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Day one 1815hrs: If you want to cut a dash in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016, make sure your boat’s a silver bullet writes W M Nixon. The two grey flyers – Eric de Turckheim’s A13 Teasing Machine from France and George David’s Rambler 88 from the US – emerged as the true stars of a ferociously close start in which other boats seemed to have done marginally better, but turned out to have been OCS.

And as of 1815hrs this Saturday evening, they have been powering ahead to such good effect that the lead in IRC Overall has been bouncing between the two of them.

The hoped-for fair winds for the early stages had faded before the start, and it has been hard on the wind or beating all the way since the fleet set out at 1300hrs from Wicklow, with Teasing Machine and Rambler being in the right place at the start, spot on the committee vessel LE Aisling as the signal went. Quite how the mighty Rambler found her way through the maze of smaller craft is anyone’s guess, but George David’s top people gave a master-class in making a start with things getting difficult as the ebb was already running south with full vigour.

Inevitably the MOD 70s with their later start have since taken up the lead on the water, and they are now well past the Tuskar and feeling less adverse effect from the new flood tide making northwards, with Concise 10 marginally in the lead. But Rambler – having passed the Tuskar – has started making knots again after a sticky period in towards Carnsore Point.

As for Teasing Machine, having worked out a lead on most of the rest of the fleet, she took the gamble of seeking less strong adverse tides by heading inside the Wexford Banks through the sandy channels just south of Cahore Point, and at 1815 was making 4.8 knots over the ground very close inshore off Blackwater village. Two miles astern of Teasing, Michal Kleinjans in the Open 40 Visit Brussels, aka Roaring Forty 2, has used the same inshore tactic, and he leads IRC 0, which would be fine and dandy were it not for the fact that it underlines what a remarkable performance Teasing Machine is registering.

A completely different offshore tactic has been adopted by defending 2014 winning navigator Richie Fernie aboard Alan Hannon’s Reichel-Pugh 45 Katsu, he’s as far south as Teasing Machine, but well out in the open to the eastward ten miles offshore, making 4.5 knots over the ground, and lying 4th in IRC I.

IMG 1188

However, it’s in the body of the fleet that we find the third placed boat in IRC overall, it’s Dave Cullen’s J/109 Euro Car Parks, (above) and despite the adverse tide she was logging 5.5 knots over the ground, very good going in the circumstances.

The wind outlook is for moderate headwinds along the south coast through the night, with the sou’westers starting to pipe up seriously around noon tomorrow.

See Round Ireland tracker here and keep to up to date with the fleet's progress with Afloat's regular Round Ireland 2016 updates here

Published in Round Ireland
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Hello and welcome aboard this week’s edition of your maritime programme Seascapes ... we have music from Starboard Home and an exclusive wide ranging interview with the Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company – Eamonn O’ Reilly on the life of the port and its ongoing development ………….……we have music from Andy Irvine who headlines this weekend’s Fastnet Maritime and Folk Festival in Ballydehob in West Cork as Molgoggers head for the Falmouth Festival we wish them fair sailing ….……..more on that competition where you can propose a youngster for a Sail Training Bursary this Summer courtesy of Sail Training Ireland and Seascapes ; we congratulate Royal Ulster Yacht Club on their 150th Anniversary with the celebrations starting this weekend …….first this week as the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race vessels and crews gather in Wicklow Sailing Club. David Branigan went along for Seascapes to Dun Laoghaire this week to have a word with record holder Brian Thompson, first we hear from Justin Slattery.....

David Branigan talking there to Justin Slattery and Brian Thompson ..the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race begins this weekend from Wicklow Sailing Club ..we’ll have a full report on next Friday's edition of Seascapes …

Further north on the East coast …………… Greystones Sailing Club will officially open its new premises this Sunday when Minister Simon Harris will perform the official opening………. The Club, originally established in 1968, caters for over 350 members and is very much a family club, rooted in the Greystones community. Initially sailing was confined to Mirror dinghies launched from a rubber mat rolled out on the shingle on North Beach with boats transported to and from the harbour on the tops of cars. The old clubhouse was built in the early 1970’s and has continued to be a part of the Greystones community since then. Now with the opening of the new facility, the club boasts over 100 dinghy’s and 20 keelboats and has one of the strongest junior sections of any club along the East Coast and is set to grow.

This weekend one of our great musical troubadours and treasures plays the Fastnet Maritime and Folk Festival Ballydehob here is the man himself Andy Irvine with this classic “Banks of Newfoundland” taken from his album Abocurragh…..

