race and one Route du Rhum.
Bought by the American solo sailor Rich Wilson in 2013, the boat underwent an important refit in late 2014-early 2015 after being struck by lightning.
For his debut Vendée Globe, the young Irish skipper has a boat which has shown herself to be reliable if he intends doing the race in her or just using her for a training boat. Aboard this very same boat, Dominique Wavre completed the race in 90 days in 2013.
As the boat arrived into port this afternoon. Ireland Ocean Racing tweeted: Check out our new look! "A great summer of sailing and events lined up#ior2020, #tourismireland, #irelandoceanracing, #seafest"
Listen to ‘Nin’ O’Leary on the podcast from last August here and to Stewart Hosford, CEO of ‘Ireland Ocean Racing,’ formally launched in Cork to “increase the profile of competitive Irish ocean sailing and racing, inspire a new generation of competitors and deliver future Irish champions in the sport.”