WSC Round Ireland Yacht Race 2012
Thursday May 10th.
It only happens every other year and this June Wicklow Sailing Club is delighted to announce that it will host and organise one of Europe’s major yacht racing events. The Round Ireland Yacht Race 2012, which starts in Wicklow Harbour on 24th June, is being held for the 17th time since the biennial, non-stop, 705 mile circumnavigation of our island started in 1980. The Round Ireland Yacht Race is run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the largest yacht racing organisation in the world. The RORC include the Round Ireland Yacht Race as one of the premier challenges in their calendar of seventeen international races this year.
Twenty five starters, to-date, have confirmed entry with anticipation high for further additions before the closing date for entries on the 8th June.
Entries to the race received so far are impressive and will certainly stimulate the interests of the sailing fraternity. The inclusion of Adrian Lees’ Cookson 50, which has an impeccable record of international achievement will present an interesting challenge in the big boat division while the involvement of Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy's, Noonmark VI , a Swan 56 with a crew of top drawer racing legends, should add further excitement to the event on the water.
In the class 1 entries, one to watch will be Piet Vroon, in Tonnerre de Breskens3 from Holland, who has dominated the RORC racing calendar from Fastnet to the Caribbean and is making a welcome return to Wicklow Sailing Club. Round Ireland would also like to welcome Dan Walsh, from the USA, together with six of his fellow sailors from the American Yacht Club of New York, who have chartered the yacht, Fujifilm, which will sail under the name of "Team Wild Goose", a Class 40 which also comes with an international racing pedigree.
Having left Howth a few years ago, Cracklin’ Rosie is now returning under the helm of Londoner, Steven Anderson while the intrepid ladies, Kristeen Donaldson and Judith Eastwood, have entered their yacht PYXIS in the gruelling two-handed class. While on the subject of the ladies keep an eye on Allie Smith aboard Visit Malta Puma who won her class in the 2010 race and is determined to take the trophy back home again.
The west of Ireland is well represented with Inis Mor from Clifden BC, and NUI Galway from Galway University Sailing Club while Cork and Dun Laoghaire have lately shown a stronger interest. Of local Wicklow interest is the return this year of club member, Brian Flahive, to the two handed class in LC Tyres Lulabelle to be sailed under the WSC burgee.
Approximately half of the yachts entered in the Round Ireland Yacht Race are RORC racers based in England and include entries from the RAF and the Army Sailing Clubs. Boats from Scotland, Wales and Guernsey will also join the fleet in Wicklow. All in all a formidable entry of top rated racers, even at this early date.
“To win the Round Ireland Yacht Race, your crew have to race consistently well, all day and all night, every day; given the challenging Irish coastline, it is not an easy course. Three thousand miles for open seas to build up before they hit you on the West coast can be daunting. I have no illusions, winning against good opposition is never easy but it makes racing the Round Ireland Yacht Race all the more rewarding” said Theo Phelan, Race Organiser for the Round Ireland 2012 Yacht Race.
The calibre of the yachts entering this race is a clear indication of the status in which the Round Ireland Yacht Race is held by the yachting world. It is a credit to Wicklow Sailing Club that, in the absence of any sponsor for the event, they have still managed to attract such a significant racing fleet to our shores and it is a testament to the ability of a small club to promote positive activity and achieve recognition, on an international level, for their town.