Next here on Seascapes to Dublin Port Company where we recently met up with the Chief Executive Eamonn O'Reilly and talked about the current dredging of Dublin bay to facilitate the expansion of the Alexandra Basin Container Ferry and Cruise Liner traffic and his perspective on spoil being dumped at the Burford Bank and the Starboard Home Concert in the National Concert Hall as part of the 2016 Commemorations which is on next Wednesday and Thursday…….

Finally Seascapes talked with Eamonn O Reilly about the port’s dredging spoil which is deposited on The Burford Bank in Dublin Bay since the beginning of the last century……

Eamonn O Reilly Chief Executive of Dublin Port we’ll hear more about the brand new Dublin Port Company Seafarers Centre which houses the Mission to Seafarers and Stella Maris and we’ll also be talking to Dermot Desmond Ships visitor for the Mission to Seafarers…..if you are attending the Starboard Home concert we hope to see you there also they’ve added an extra night on Thursday next …. tickets on sale now

Starboard Home Features new works by Paul Noonan, James Vincent McMorrow, Cathy Davey, Duke Special, Gemma Hayes, Jape, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Lisa O’Neill, Declan O’Rourke, John Sheahan Paul Cleary and novelist Caitriona Lally.

Royal Ulster Yacht Club are celebrating their 150th anniversary
The first event of the 150th Anniversary celebrations for the Club will take place this weekend ……………The Randox Health Sigma 33 UK & Irish National Championships has attracted twenty boats from throughout the UK and Ireland. From Lough Swilly to Waterford, from the Clyde to Falmouth taking in Liverpool and the Isle of Man on the way. The visitors will join the local boats for three days of racing on the open waters of Belfast Lough.

On next Saturday 25th June there is to be an Anniversary Sail Past of all the competing boats and visitors from the other Club in Belfast Lough. This should be quite a sight with the old and the new processing past the RUYC Clubhouse along with . The Sail Past will commence at 12.00 midday and will be followed by the Club’s Annual Regatta supported by Templeton Robinson.

The fortnight of celebrations concludes on Friday 1st July with a gala dinner. The RUYC acknowledge the support of Ards and North Down Borough Council in running these special events.

“Well that’s all folks for this weekon the sound desk this week Niall O Sullivan ………….. next Friday night here on your maritime programme Seascapes we meet some Sail Training Ireland sail trainees aboard the brig “Morgenster” in Cork and Waterford and hear about their experiences at sea we talk to the Captain of the vessel Harry Muster and speak with the Chairman of Sail Training Ireland Seamus McLoughlin ………………….. we’ll have music from Fairport Convention with “A Sailor’s Life” and a report from the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race ….plus we visit the Seafarers Centre in the heart of Dublin Port all that and much more until next Friday night tight lines and fair sailing.”

Marcus Connaughton


Published in Seascapes

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues this weekend with the longest race of the thirteen race series, the Volvo Round Ireland Race. A record 64 yachts have entered with teams from ten different countries: Belgium, Finland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Oman, Switzerland and United States of America.

The 704 nautical mile race has a simple course; Leave Ireland and all its islands, excluding Rockall, to starboard. However in reality the race has a complexity of wind angles, tides and a real taste of ocean sailing along the hauntingly beautiful west coast of Ireland. The first official non-stop race around Ireland was held in 1980.

The 2016 edition will be the first for multihulls and three MOD70s are up for the challenge. The course record was set by one of them, Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, blasted around the course last year, in 40 hours 51 minutes and 57 seconds, reaching reported speeds of 38 knots off the west coast. For the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland Race, Musandam-Oman Sail will be racing against Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3, co-skippered by Brian Thompson and Tony Lawson's Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield.

MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail will be skippered by Sidney Gavignet. (Oman Sail)

We see this as the most important race of our season. We do not know how we will get on against the other two but we really want to finish ahead of them both! They have done a lot of sailing this year and from the Myth of Malham, I’d say that Team Concise are sharp and we understand that Phaedo has had a complete refit with new sails. But we know from when we set a new Round Ireland world record last year that this is a difficult course. We want to retain that record because achieving it meant so much to us and we were very happy to hear that the Round Ireland race has attracted the largest ever entry this year with teams motivated to beat our record. It feels like there’s been a renewal which makes us even more determined to win.” - Sidney Gavignet, Skipper Musandam-Oman Sail.

