Round Ireland Race report
The Fastnet is very other year and the Round Ireland is the same so 2012 is RIR. With a limit of 75 yachts as opposed to the Fastnet‘s 300 it is a smaller affair but at least as serious. Teams have come from Australia, the USA and various European countries whereas we have only sailed from Lymington. The sail round was quite straight forward and our first port of call was Rosslare followed by Arklow. On arrival in Arklow we were soon engaged in conversation by a passer by who extolled the virtues of the new shopping centre at great length in a very broad accent. He spent several minutes explaining we would get everything we could possibly needed there and when he finally paused for breath Greg asked ‘Is there a Chandlery?’ to which the answer was ‘No’.
We sailed on up to Wicklow for the safety check and other formalities before the race and were berthed alongside the wall in the middle of town. It soon became clear that the entrants were a real source of interest and that Wicklow was proud to host the Round Ireland Race. It was also clear that the recession in Somerset is nothing compared with Ireland but the town was still determined that all the social events would proceed.
We had arrived on the Thursday and the race didn’t start until Sunday but the festivities were already underway so we did our best to help stimulate the local economy, well at least the licensed part of it. Surprisingly for a big race preparations on board went smoothly and no last minute repairs were needed so with the arrival of our last team member, Fletch, from Tasmania we could concentrate on the roles we would take during the race.
Before any big race the competitors watch the weather forecasts with almost religious fervour and they all predicted a lack of wind the sea going locals assured us there would be enough and of course they were right. As the noon start drew nearer the whole town went into party mood with pirates, pipe bands, other music and stalls and with 54 frozen individual meals produced by the Grand Hotel now safely on board we set sail.
In light winds and against the tide we came close into the cliffs and spectator boats hurried out of the way, the crowd waved us off and the Wicklow pipe band gave us full volume. Just one plane as opposed to the many helicopters and planes at the start of a Sydney Hobart but so many of the people cheering us on had already spoken to us both on board and in the pub.
The first leg down to Tuskar Rock was straight forward with a few tacks and just the odd wind turbine to miss, then we headed on past Waterford and Cork down to the Fastnet in diminishing visibility. In close proximity with about 10 other yachts we rounded the Fastnet without seeing it and then set off west at up to 8 knots often in less than 50metres of visibility. Yachts came and went out of the fog but one Desert Star was always close. They were just a fraction slower than us and we would keep overtaking them only to find they had gone into a bay to use some local tidal knowledge to get in front again.
After rounding the Skelligs on the SW of Ireland we headed north past the beautiful west coast. Well I know it is beautiful but after more than 100NM under spinnaker we still hadn’t seen it. Then the weather changed, the wind died completely the visibility improved and we beheld Arranmore a rugged Island 600 m high basking in sunshine a couple of miles in front of us.
The wind returned and we were sailing again towards Tory Island. Desert Star was with us again as we started to tack east along the top of Ireland, then they dropped into a bay only to re-appear a mile in front of us and stay there all the way to Rathlin Island. Now things became interesting, it was clear that the tidal information we had was not up to the Admiralties normal standards and we knew that there was a counter current close in to the cliffs on the Island. The wind was dropping all the time and we were in danger of drifting backwards but we could see dessert star a couple of miles ahead going for the spot where we thought the counter current might be. We struggled on sometimes going backwards until we saw a tide line which we managed to cross and suddenly we were doing 2 kts again in the right direction. Just 50m of the shore and the towering cliffs from which the sea birds circled and cried we gybed the spinnaker several times as darkness fell.
Around 2230 I became aware that whilst the spinnaker was still full the and we had apparent boat speed the Speed Over Ground was zero. We could see nothing holding us but after turning Wild Spirit one way then the other it became clear that despite 2 kts of current we were going nowhere. A long rope with weights on was carefully lowered over the stern allowed to sink below the rudder, propeller and keel then drawn forward. Suddenly we were free again although we never saw the line that had held us. A wasted hour but at least we were moving again and in the right direction. We sailed south and the wind rose it never reached gale force but did hit Force 7 which against the tide made the Irish sea a fairly lumpy place. Good conditions for us as Wild Spirit is a heavier more stable yacht than many and we ploughed on eventually overhauling Desert Star again. On the fifth night of the race the wind died again and we struggled to make progress against the tide, then it returned but from the South so we had to tack repeatedly on the last leg. With Wicklow Head in view we became aware that Fastrack VIII a lighter and faster yacht than us was closing on us and with just 5NM to go it would be hard to hold them off.
