Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Round Ireland

The 40th entry to the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race is Ross Farrow’s Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 Asgard from the Hamble.

The milestone was reached this week with just over eight weeks to go to the 700-mile race starting off Wicklow. 

Farrow's entry follows the high-quality entry of Mike and Ritchie Evans Sovereign's Cup Champion J/99 Snapshot from Howth Yacht Club.

As Afloat's WM Nixon reported previously, entries doubled in late March as competitors availed of the early bird entry fee discount and now this week the fleet has hit the big Four O.

But it's not only the quantity of boats assembling off Wicklow on June 18 but also the quality with Mark Emerson's, Archambault A13, Phosphorus II, from the RStGYC also in the lineup.

There are two ex-Volvo Racers, as the gallant warhorse Green Dragon (Conor Ferguson/Enda O Coineen, GBSC/RIYC) will be lining up against Lance Shepherd’s Volvo 70 Telefonica Black. And two ICRA “Boats of the Year” have joined the hunt, with current title-holder Nieulargo (Grand Soleil 40, Denis & Annamarie Murphy, Royal Cork YC) up against, Paul O’Higgins’ well-proven JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (RIYC).

See the current entries here.

Published in Round Ireland
Tagged under

When this year’s SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022 was top of the agenda on Afloat.ie a fortnight ago, it was in the context of Wicklow Sailing Club being in double celebratory mode. They’d already logged 18 high-quality early entries for their great biennial offshore classic, while in the local context, the WSC float entered for the Wicklow & District St Patrick’s Day parade had won the prize for Best in Show.

Yet this past weekend there has been every cause for further celebration in the hospitable harbourside clubhouse, as the expected surge of entries to avail of the Early Bird Discount that ended on March 31st had exceeded expectations. For not only did they more than double to 37 boats, but in terms of “fleet weight” they probably tripled the heft of the total entry list, as the latest entry list includes some serious biggies in addition to several quality entries with proven track records.

There are now two ex-Volvo Racers, as the gallant warhorse Green Dragon (Conor Ferguson/Enda O Coineen, GBSC/RIYC) will be lining up against Lance Shepherd’s Volvo 70 Telefonica Black. And two ICRA “Boats of the Year” have joined the hunt, with current title-holder Nieulargo (Grand Soleil 40, Denis & Annamarie Murphy, Royal Cork YC) up against the 2021 ICRA Champ, Paul O’Higgins’ well-proven JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (RIYC).

Current ICRA “Boat of the Year” Nieulargo from Cork (above, photo Robert Bateman) will be lining up against the 2021 Champion Rockabill VI from Dun Laoghaire (below, photo Afloat.ie/David O’Brien)Current ICRA “Boat of the Year” Nieulargo from Cork (above, photo Robert Bateman) will be lining up against the 2021 Champion Rockabill VI from Dun Laoghaire (below, photo Afloat.ie/David O’Brien)

Time was when Howth YC was such a force in the offshore world that they provided two out of the three boats in the Irish Admiral’s Cup, but that was way back in 1973 in an era when the Howth clubhouse hosted the meeting which led to the creation of ISORA, which this year is celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

However, fleet numbers and fleet weight have been increasing in Howth lately, and those giving the HYC flotilla a bit of beef in this year’s circuit include Robert Rendell’s successful Grand Soleil 44 Samatom and the recently-announced linkup of Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs in the new First 50 Checkmate XX.

The Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (Robert Rendell, HYC) on her way to the class win in the Sovereign’s Trophy 2021 in Kinsale. Photo: Robert BatemanThe Grand Soleil 44 Samatom (Robert Rendell, HYC) on her way to the class win in the Sovereign’s Trophy 2021 in Kinsale. Photo: Robert Bateman

Also of special note is Adrian Lee’s Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners II (RStGYC), a newish but already well-travelled campaigner as she is making her way towards Wicklow from February’s RORC Caribbean 600.

And the Class40 inclusion of the Round Ireland as a designated event in their 2022 programme is indicated by the new listing of Ari Kaensaekoski’s OCD 40 Fuji from Cherbourg, while Ireland’s western challenge is further reinforced by Derek Dillon of Foynes YC making the debut with his newly-acquired Grand Soleil 37 Big Deal, continuing to carry the name of the Dehler 34 with which he completed very many long-distance two-handed races with his son Conor.