George David's American Maxi Rambler 88. (RORC/Tim Wright)

Hot favourite for Monohull Line Honours is RORC Member George David's American Maxi Rambler 88. Given the right conditions Rambler 88 could set a new race record. Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard set the current race record in 2008. Dominated by gale force winds, Slade's Maxi finished the race in just under two days and 18 hours. For the 2016 edition, Rambler 88 sailed all the way from Palma, Mallorca just to take part.

When we first started to put the schedule together for Ramble 88, this race was there because of the appreciation and hospitality shown to George David and the crew, especially during the incident with the capsize of Rambler 100 in 2011. This will be the first time Rambler has done the race but I was on board Colm Barrington's Jeep Cherokee in 1998 when we broke the record that had stood for twenty years and we had a fantastic welcome from the Wicklow Sailing Club. Rambler 88 could beat the current record but we will need the right conditions. It looks like a pretty light start but we should be really flying along the west coast, possibly mid to high 20s and surfing into the 30s, we are all looking forward to that. Rambler will be able to stretch its legs up the western coast, with true Atlantic offshore conditions, and the boat loves that stuff. Well done to the RORC for the help they have given to the Wicklow Sailing Club, I am sure we will have a great race.” - Mick Harvey, Project Manager Rambler 88.

RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd will be taking part in his sixth Round Ireland Race on First 44.7, Lisa. (RORC/Rick Tomlinson)

RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd has chartered Nick Jones' First 44.7 Lisa for the race. The pair know each other well, having raced in the RORC Two-Handed Class against each other. However, they have joined forces for the 2016 RORC Season's Points Championship and currently Lisa is winning IRC One and is placed fourth overall.

I am delighted that there has been fantastic co-operation between RORC, Wicklow Sailing Club and the Royal Irish Yacht Club, which as helped to generate a record entry and some wonderful boats for the race, such as the three MOD70s and Rambler 88, but also a wonderful mix of boats from various countries that have been persuaded to come and do the race. This is my sixth race and the twentieth anniversary of winning on the J/35 Big Ears in 1996. Three of the Big Ears crew will be on Lisa for the race but not PJ Kennedy, who passed away a few years ago, but he will be with us in spirit. The magic of the course is a big draw for me and it is wonderful to see so many Irish sailors will also be joined by people from around the world.” - RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd.

Liam Coyne's First 36.7 Lula Belle in the IRC Two Handed Class with fellow Irishman Brian Flahive. (RORC)

This will be Liam Coyne's third Round Ireland Race, RORC Member Liam will be racing First 36.7 Lula Belle in the IRC Two Handed Class with fellow Irishman Brian Flahive. The pair won the Two-Handed Class in the brutal 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

We might be slightly slower than the MOD70s but we will be doing our best to catch them! For us the first big battle is getting around Tuskar Rock. The race starts two hours after high tide, so we will not make Tuskar before the tide will turn and the wind at the start looks very light. There is loads of wind showing on the West Coat after Saturday, getting there will be the problem, after that we should have loads of breeze to get us around to the top of the course. If we do well around Tuskar we could get round in about four days, it could be a day longer if we don't.

I have raced all over the world but for me this is the best race of the lot, and not just because I am Irish. It is such a dramatic coast line, you have West Cork, Kerry, the North of Ireland, Giant's Causeway, Rathlin Island and many more spectacular views. The circular course means that you have all the different points of sail with a lot of work on the boat making the sail changes, you don't often get that sort of action on a race like the Fastnet and for me that makes this race far more challenging, especially Two Handed.

On top of that, you have the two tidal gates to contend with, there is Tuskar Rock near the start and up in the north I have seen five knots of tide just past Rathlin Island. The tidal gate up there can give a chance to the smaller boats, as you can catch up with the faster boats if the tide turns in your favour. For me a special point in the race will be when we pass Eagle Island off County Mayo, where I come from. I will be thinking of my mother's cooking and the time when my old man used to send me out to sell tyres. He told me that if I can sell tyres to the people of West Mayo, you can sell them anywhere in the world!” -  Liam Coyne, skipper Lula Belle.