The last 5 NM took about 2 hours and the team, whilst exhausted were out on the rail in the first sunshine for two days. In the light wind we roll tacked Wild Spirit just like a big dinghy and with a final tack crossed the line about 20 metres in front of them to finish 7th in Class and 23rd overall which included beating Green Dragon a Volvo 70 that had come from Portugal for the race. As we came into the harbour Desert Star who had somehow crept in front again was waiting to cheer us in as were many locals.
There is one place better than Wicklow before the Round Ireland Race and that is Wicklow just after the race. It had taken us just under 6 days to sail a course of over 700NM and we had logged 850 with all the Tacks. Knowing we were amongst friends we celebrated.
We will be there team places from £2500 for the whole seasons campaign
Call 01823 433 813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
|Race training||£195||4||Email Wild Spirit|
Race training weekend
Single event price £195 or only £95 if you have either been on a RYA course with us in 2013 or booked and paid for one in 2014.
|Race Training weekend||£195||5||Email Wild Spirit|
Include in Race package
Single event price £195 or only £95 if you have either been on a RYA course with us in 2013 or booked and paid for one in 2014.
|Race–Nab Tower||£215||4||Email Wild Spirit|
First JOG race of the season on Saturday. Cowes round Nab Tower and back.
£215 if not part of Round Ireland and RTIR team.
|Races to Cherbourg and return–easter||£275||3||Email Wild Spirit|
Race to Cherbourg starting Friday morning. Return race from Cherbourg starts Sunday morning.
Our first offshore race of the season.
Included in Race Team package—£275 as one off.
|Race to Le Havre||£295||5||Email Wild Spirit|
bank holiday weekend
Race to either Le Havre or St Vaast
|Round Eddystone Race||£295||5||Email Wild Spirit|
Meet Friday evening for Saturday start to our first long offshore race of the season
|RORC Race in Channel||£225||4||Email Wild Spirit|
Royal Ocean racing club race in Channel.
£225 as single event or part of race package.
|Round the Island Race||£395||5||Email Wild Spirit|
Round the Island Race–largest in the World–1700+ yachts.
We meet Thursday, practice Friday and race starts early Saturday. back to Lymington after race and finish Sunday morning. Part of Race team package or £395 as single event.
Great fun and a real spectacle but remember half of the contestants really don’t know the rules so we mustn’t take it too seriously. One or 2 Dinners out.
|Trip to Wicklow||£225||5||Email Wild Spirit|
After the Round the Island we are off to Wicklow for the Round Ireland race. It is about 360 NM so we may stop on the way or we might just go for it and have another night or 2 of the best hospitality that we have ever had with a Yacht race.
|Round Ireland Race||£3450||5||Email Wild Spirit|
The Round Ireland Race. Superb Hospitality followed 730 NM of some of the most challenging racing around beautiful coastline, then more hospitality. My favourite Offshore race in the world.The Fastnet and Sydney Hobart are not in the same league as this one.
Only available as part of Race Team package.£3450 includes all races plus training.
£2950 if booked before 1st February 2014.
|Race to Cherbourg||£250||5||Email Wild Spirit|
Race to Cherbourg. Friday evening start so afternoon meet.
|Races to Poole and back||£200||5||Email Wild Spirit|
Meet Friday evening for early Saturday start and race round south of Isle of Wight to good social night in Poole.Sunday race back to Cowes then return to lymington
Part of Race package or £200 as single event–suitable for novice racers.
|Race to Cherbourg||£175||5||Email Wild Spirit|
Our last UK Offshore Race of the season.
|Race round Owers (Selsey Bill)||£150||5||Email Wild Spirit|
Our last inshore race of the season with a good social do afterwards.
Based on current RORC and JOG information. There are some risks with a race campaign, these are the same for all entrants and include:
• Not qualifying – Half the crew must complete 300 miles of RORC racing on the yacht entered in the year before the start or do an agreed qualifying passage. Normally this is not a major risk.
• Not enough crew members complete the ISAF requirements or other supplementary requirements of the RORC –unlikely as I am an ISAF instructor.
• Crew changes. If members of crew leave due to new jobs etc it is possible we would not qualify—we lost 1 in 2009 when he cut off a finger during DIY at home.
• Yacht problems—it could happen that there is a major problem with a Yacht and RORC do not agree the proposed substitution—in the past they have accepted similar replacement yachts, but insurance can be an issue.