Back in the day…..Derek & Conor Dillon in their early days of two-handed campaigning in the Dehler 34 Big Deal. The new Big Deal – entered for the Round Ireland 2022 – is a Grand Soleil 37Back in the day…..Derek & Conor Dillon in their early days of two-handed campaigning in the Dehler 34 Big Deal. The new Big Deal – entered for the Round Ireland 2022 – is a Grand Soleil 37

Published in Round Ireland
Tagged under

The 2021 Fastnet Race winner Sunrise from Plymouth will compete in June's Round Ireland Race adding to the international competition of the 21st edition of Irelands' top offshore race.

Responding to a question from the audience, Sunrise skipper Tom Kneen told ICRA conference delegates in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday he was '95% sure' he would contest the biennial Irish 700-miler in 14 weeks.

The Devon-based skipper said current plans include the Round Ireland and the new Baltic Race this summer.

Round Ireland bound - Sunrise skipper Tom KneenRound Ireland bound - Sunrise skipper Tom Kneen

Kneen was a guest speaker at the National Yacht Club hosted event, where he gave an inspirational but very down-to-earth account of his rise to the top of the International Offshore scene.

Currently the world's most successful offshore racing owner-skipper, Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunshine was RORC Champion in 2020, Fastnet Race winner 2021 and Middle Sea Race winner as well by any standards of reasonable fairness. Either way, she was the highly-acclaimed RORC Boat of the Year in 2021, and already this year, she has kept up the pace by winning her class in the RORC Caribbean 600 in February, so she becomes the boat to beat this June off Wicklow.

Also at Saturday's ICRA Conference was Round Ireland Race organiser Kyran O'Grady, predicting a solid fleet on June 18th. The Irish race is now on the ISORA, UNCL, RORC and Class 40 international calendars. 

Published in Round Ireland
Tagged under

Royal St. George's Chris Power Smith has shown the depth of his Round Ireland Race ambitions by being one of the first entries for June's 2022 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow. 

Having narrowly missed out on the top prize in 2019, the Dun Laoghaire skipper and his corinthian crew are slated to go round again in his impressively campaigned J/122 Aurelia. 

Nine boats have so far availed of Wicklow Sailing Club's early bird offer for the 700-miler that includes double race winner Cavatina, the vintage Granada 39 skippered by Ian Hickey of Royal Cork.

Seven entries thus far are Irish, and two are from the UK since registration opened this week for the Jun 18 race.

Organisers expect a more significant entry than normal (up to 60 boats or more), given the 2021 race was cancelled due to COVID plus the fact that the Wicklow Classic has made the international Class40 calendar.

The prompt Grzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310 More Mischief from Dun Laoghaire Harbour was the first entry in and at just 31-foot overall is likely to be one of the smallest in the fleet.

Early Bird entry closes on Mar 31 2022.

Early Round Ireland Race entries (up to Jan 25 2022)

  1. More Mischief Grzegorz Kalinecki First 310 9.15 ISA
  2. Cavatina Ian Hickey Granada 38 11.60 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  3. Aurelia Chris Power Smith J/122 12.20 RSGYC RORC
  4. Prime Suspect Keith Miller Mills 36 10.97 Kilmore Quay BC
  5. Mojo Kieron Blamey J105 10.51 Isle of Man Yacht Club
  6. Elantic Clarke Allen Elan 40 11.90 Arklow Sailing Club
  7. Blue Oyster Noel Coleman Oyster 37 11.30 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  8. Hiro Maru Hiroshi Nakajima Sparkman & Stephens 15.05 Stamford Yacht Club
  9. Finally Paul Kitteringham Elan 350 10.50 Pwllheli Sailing Club
Published in Round Ireland
Tagged under

Darryl Hughes’ immaculately-restored 1937 43ft Tyrrell gaff ketch Maybird became both the oldest and the first gaff-rigged boat to complete the Round Ireland Race in 2018. 

The historic yacht now moored in Cork Harbour on the Owenabue river is the centrepiece of a new trophy for June's 700-miler from Wicklow that is expected to draw a large entry when entries open on January 24th.