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Three Multi-One-Design (MOD) 70s, and the maxi-yacht Rambler 88 have added extra spice to a record-breaking 64-boat Volvo Round Ireland fleet that starts the 700-mile offshore race tomorrow at 1pm from Wicklow as David O'Brien writes in the Irish Times sailing column this morning. Although predictions of a summer solstice record are being made, if any such time is to fall then the record-breaker, and that includes holder Musandam-Oman Sail, must be back off Wicklow Head within one day, 16 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds, or approximately 5am on Monday. It’s a tall order even for the fastest sailing boats in the world. Read more here

See the final entry list from Wicklow below: 

Entry NoBoat NameEntrant/SkipperBoat TypeSail NoTCCClubYear of buildCLASS
1XanaduSimon CostainX-50GBR905R1.147RAFYC RORC20081
2MojitoPeter Dunlop & Vicky CoxJ/109GBR9047R1.010Pwllheli S.C.20083
3BamConor FogertySunfast 3600IRL14711.047Howth Yacht Club20152
4Groupe 5Carpentier PatriceSunfast 3200FRA 384830.995SN La Trinite Sur Mer20124, 6
5LynxIrish National Sailing & Powerboat SchoolReflec 38IRL 73861.044Irish National SC19993
6AureliaChris & Patanne Power SmithJ122IRL359501.077Royal St George YC20082
7PyxisKirsteen DonaldsonX332GBR5963T0.956RORC19974, 6
8Polished Manx2Kuba SzymanskiBeneteau First 40.7GBR 7003 T1.029Douglas Bay Yacht Club20013, 6
9Wild SpiritPaul Jackson (LYC Sea School)Jeanneau 40GBR8799T0.981RORC, JOG19994
10Quid non?Nigel PhilpottSwan 40 (92)GBR7384T1.005Royal Navy Sailing Assoc.20016
11Arthur LogicSailing LogicBeneteau First 40GBR 7408R1.070RORC20143
12Pegasus of NorthumberlandRoss HobsonOpen50GBR715R1.501RORC2003CK - 6
13MaybirdDarryl HughesGaff KetchGBR 644R0.904Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club19375
14HeimatauTom McLuskieFarrier F36GBR708M0.000Port Edgar Yacht Club2000M
15LisaMichael BoydFirst 44.7GBR4947R1.101Royal Irish YC / RORC20051
16Wakey WakeyRoger SmithJ109GBR5909R1.015Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club20083
17Rockabill VIPaul O'HigginsJPK 10.80IRL108001.046Royal Irish YC20162
18ArcsineKathy ClaydonArcona 370GBR8643T1.009Weymouth Sailing Club20043, 6
19Euro Car ParksDavid CullenJ109 (Storm)IRL11411.016Howth Yacht Club20093
20Change of CourseKeith GibbsC & C 115GBR9070R1.031Channel Sailing Club20053
21BellinoRob CraigeSunfast 3600GBR 3657 L1.039RORC20143, 6
22RamblerGeorge DavidJuan K canting keel USA255551.827New York Yacht Club2014CK
23AndanteKeith MillerYamaha 36 cIRL3750.947Kilmoer Quay SC19825
24May Contain NutsKevin RolfeRogers Whitbread 30GBR90300.995Cardiff Bay Yacht Club19963
25SarabandeRob MablySwan 47GBR 12381.051Royal Cornwall YC19773, 5
26FujiAri KänsäkoskiClass 40 CC40GBR 381.220RORC2007C40
27MasaiBen KornerClass 40 Pogo S21091.258Team Masai20111
28Fulmar FeverRobert MarchantWesterly FulmarFR14 0.879Waterford Harbour SC19804, 5
29Lula BelleLiam Coyne & Brian FlahiveFirst 36.7IRL 36070.992Wicklow Sailing Club20054, 6
