Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Round Ireland Race Preview

J/109 offshore cruising racing sailboat off Ireland (Wicklow, Ireland)- To date, 35 yachts from France, England, Wales, the Isle of Man and of course the host country are set to compete in the 18th Round Ireland Yacht Race. Approximately half the boats are from Ireland and the remainder from further afield. This reflects the trend in recent races. The Round Ireland is scheduled to start at 2.00 pm on Saturday 28th June.

The Round Ireland Yacht Race is one of the classic middle distance offshore yacht races of the world and over the years, the challenging, interesting and beautiful race course has attracted world-class sailors and their boats.  The event is Ireland’s premier offshore sailing race and is held every two years by Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The 704nm race was first held in 1980 and still retains the original course; “leave Ireland and all its islands, excluding Rockall, to starboard.”  With a long range forecast for relatively light winds, one hopes it doesn’t become another “Bermuda 2014 (the new longest version ever)!”

All J’s entered are likely in IRC Class 3.  The last time around in 2012, the J/109s and J/105 swept class honors, taking four of the top five!  Hoping to repeat that remarkable feat are three 35 footers.  The two J/109s competing include MOJITO, sailed by the team of Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox from Pwllheli Sailing Club.  The other is RUTH, led by offshore veteran Liam Shanahan from National YC.  Depending on weather conditions, particularly reaching and surfing, the J/105 JET DREAM skippered by Philip Bourke from Yacht Club de Roscoff could well be a factor for a class win.   For more Round Ireland sailing information