The Hughes’ 43ft ketch originally built by Tyrrell’s of Arklow in 1937 and restored with the owner as Project Manager in a superb two-year job concluded in 2011, got back to Wicklow in 2018 in a time of nine days and 22 hours.

In the workshop at his recently-acquired house in Crosshaven, Hughes crafted the Maybird Mast Trophy from timber salvaged from some of the ketch’s original spars.

As Afloat's WM Nixon previously noted, the resulting trophy will have added meaning in several ways, not least in that it will be a piece of high-quality woodwork which - in its original form - will have been handled by the great Jack Tyrrell himself, a world-renowned shipwright who gave real meaning to the term “hands-on management”.

Published in Round Ireland
Tagged under

Entries open in less than a fortnight for the 2022 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race and there is considerable 'pent up' interest in the biennial ocean race classic that was last sailed in 2018.

Wicklow Sailing Club organisers have given 24th January as the entry opening date and are expecting a strong take up after efforts have been made to promote the race not only in the UK but also in France

As regular readers will know the 2020 race was cancelled due to Covid when it had already attracted over 50 entries and was expecting a final fleet of 80.

Back then, Darren Wright of Howth had chartered the famous Pata Negra for the race. That boat has had considerable success since and is competing this month too, currently competing in the RORC Transatlantic. The new owner of the Lombard 46 is none other than ISORA's Andrew Hall from North Wales, a Round Ireland veteran, who may be very well enter the high peformer for the June 18th circuit.

The 2022 edition is being planned with relevant precautions in place to ensure a safe experience.

"We were anticipating a fleet of close to 80 boats when we had to cancel our 2020 plans," Race Director Kyran O'Grady told Afloat in December. "Now that we are learning how to live with Covid-19, there is pent-up demand on top of a surge of interest in offshore racing, so a strong turn-out is on the cards."

They are not claims made without foundations as The Wicklow race is now one of just 25 world-class offshore fixtures to make it onto the 2022 International Class40 calendar.

The Notice of Race for the June 18 event is here. It sets out the classes to race, the handicap and rating system that will be used and the classes to which it will apply, along with any recent changes to offshore regulations of which there have been some material changes as noted here.

The Irish offshore classic is the second-longest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. Since then, held biennially, the fleet has grown steadily, attracting a record 64 entrants from all over the world.

Published in Round Ireland
Tagged under

With entries scheduled to open on January 24 2022, the first formal document for the 2022 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race has been taken with the publication of the Notice Of Race document (downloadable below) by Wicklow Sailing Club organisers.

The Notice of Race for the June 18 event sets out the classes to race, the handicap and rating system that will be used and the classes to which it will apply, along with any recent changes to offshore regulations of which there have been some material changes as noted here.

The Irish offshore classic is the second-longest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. Since then, held biennially, the fleet has grown steadily, attracting a record 64 entrants from all over the world.

A Mod 70 trimaran competing in the Round Ireland RaceA Mod 70 trimaran competing in the Round Ireland Race Photo: Afloat

There are several classes in IRC in which boats and their crews can compete, including IRC 1 – 4, Z class, ISORA, a 'Two-handed Class' and a Team Prize. The 2016 race saw the introduction of multihulls sailing under MOCRA rules. The 2018 race saw the introduction of a new Class40 category.

In the past, boats competing have ranged from a 98-footer former "round the world" maxi to club boats one third the size, with all sizes in between.

As Afloat reported earlier, an international fleet is eyeing the Round Ireland Race. It has also made the Class40 Calendar thanks to the pioneering efforts of race organiser Kyran O'Grady who has been promoting the race in France.

Published in Round Ireland

While Tom Dolan was bringing joy to Irish sailors by leading the Figaro fleet round the Fastnet Rock, at the other end of the south coast of Ireland it was being proved yet again that getting past the Fastnet is a doddle by comparison with putting Wexford's own Tuskar Rock astern.

And it doesn't get any easier when you're trying to do it in a little Hurley 22, which was designed for comfort as much as speed. Yesterday, we took our leave of Eoin Keyes of Kinsale and Leonie Conway aboard the former's Hurley 22 off the coast of Wicklow, where light and obtuse winds - combined with the strong tides - were making for very uneven progress in their bid to complete the clockwise round Ireland circuit non-stop, and doing it in a significantly small boat in order to highlight the newly-formed Irish Chapter of Sea Shepherd, the global conservation society.