30Hissy FitSimon BakerDazcat 1495GBR 788M0.000Saltash Saling Club2015M
31Port of GalwayMartin Breen / Nigel MossDehler 37CruisingIRL 56870.952Galway Bay Sailing Club19974, 6
32IOS Desert StarRonan O Siochru Jeanneau Sunfast 37IRL 13970.970Irish Offshore Sailing20024
33KatsuAlan HannonReichel-PughRP451.241RORC20111
34AlbireoDavid A SimpsonSwan 371 IRL 34350.939Royal Irish YC19824
35J TaimeChristopher Dowd PalmerJ109GBR6709R1.011RORC20063
36Musandam - OmanSailSandrine PelletierMOD70OMA 070.000AL Mouj - Muscat2012M50+
37Concise 10Tony LawsonMOD 70GBR 700.000RORC2012M50+
38Pipedreamer VIPaul SuttonDufour 40GBR 2271L1.016Holyhead Sailing Club20033
39Just Plain KrazyIan KnightJPK 1010GBR3789L1.008Royal Western20153, 6
40Teasing MachineTeasing MachineA13FRA 387571.169SRR20141
41BigDealDerek & Conor Dillon Dehler novaIRL 34920.922Foynes YC19924, 6
42FortissimoDream or Two Sailing LtdClass 40 - Akilaria RC1GBR 971.257Portchester Sailing Club20081, C40
43Desperado of Cowes Richard Loftus Swan 65GBR16651.112RORC19771
44DenebolaAlain PonceletMount Gay 30 modifiedBEL12651.010Royal North Sea YC20083, 6
45PersistanceJerry CollinsSigma 38 2.08IRL 82370.978Royal St George YC19904
46CavatinaIan HickeyGranada 38IRL38610.928Royal Cork YC19794, 5
47Colombre XLMassimo JurisClass 40 Pogo S2FRA 1010.000Compagnia Della Vela Venezia (CDV Venezia)20111, 6
48SuenosRupert KiddDazcat 1195GBR741M0.000Royal Western Yacht Club2010M
49Bare NecessitiesBruce SutherlandDazcat 1150GBR 725 M0.000Saltash Sailing Club2009M
50AjaxPaul MacroJ109GBR 6908R1.009Royal Armoured Corps YC20063
51Roaring Forty2Roaring Forty2class 40 kiwi fcBEl 1071.304Royal YC Belgium /Royal Belgium SC2011Z
52Phaedo^3Lloyd ThornburgMOD70030.000New York Yacht Club2011M50+
53Medicare First Aid Joe Conway Beneteau First 40 FRA398861.096Royal Irish YC20112
54AdeliePeter HallBeneteau First 34.7IRL 96310.987National Yacht Club20064
55CrackajackPhilip QuinnBeneteau First 40.7GBR7664T1.048Strangford Lugh YC20013, 6
56Lambay RulesStephen QuinnJ97Irl 99700.971Howth Yacht Club20094
57Applegreen Sail for KidsStephen MullaneyBeneteau First 375IRL79630.947Howth Yacht Club19874, 5
58Dear PrudenceBarry LyonsJ109IRL 10951.004Royal Irish YC20053
59Concise 8 Team Concise Class 401290.000RORC 2013C40
60Concise 2Team Concise Class 40 931.291RORC2010C40
61Tan ItRobert FloateSydney 36GBR 731T1.051Isle of Man Yacht Club19982
62PalpatineDoug InnesProvina 42 SportGBR907R1.098RORC20061
63Team FujitsuTeam FujutsuJ111GBR 8191R1.093Army Sailing Association20142
64SpailpinLouis MulloyFirst 31.7000.000Mayo Sailing Club20004, 6
64TrilogicTrilogic Offshore RacingMulti 50FRA051.489Trilogic Offshore Sailing2003M
Published in Round Ireland
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Ireland's only multihull entry in the 2016 Round Ireland Race is skippered by Dun Laoghaire sailor Hugo Karlsson-Smythe and crewed by Bowen Ormsby. The Trilogic is a record setting Multi 50 Trimaran and pulled into Wicklow Harbour for Saturday's race after an 1800 mile shake down trip from Gran Canaria.