We attempt to reduce all these risks but it is only fair we point them out. In the event of not qualifying despite all reasonable efforts then we would look at alternative races or sailing. One advantage we do have is that unlike some companies we are not tight for time due to other charter commitments, this means we can go for ‘temporary discontinuance’ to hide from storms and then start racing again—in 2009 Fastnet of the 20% of entrants who completed the race a number used this. We also used it, but when the predicted length of the gales grew, then we just cruised instead of continuing the race in severe gales.
We do stage payments—but once committed to the team we do expect continuation because of the need for the crew to qualify for the Round Ireland Race, this includes financial continuation as well although we would do our best to find a replacement. The company (Paul Jackson Consulting and Sailing Ltd) will take all reasonable steps to mitigate risks but will not be held responsible for those remaining. It must also be understood that yacht racing has some inherent dangers and personal insurance is recommended. Wherever possible when a problem arises alternatives will be offered e.g. if for some reason we do not race or drop out due to Gales etc then the crew will be consulted and we will make the best of the time available on board.
Safety Gear, all on board food (good standard), all entry fees, fuel, and marina fees etc.
What’s not? Meals and drinks ashore and supplementary courses if needed (e.g. ISAF, 1st aid) although I will try and arrange them at cost if required. (We may not need any or rather than come down to Lymington for them they may be available at a local College or centre.)
Instalments for full race team package.
• Initial is £500
• Second instalment is £1000 by 21/4/13
• Final £1000 by 21/6/13
Payment by Cheque or transfer to Paul Jackson Consulting and Sailing Ltd, Alliance and Leicester Sort Code 720005
Acc No 17952688
with your name as reference.
Small print—There isn’t any—it is all in the above—if you can’t trust the people you go yacht racing with you are on the wrong boat.
Paul Jackson Consulting and Sailing Ltd is my Company (Co No 5044340), as well as Sailing it provides Assessment / Consultancy services to the NHS, Local Government and other Organisations. It has no borrowings, is in good financial state and has always made the statutory returns. You can access some of these via Companies House website if you wish. Our VAT No. is 826 9640 96
Sails — We have a fully battened Main and furling Genoa custom built using Vektron for Wild Spirit by Sanders Sails. For 2012 we also have a new laminate Genoa and Code Zero We have 3 spinnakers, tri-sail, storm and heavy weather jibs.
Wild Spirit is a Jeanneau 40 Sun Odyssey. She is stable (RORC Cat 1—enough for races such as Fastnet, Cowes to Gibraltar or Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) and reasonably fast. She has completed two Fastnets and a circumnavigation of Britain and Ireland. We race, but it would be wrong to describe us as an all out racing team–more a unique blend of experience and immaturity. We eat well and enjoy life; we try and come in the top half.
The 2011 UK based season is now over and our cumulative results for the Royal Ocean Racing Club are 14th out of 114 in class 4 and, for 2010, 5th out of 67 in class 3 and in JOG 6th out of 41.
I am the Skipper and owner but everyone gets to helm and we share tasks. We came 91st out of 300+ for the 2011 Fastnet and completed the 2009 one but had rigging problems despite (or because of) having the rig ‘professionally ‘ checked just before the start. In the 2007 Fastnet, like 80% of the entrants we did not finish due to severe weather. After 100 miles, when it was clear we were going to have to sail into a force 9 for a long time, we retreated to Cherbourg then to St Vaast and sampled the restaurants. We are a masthead sloop with furling Genoa and therefore don’t sail quite as close to the wind as a fractional rig, but on a beam reach we get our own back. For 2012 we have a new Genoa and Code Zero.
Our choice of races reflects our strengths; we go for those where the course is simple, and not those set round marks cunningly placed to require beating against wind and tide. As well as our Sanders sails made specifically for us, we have 3 spinnakers, heavy weather plus storm jibs and try sail.
‘A happier crew would be hard to find’ ..’Paul setting us up nicely for a blast down the Alderney race with the tide’…..‘Paul still smiling after a long exhausting weekend’. – Sailing Today Nov 2005
Feel free to call me on 01823 433813 to answer questions or give some honest advice. If we are not the right team for you I may know the one which is.
Team at 15th February 2012
Paul—Skipper—YM Ocean—RORC member—RYA and ISAF Instructor, with over 58,000NM miles including 6000+ Cat 1 racing and 5000 other racing.
Andy Palmer—No 2 in 2011 team and part of Sydney Hobart team and with me as part of winning Lord Howe Island team (only Cat 1 Ocean race run annually in Australia.)
Stuart (Shelf) Walker—Has raced on WS, seriously fit triathlon athlete.
Bruce Garrod—Has raced on WS, lots of Dinghy and some Americas cup yacht experience.
Pam Cox—Wild Spirit regular who has also raced round the World.