Very sensibly, Eoin had kept their voyage low key until it looked as though they were going to make it, and thus in yesterday's first report we'd to use a stock photo of a standard Hurley 22 in order to come by an image that shows that Moonshine is in fact a distinctly souped-up version, with a robust rigid spray-hood over the companionway, and a bowsprit for the easier handling of a spinnaker of decidedly grown-up size.

Windward work aboard Moonshine at sea, with the added rigid sprayhood making the cockpit an almost cosy place. Photo: Eoin KeyesWindward work aboard Moonshine at sea, with the added rigid sprayhood making the cockpit an almost cosy place. Photo: Eoin Keyes

Meanwhile, we've also been reminded in recent hours of other round Ireland circuits in boats of similar size with varying degrees of stop and go which were achieved in the sometimes very distant past, and often in support of some worthy cause. Be that as it may, we and many others are currently rooting for Moonshine, and you can continue to follow her progress here 

Tagged under

The Round Ireland Sailing Record is a bit like Ireland herself. It's complicated by Partition. It's a case of there being not one but two sets of records, two elephants in two rooms. But for interested parties, the relevant elephant is in the room next door. You may well pretend that the other room doesn't exist. But everyone else knows it does for sure, and the rest of us can see it clearly, complete with your resident pachyderm in situ - big ears, trunk and all.

Thus when Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt set their new Round Ireland Female Two-Handed Sailing Time with the Figaro 3 Iarracht Maigeanta, finishing across the Dun Laoghaire Pierhead-Kish Lighthouse line in the small hours of Saturday, October 17th, the Irish sailing community emerged with shared delight from their pandemic torpor. And here at Afloat.ie we gave a few brief comparisons to show the quality of what they'd achieved while adding that we'd do a more detailed analysis of it all in the fullness of time.

Moonduster in her first season of 1981Moonduster in her first season of 1981. It was her excellent time in the Round Ireland Race of 1984 which was the main inspiration for establishing a recognised Round Ireland Record. Photo: W M Nixon

It was a caveat used advisedly, as you'd never be 100% sure of what's lurking in mountains of data. You'd think there could be nothing more straightforward than recording a time achieved for sailing round Ireland, and setting it in context. But the Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow has had its own set of rules and starting line since its inauguration in 1980, and while it does, of course, have record times, it is relative results from its Wicklow line which are its primary focus.

CONTRASTING SETS OF RECORDS

By contrast, the World Sailing Speed Record Council – established by the International Yacht Racing Union (now World Sailing) in 1972 – has set its Round Ireland Record line as being between the lighthouse on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire and the Kish Lighthouse eight nautical miles away off the mouth of Dublin Bay.

But although the WSSRC came into being into being before the first-ever round Ireland race (which was a one-off three-stager from Ballyholme in 1975), and also clear in advance of the first non-stop Round Ireland from Wicklow in 1980, the WSSRC didn't have any involvement with a Round Ireland Record until 1986.

This arose because, in the 1984 Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, Denis Doyle's Frers 51 Moonduster from Cork had set a then-formidable time of 3 days 16h 15m 25s during which, as navigator John Bourke pithily put it: "We were seeing off an entire Irish county in every watch".

Denis Doyle in the midst of Moonduster's crew in Wicklow after setting the record of 1984. Included in photo are Joxer O'Brien, John Bourke, Neil Love, David Harte, Neil Hegarty, Don McClement, Grattan Riberts and Brendan FogartyDenis Doyle in the midst of Moonduster's crew in Wicklow after setting the record of 1984. Included in photo are Joxer O'Brien, John Bourke, Neil Love, David Harte, Neil Hegarty, Don McClement, Grattan Riberts and Brendan Fogarty

Suddenly it became clear that a Round Ireland Record Challenge Campaign was an attractive publicity-attracting one-week all-in package, particularly if it was taken out of the constraints of a set time for starting from Wicklow in an increasingly crowded race, with a pre-ordained direction in which to make the circuit.