After this first ocean race on the Tri, Hugo's long term objective is the single handed Route du Rhum transatlantic race 2018.

Having bought the boat in April this year Hugo has been busy recommissioning her and getting her back into racing spec. The trip up from Las Palmas gave him the opportunity to shake her down a little however, but he was 'hampered somewhat' as the sail wardrobe was not complete.


The Trilogic is a record setting Multi 50 Trimaran

Hugo told 'At the moment we are just getting used to sailing fast and recalibrating ourselves to a new normal, 10 kts now feels slow, a pause for coffee at 16kts is comfortable and 25kts feels like we are just getting going!'

'The Round Ireland is the perfect opportunity for us to get a better feel for the boat in a competitive environment before we move to France later this year for an optimization program to prepare the boat for the challenge ahead, he said. You can follow Trilogic at

Published in Round Ireland

Round Ireland Race competitor Phaedo3 came through Dalkey Sound under full sail this morning, touching speeds of 17–knots. The MOD70 skippered by American Lloyd Thornburg was on a training for Saturday's Volvo Round Ireland race start off Wicklow Head. Scroll down for 30–second video clip.

Onboard for Phaedo3's race is Justin Slattery, a Cork offshore sailor who is a double winner of the Volvo Ocean Race. Also onboard the giant trimaran is British sailor Brian Thompson, the first Briton to break the Round the World sailing record twice. He is also the first to sail non stop around the world four times.

Published in Round Ireland

Round Ireland Race J/109 crew consisting of six national champions from three classes from last weekend's ICRA championships at Howth Yacht Club is setting its sights high for Saturday's race start.

The well known Howth based J/109 Storm has been chartered for the 700–mile circumnavigation and rebadged as 'Euro Car Parks'. The entry is skippered by ICRA class two champion Dave Cullen from the half–tonner Checkmate V.

Cullen's crew line up is: Mark Mansfield (currently at the Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes), Maurice O’Connell, John Murphy, Eddie Bourke, Aidan Beggan, Franz Rotschild and Gary Murphy. 

As a further boost to race hopes, last night Cullen's campaign announced Windward Hotels as a 'major sponsor'.

Windward Management is one of Ireland's leading hotel operators owning and managing hotels both in here and abroad. The company has just completed the purchase of the Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel.

Euro Car Parks joins a fleet of 65 boats, nearly double the 2014 entry, for Saturday's Round Ireland start off Wicklow at 1pm.

Published in Round Ireland

There’s a problem with the Round Ireland sailing record if you’re hoping to set a new one in the Volvo Round Ireland Race when it starts from Wicklow at 1300hrs this Saturday, June 18th writes W M Nixon.

The problem is set by that very specific date and that time. It in turn has been set for a long time now, two years and more. But the absolute unlimited round Ireland has become refined to such an extent that you have to allow flexibility and a very broad window of time in which to make your start, and within that arc of time you wait for conditions to come just right.

Yet even then, as all your ducks of wind and weather come into the required neat row, it could well be that a few minutes either way in actually getting the record challenge on track may ultimately make a difference. It has become as sophisticated as that.

However, when it’s a matter of the gun firing and the race going off at a pre-ordained time, while it’s the same for everyone, equally the possibility of a new record – other than for the race itself – is very much in the lap of the Gods.

Yet it was the 704-mile Round Ireland Race which first began serious interest in an open record time. After Denis Doyle with the great Moonduster – a Frers 51 – set an astonishing time of 3 days 16hrs 15mins and 43 seconds in the race of 1984, it became open season for an open record.

People inevitably speculated what might be done, going for it exactly when you wanted when wind expectations were optimised, and going with a multi-hull too. But if anything, the times initially recorded served only to emphasise what an astonishing achievement The Doyler with The Duster had made in 1984. Yet within a decade, a new plateau had been reached when Steve Fossett, with the 60–ft trimaran Lakota, enticed to Ireland by Con Murphy and Cathy MacAleavey who crewed with him, rocketed round in 1 day 20 hours 42 minutes and 20 seconds in September 1993.


Lakota departs Dublin Bay on her record challenge in September 1993

That open record stood for 22 years – it was only finally bested by Sidney Gavignet with the MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail in May 2015 with a time of 1 day 16 hours 51 minutes and 57 seconds. The fact that the MOD 70’s crew didn’t come anywhere near knocking the ten hours they’d expected off the Lakota record tells us what a fantastic performance it had been in the first place, but equally it means that it’s unlikely that anyone will be trying to better Musandam’s time any time soon, unless the wind and weather chips fall exactly the right way during a Volvo Round Ireland Race.

Oman sail MOD 70 3
The MOD 70 Musandam-Oman off the Irish coast for her successful record challenge in May 2015

But with Saturday currently forecast to see light nor’easterlies giving way to fresher sou’westers, while conditions aren’t entirely unfavourable, they could be much better. Everyone will have to take it as it comes, knowing that for a speedy round Ireland you need either nor’westers or sou’easters, not too much, not too little, and holding up well. It’s a big ask.

However, we’ve plenty of other stats to be going along with, as the Volvo Round Ireland Race will almost certainly see a Race Course Record for multi-hulls established, for although a little cruising catamaran went off with the original pre-RORC fleet from Wicklow in the first race of 1980, nobody seems too sure that she even finished, and if she did, she certainly wasn’t first.

But as the race developed its own mythology over the year, its own record elapsed times became interesting. That said, it took a long time to do better than Moonduster, but Lawrie Smith finally managed it in 1990 with the 83–ft Maxi Rothmans, shaving the Doyler’s time downwards by just three hours to set a time of 3d 12h 56m 06seconds.