So in May 1986, Robin Knox-Johnston's 60ft Rod MacAlpine-Downie-designed catamaran British Airways arrived into Dublin Bay for the first crack at the straight record – with a largely Irish crew on board - at what would become the WSSRC contest on the Dun Laoghaire-Kish line under the auspices of the National Yacht Club.

Robin Knox-Johnston's 60ft catamaran British Airways heads north from Dublin Bay at the start of a round Ireland record challenge in May 1986 which managed to take 12 hours off Moonduster's 1984 timeRobin Knox-Johnston's 60ft catamaran British Airways heads north from Dublin Bay at the start of a round Ireland record challenge in May 1986 which managed to take 12 hours off Moonduster's 1984 time.

We went off anti-clockwise, and things were looking good until approaching the coast of Kerry, when the wind was settled firmly in the southeast with a lumpy sea, and it seemed to take for ever to get the big machine round to the Fastnet and any easing of sheets, such that though we did beat the Doyler's time, it was only by 12 hours, and the three-day barrier hadn't been broken.

However, during this period of the late 1980s, Dickie Gomes of Strangford Lough was one of the rock stars on both the Round-Ireland-from-Wicklow scene, and also in long-distance international short-handed sailing. He rustled up Peter Phillips with his great big lumbering 80ft catamaran Novanet for a fully-crewed crack at the Round Ireland from a line at the Royal Ulster YC in Belfast Lough.

The 80ft catamaran NovanetThe 80ft catamaran Novanet sailed under several names, but although well capable of high straight-line speeds in strong winds, she'd a limited performance and was sometimes incapable of tacking

It was November 1986 when they finally got going for a circuit through monster gales on the west coast with all the delights of 15 hours darkness every day, their crew including Enda O'Coineen who had also been on British Airways. As they got round in 2 days and 22 hours, they'd broken the three days barrier, any quibbles about a non-WSSRC line were properly blown away, and what looked like a very challenging time for sailing unfettered round Ireland was universally acknowledged and expected to stand for some time.

Novanet's crew in BangorNovanet's crew in Bangor after establishing a new record in November 1986, Dickie Gomes on left.

In fact, it lasted for seven years. But in September 1993 Con Murphy and Cathy Mac Aleavey turned up in Dublin Bay with Steve Fossett, Dave Scully and Brian Thompson with the very zippy 60ft trimaran Lakota, and they broke the two-day barrier with a brilliantly calculated and superbly-executed challenge, and this time it really did look virtually unbeatable with a record of 1d 20hrs 4 minutes 42s.

Meanwhile, all sorts of other special Round Ireland Circuit Times had been established, with the mono-hull record being pushed up by the likes of Lawrie Smith in the Round Ireland Race with the maxi Rothmans doing it in 3 days 12 hours in 1990, while a first single-handed multi-hull time of 4 days and 3 hours had been set in January 1992 by Robin Deasy of Galway in a former Rob James 60ft trimaran.

Lakota takes her high speed departure northwards from Dublin Bay in September 1993.Lakota takes her high-speed departure northwards from Dublin Bay in September 1993

The early 1990s also saw the astonishing Rob Henshall from the north get round alone and unaccompanied on both a Laser and a Bic Sailboard. So clearly with Lakota's superb no-limits record set, it was time to celebrate, and in November 1993 the National Yacht Club, supported by Cork Dry Gin, threw a gala Round Ireland Records Dinner. To it, after hours and days of research, they invited everyone who had ever set a round Ireland sailing time of any significance whatever, in order to create a historical context in which they could come along and celebrate Lakota's outstanding achievement.

And they were all there, including people like the MacLaverty brothers and Mick Clarke who'd been round in 1961 in the 18ft Waverley Class Durward, and James Cahill from Mayo who'd done it with various crews in a 13ft 6 ins dinghy in 1976, and of course Rob Henshall in addition to droves of more orthodox sailors from Ireland-circling mono-hulls and multi-hulls alike.

Lakota's winning crew of (left to right) Con Murphy Cathy Mac Aleavey, the late Steve Fossett, Dave Scully, and Brian ThompsonBack in the olden days, when you could have boisterous celebratory gatherings without social distancing…..the Round Ireland Records Dinner of November 1993 in the National Yacht Club with Lakota's winning crew of (left to right) Con Murphy Cathy Mac Aleavey, the late Steve Fossett, Dave Scully, and Brian Thompson

In these pandemic times, it's difficult to imagine that such raucous and uber-sociable gatherings were a regular part of sailing's winter scene. But such was the case with the 1993 Round Ireland Dinner, and it's as well that so much detailed research had taken place beforehand, for anyone who now claims to clearly remember being at the event simply can't have been there, as it was that kind of party……

The circuits which were celebrated at it were:

Round Ireland Sailing Circuits and Times to 1993:

  • 1864 Olivia (25tons, William Power, Kingstown) Time not known
  • 1889 Aideen (60ft) (Walter Boyd, Howth) Time not known
  • 1896 Brenda (28ft)(F.H. Sinclair, RUYC) 11d 4h 30m 2.63kn
  • 1911 Kelpie (49ft) (Conor O Brien Limerick) Total cruise 2 months, no other details known
  • 1935 Dauntless (37ft) (H.D.E.Barton, Irish CrC) 8d 20h 3.34kn
  • 1961 Durward (K & C MacLaverty & M.Clarke, Carrickfergus SC) 8d16h 3.4kn
  • 1964 Ainmara (36ft) (W.Nixon, J.R.O'Neill & E Wheeler) 6d 2h 50m 4.83 kn
  • 1975 Korsar (34ft) (R.Mollard & R. Watson, RStGYC) 5d 23h 8m 4.95kn
  • 1975 Brian Coad of WHSC began his record of most Round Ireland Races - was BCT winner 1980
  • 1976 Smallest Boat - James Cahill (Mayo) 13ft 6ins open dinghy
  • 1980 Force Tension (J.Morris, SCYC) 5d 15h 2m 57s 5.24kn
  • 1982 Moonduster (D.N.Doyle, RCYC) 4d 3h 45m 25s 7.09kn
  • 1984 Moonduster (D.N.Doyle, RCYC) 3d 16h 15m 43s 8.02kn
  • 1986 British Airways (R.Knox-Johnston, 3d 4h 5m 36s 9.23kn
  • 1986 Novanet (R.Gomes & P.Phillips) 2d 22h 25m16s 10.05kn
  • 1990 Rothmans (Lawrie Smith LTSC) New mono-hull record  3d 12h 56m 06s 8.29kn
  • 1990 Robert Henshall (RNIYC) Laser single-hander
  • 1992 Robert Henshall (RNIYC) Bic Sailboard
  • 1992 (January) Round Ireland Single-handed record Robin Deasy (Galway Bay SC), 60ft trimaran 4d 3h 12m 59 s 7.11kn
  • 1993 Lakota (S.Fossett & D.Scully), 1d 20h 42m 20s 15.84kn

The smallest keelboat to go round Ireland entirely under sail is the MacLaverty brother's 18ft Belfast Lough Waverley Durward, seen here in Sheephaven in DonegalThe smallest keelboat to go round Ireland entirely under sail is the MacLaverty brother's 18ft Belfast Lough Waverley Durward, seen here in Sheephaven in Donegal. Durward's average speed was 3.4 knots. Photo: Kevin MacLaverty

The largest keelboat to go round Ireland entirely under sail is Mike Slade's 100ft ICAP-Leopard The largest keelboat to go round Ireland entirely under sail is Mike Slade's 100ft ICAP-Leopard – she averaged 10.7 knots in 2008

With hindsight, the selection of 1993 as a watershed year was a brilliant choice, as the Lakota record stood for 22 years until it was bested by the MOD70 Musandam Oman (Sidney Gavignet) in 2015. But in the meantime, other new variants on significant sailing round Ireland achievements and times recorded continued to be ratcheted up, and there were two more mono-hull single-handed challenges before the Powers-That-Be made it clear that sailing right round Ireland non-stop single-handed was verging on contravention of sea law.

The two mono-hull loners were both performing in 2005, with Mick Liddy of Dun Laoghaire doing it in a First 40.7 in 5 days and 12 hours, but then before the season was out Michael Kleinjans of Belgium turned up with his Open 40 Roaring Forty, and went round alone in 4d 1h 52m, thereby besting Mick Liddy's time, and also Robin Deasy's multi-hull time by an hour and twenty minutes.