Rothmans Maxi 4
The 83ft–Rothmans (Lawrie Smith) finally shaved a bit off Denis Doyle’s monohull record time of 1984 during the Round Ireland Race of 1990

Interestingly enough, Gordon Maguire was aboard Rothmans when she set that time in 1990, and he was aboard Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard when she set what is still the current course record of 2d 17h 48m 47s.

But there was another course record in between those two times, in 1998 when Colm Barrington raced round Ireland with the Whitbread 60 Jeep Cherokee, and did it in a time of 3 days 4 hours 23 minutes and 53 seconds.

When we remember that the Barrington time with a 60-footer was sandwiched between the times of an 83-footer and a 100-footer, it gives the Jeep Cherokee record an added lustre. But this Saturday, the MOD 70s and the likes of Rambler 88 will know that they have to be looking at a time of less than 2 days and 17 hours if they’re going to be making any sort of a dent in Leopard’s record.

ICAP leopard 5
Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard currently holds the course record for the Volvo Round Ireland Race after taking line honurs in 2008

And for those looking for fresh records to conquer, you can forget about the single-handed record of 4 days 1 hour and 52 minutes established by Michel Kleinjans of Belgium in the Open 40 Roaring Forty in October 2005, for if you tried to do the same, you’d probably get arrested, as ambitious single-handed sailing is officially frowned upon in Irish waters. But there is a growing area of interest, the two-handed record, so we’ll watch what this year’s race serves up in that department.

However, as for the open mono-hull record independent of the race, here again we have the same kind of time, in its way, as was set in 1993 by Lakota. It was in 2006 that the fully-crewed Open 60 Cityjet/Solene (Jean-Philippe Chomette) went round in 2 days 9 hours and 41 minutes, and even the mighty Leopard in 2008 took eight hours longer than that.

Solune 6
CityJet/Solene established an very impressive unrestricted monohull record in 2006. Photo: David O’Brien

CityJet/Solene had ace meteorologist Chris Tibbs calling the strategic and tactical shots, and he got it so right that it has an unbeatable look about it, but then they used to say the same about the Lakota figure. Be that as it may, here’s a shortened tabulation of sorts, and it all starts from Moonduster’s performance of 1984, the Great Mother of All Round Ireland records.

Round Ireland Race Record times:

1984 Moonduster (D. Doyle, RCYC) 3d 16hrs 15mins 43s.

1990 Rothmans (L Smith, LTSC) 3d 12hrs 56mins 06s

1998 Jeep Cherokee (C. Barrington, RIYC) 3d 4h 23m 57s

2008 Leopard (M Slade, RORC) 2d 17h 48m 47s

Round Ireland Open Record Times

1984 Moonduster (D Doyle, RCYC) 3d 16h 15mins 43s

1986 British Airways (R Knox-Johnston) 3d 4h 5m 36s

1986 Novanet (R Gomes, RUYC) 2d 22h 25m 16s

1993 Lakota (S Fossett) 1d 20h 42m 20s

2015 Musandam-Oman Sail (S Gavignet) 1d 16h 51m 57s

Round Ireland Monohull Record Times

1984 Moonduster (D Doyle, RCYC) 3d 16h 15m 43s

1990 Rothmans (L Smith, LTSC) 3d 12h 56m 06s

1998 Jeep Cherokee (C Barrington, RIYC) 3d 4h 23m 57s

2005 CityJet/Solene (Jean-Philippe Chomette) 2d 9h 41m

Published in Round Ireland

Damian Foxall and Oman Sail’s crew on the Sultanate of Oman’s giant trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail are determined to fly the flag for Oman (and Foxall's home county Kerry) in Wicklow Sailing Club's Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race this Saturday by beating the two other Multi70s and defending their Round Ireland world record.

When the race starts in Wicklow on Saturday, Sidney Gavignet’s team will have their sights on defeating Phaedo 3 and Concise 10, the two other 70–foot trimarans competing for honours.

Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 has on board some Irish talent too. Double Volvo Ocean Race winner Justin Slattery is on board. Also on Phaedo3 is the UK's Brian Thompson, one of the most famous sailors in the world. He was the first Briton to break the Round the World sailing record twice. He was also the first to sail non stop around the world 4 times.

Despite a win over Team Concise in the recent Myth of Malham Race, they will have to pull out all the stops to achieve their aim, according to Gavignet, but after some intensive preparations, they were savoring the opportunity to compete.

“We see this as the most important race of our season,” said skipper Gavignet who will share helming duties with Omani Fahad Al Hasni and Irish offshore heavyweight Foxall over the two to three-day challenge.

“We do not know how we will get on against the other two but we really want to finish ahead of them both! They have done a lot of sailing this year and from the Myth of Malham, I’d say that Team Concise are sharp and we understand that Phaedo has had a complete refit with new 3D sails.

“But we know from when we set a new Round Ireland world record last year that this is a difficult course.

“We want to retain that record because achieving it meant so much to us and we were very happy to hear that the Round Ireland race has attracted the largest ever entry this year with teams motivated to beat our record. It feels like there’s been a renewal which makes us even more determined to win.”

The 704nm race clockwise round the Emerald Isle, as it is known, is a mix of coastal and offshore challenges so French navigator Jean Luc Nelias will have his work cut out while everyone is prepared for heavy weather along the way.

“Ideally it will not be too bad on the west coast - we do not want to be hammered by a massive low,” said Al Hasni.

“And if we could pick a breeze, we would go for fast reaching conditions because we are difficult to beat in that mode. We have good boat speed on Musandam-Oman Sail and a good crew especially with Sidney and Damian who seem to be able to put on extra knots!”

Gavignet will leave it until Friday when the team assembles in Wicklow for final training to announce his six strong crew for the race but his options will include debutant Raad Al Hadi, the 95kg powerhouse known as ‘Thunder’, after he participates in delivering Musandam-Oman Sail from Lorient to Wicklow.

Also available are Yasser Al Rahbi and Sami Al Shukaili who were on board for the record-breaking voyage in 2015 when Musandam-Oman Sail smashed the Round Ireland record completing the course in 40 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds, slicing four hours off a record that had stood for 22 years.

All have been in France competing in the J80 class at Normandy Race Week which has helped with refining boat handling skills and building on a strong team spirit in preparation for the Round Ireland Race and also for the 2016 Transat Quebec-St Malo race across the Atlantic in July.

Published in Round Ireland

Some of the world's top offshore sailors in some of the world's top racing machines from both monohull and multihull disciplines are heading for the Irish east coast this week in advance of Saturday's Volvo Round Ireland Race off Wicklow.

Over half of the fleet are gathering in Dun Laoghaire harbour this week to avail of Wicklow Sailing Club's new tie–in with the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the facitlities of the town marina. 33 boats will prepare for the 700–mile cricumavigation at Dun Laoghaire but not even Ireland's biggest deep–water marina can host the biggest yacht in the fleet. The world's fastest monohull, the supermaxi Rambler 88, will use a mooring in the outer harbour for reasons of depth. The George David skippered super–yacht is expected to be the star of the 2016–fleet.

Wicklow Sailing Club will host an eve–of–race fleet recepton at the Royal Irish Yacht fleet reception on Thursday when it is understood most of the fleet will be in–harbour. Some yachts have already arrived. The world record breaking Phaedo 3 trimaran, skippered by Lloyd Thornburg, has already been spotted out on training runs on Dublin Bay last Saturday. Also in port is the oldest boat in the fleet, the 1936 Maybird skippered gaff–ketch that will race in class five. Katsu, a Reichel-Pugh design, has been entered in class one by Alan Hannon of the RORC and she is alongside at the RIYC. One of two Concise Class 40 Class 40 yachts are on the marina along with the Phaedo3 tri.

Early arrivals for Round Ireland 2016

Katsu round ireland Katsu, a Reichel-Pugh, at the RIYC slipway, has been entered in Class 1 by Alan Hannon of the RORC. Scroll down the page to see some of the other early arrivals

class40 concise

UK Class 40 Team Concise entry at Dun Laoghaire marina

Maybird ketch

Darryl Hughes's Maybird, a 1936 Gaff Ketch racing in Class 5 at Dun Laoghaire Marina 

Phaedo3 round ireland

Phaedo 3, a MOD70 entry in the multihull class has been practising on Dublin Bay

rambler88 arrives

Supermaxi Rambler 88 arrives in Dun Laoghaire late on Monday evening

round Ireland dunlaoghaire

Half of Wicklow Sailing Club's 65-boat Round Ireland fleet will be in Dun Laoghaire harbour by Thursday for the pre–race reception at the RIYC clubhouse. 

Page 9 of 22

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