The MOD70 Musadnam Oman in Dublin Bay after her first breaking of the round Ireland record in 2015.The MOD70 Musandam Oman in Dublin Bay after her first breaking of the round Ireland record in 2015.

Meanwhile, the open mono-hull record continued to be pushed up through both the Round Ireland Race and specific challenges by Volvo Racers and former Maxis, producing this set of figures:

  • 1998 Jeep Cherokee (W60) (Colm Barrington, RIYC) 3d 4h 23m 57s 9.22kn
  • 2002 Irish Independent Challenger (83ft Maxi, G.Keegan, S.Fogarty & D Cafferky, HYC) 3d 3h 27m 45sec 9.33kn
  • 2008 Leopard (100ft Maxi) Mike Slade 2d 17h 58m 10.7kn

TWO-HANDED RECORD

There was one possible under-utilised record which had only started to come into focus in 2004, and that was when the Round Ireland Race from Wicklow introduced a two-handed division. But in its first staging in that year, the west coast's Aodhan Fitzgerald & Yannick Lemonnier put in such a crisp time of 4 days 6 hours and 30 minutes in the Figaro 2 DoDingle that for years no subsequent two-handed crew in the Round Ireland Race came anywhere near them, while Aodhan Fitzgerald for his part went on to win the 2008 race overall with the fully-crewed First 40.7 Ireland West.

Meanwhile, a fully-crewed competitor in that 2004 race, France's Jean-Philippe Chomette with the Open 60 Solene, was so taken with the special challenge provided by sailing round Ireland that he was back in 2005, again with a full crew but this time including legendary nautical metman Chris Tibbs who reckons the round Ireland one of the neatest challenges going, and he called the timing on the WSSRC course to such perfection that CityJet Solene went round in 2 days 9 hours and 41 minutes, thereby creating a mono-hull "unbeatable" to match the enduring Lakota multi-hull time.

The Open 60 Cityjet Solene set a new fully-crewed mono-hull record in 2005The Open 60 Cityjet Solene set a new fully-crewed mono-hull record in 2005

The post-2009 recession undoubtedly took its toll on round Ireland sailing challenges of all kinds, but things were coming back to life by 2015 when the Ogden brothers made the first Drascombe Lugger circuit from Baltimore, and then in 2016 there was a Laser circuit by Gary "Ted" Sargent of Howth, a feat repeated in 2018 by Richard Hayes of Galway.

The Ogden brothers return to Baltimore after circling Ireland in their Drascombe Lugger in 2015.The Ogden brothers return to Baltimore after circling Ireland in their Drascombe Lugger in 2015.

This was all part of a new golden era for Round Ireland record-making, as the Round Ireland Race of 2016 saw George David's Rambler 88 push the mono-hull record through the floor to 2d 2h 24m 9s, thereby knocking a clear 7 hours off CityJet Solene's "unbeatable" time from 2005.

eorge David's all-conquering Rambler 88 set the current mono-hull record in the 2016 Round Ireland RaceGeorge David's all-conquering Rambler 88 set the current mono-hull record in the 2016 Round Ireland Race

But everything was happening in 2016, for in 2015 Musandam Oman had taken a small slice off the Lakota multi-hull time, and in 2016 by winning the Round Ireland Race, she took another bit off it in winning a hyper-close three-way MOD70 finish which so frustrated Lloyd Thornburg in Phaedo 3 that in August he came back for another crack at the circuit from the WSSRC line, and succeeded in getting the multi-hull record down to 1d 12h 52m, which has been unchallenged since, and also left us with one of the finest sequences of sailing on the Irish coast, as Phaedo came past the majestic Blaskets, Skelligs and Fastnet on her record-making anti-clockwise second circuit.

With all the jigs and the reels of the excitements of 2015-2016, and with information coming from several sources as to specific times in what and where, when Pam Lee and Cat Hunt established their straightforward time for a female two-handed circuit four weeks ago with their Figaro 3, all we knew for sure was that additional context was added by knowing they'd beaten the two-handed time set by Aodhan Fitzgerald and Yannick Lemonnier way back in 2004.

Michael Kleinjans' Open 40 slices through between two Figaro 2Michael Kleinjans' Open 40 slices through between two Figaro 2s. Aodhan Fitzgerald and Yannick Lemonnier established the first round Ireland two-handed record with a Figaro 2 in 2004.

But a remarkable number of boats have raced and tried record-breaking round Ireland under sail since then, and with the two sets of times being kept by two completely separate organisations, it's not always a cakewalk digging into some of the more obscure times, particularly if you have a computer crash in the middle of the process.

Michael Kleinjans's Open 40 at the start of the 2016 Round Ireland RaceMichael Kleinjans's Open 40 at the start of the 2016 Round Ireland Race, in which he set a new two-handed round Ireland record of 3 days 22 hours and 43 minutes.

Atlantic sailing – Pam lee and Cat Hunt crossing Donegal Bay in Iarracht MaigeantaAtlantic sailing – Pam lee and Cat Hunt crossing Donegal Bay in Iarracht Maigeanta, on their way to a round Ireland two-handed time of 3 days 19 hours and 41 minutes. Photo Irish Air Corps

So there was a feeling there might be something in the midst of all the numbers from 2016 which might give an added perspective, and there it was, hidden in the concentration of the Round Ireland Race's new multi-hull and mono-hull records at the heart of a record fleet.

Spread across all the classes was a two-handed division. And in it were several Class 40s, some sailed two-handed. The winner was Belgium's Michael Kleinjans, possibly still sailing Roaring Forty with which he set the Round Ireland solo record back in 2005, but prosaically called Visit Brussels for the Round Ireland Race 2016.

He had just one shipmate, Ian Wittevrongel, and they won the Class 40s and the overall two-handed division in an elapsed time of 3 days 22 hours 43 minute and 45 seconds. Thus they knocked eight hours off the DoDingle time from 2004. But their time with all the power of an Open 40 under them in 2016 has still been bested by three clear hours in 2020 by Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt with a smaller Figaro 3. 

Round Ireland Two-Handed Record

  • 2004 Yannick Lemonnier/Aodhan Fitzgerald DoDingle (Figaro 2) 4d 6h 30m
  • 2016 Michael Kleinjens/Ian Wittevrongel Class 40 Visit Brussels 3d 22h 43m 45s
  • 2020 Pamela Lee/Catherine Hunt (Greystones, Figaro 3 Iarracht Maigeanta: 3 days 19hrs 41mins 39s
Published in W M Nixon
Tagged under

Female Two-handed Round Ireland Record Day Four 2100hrs: The situation became transformed. It was like the clicking of a switch. Or so it seemed to those on the edge of their seats ashore, as they watched on screen as the Figaro 3 Iarracht Maigenta struggled with little wind against the last of the ebb tide off the Antrim coast at Glenarm. First, there came the breath of a fresher breeze from between southeast and east to bring the boat to life. And then by 1800hrs, the new flood tide was surging them on their way, zapping two-handed crew Pam Lee and Cat Hunt south across Belfast Lough and past Mew Island in jig time, such that they were tearing along the County Down coast with their speed over the ground comfortably into the double digits.

Admittedly the pace slowed a little as they swept past the South Rock at 2000 hrs and began to get away from the most powerful stream of tide. But they'll still have something of it in their favour until St John's Point is abeam, provided the breeze keeps up.

Sailing Magenta Round Ireland Tracker

On the present rate of going, St John's will be there - though well to the west – around 2130, and this is where things start to get extra-interesting. If they can keep up their beam reaching speed around the 8 knots mark through the water, they can then make the classic hop of going from the last of the south-going flood as it peters out east of the entrance to Carlingford Lough, and make the leap across slack water for an hour or so until they then begin to feel the very first of the ebb in the new tidal system where the flood goes north, but the ebb is favourably going south.

It will be doing so with real determination as it accelerates south past Rockabill. As of 2100, Rockabill is still 48 miles away, while the finish line is 63 miles distant. You do the maths. If this good easterly breeze keeps up and they can be hovering between 7 and 8 knots through the water, the four day circuit is a distinct possibility, as to do it they've to be past the Kish by 0745 hrs tomorrow (Saturday) morning, and the current rate of progress allows them a bit of leeway on that.

But as we've seen, the winds today are in a capricious mood, even if a proper southeaster is in the offing. The tension in this project will be maintained right to the end.

Published in Offshore
Page 1 of 23

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating