Irish Perform in Rolex Fastnet

Irish Perform in Rolex Fastnet

Five Irish Teams Complete Rolex Fastnet

Five Irish teams completed the incredible Rolex Fastnet Race. The fleet departed from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, raced past the Needles Channel and along the southern coastline of England and down the English Channel, rounding Land’s End, across the Celtic Sea and round the Fastnet Rock, returning back via the Isles of Scilly before finishing at Cherbourg.

How did they do out there?

  • Ronan O’Siochru and Irish Offshore Sailing’s Fast 37, Desert Star, came 13th IRC Overall and 2nd in IRC4
  • RL Sailing Kenneth Rumball in their Figaro 3 – came in 3rd Figaro 3
  • Denis Murphy and Annamarie Fegan’s Nieulargo Grand Soleil 40 – came 133rd IRC Overall and 38th in IRC3
  • Michael O'Donnell and Darkwood, J/12 – came 88th IRC Overall
  • Keith Miller Yamaha 36 Andante – came 143rd IRC Overall

The event saw an exceptional performance by Irish Offshore Sailing training team on Desert Star, skippered by Ronan O’Siochru, achieving 2nd place in the IRC4 small boat class. The sailing school team had only sailed together in one race previously and gelled well together in the competition. Described as the “surprise runner-up” in the Rolex Fastnet newsfeed, Ronan said “We can hardly believe it. The sailing school is based in Dun Laoghaire and we have been running our big offshore campaign for the last 11 years. We bought a really old boat from Sunsail and just really rejigged it over the last 10 years and learned how to race her and to perform under IRC. The team have never raced offshore before this campaign, but we have been training pretty hard over five weekends and we took part in the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, winning our class last June”.

Five Figaro 3s started the race, but the strong 35 knot wind against tide conditions put two out of the competition, leaving three to compete. Kenny Rumball and Pam Lee of RL Sailing kept a 20 minute lead ahead as they rounded the Fastnet Rock and played a clever card when ducking down under Guernsey to make the most of the Alderney Race. RL Sailing were first over the line, but later it was found they had unintentionally entered a prohibited zone under the race rules and were given a 10% penalty, dropping them to last place in the trio. 

The penalty was automatically attributed by the Yellow Brick GPS tracker, which differed from the onboard gps. The team took this to redress in front of a 5 man international committee. Their grounds for redress were that the boat GPS track showed them going outside the TSS - the co-ordinates of which were checked. The skipper of the 2nd Figaro very graciously joined us as a witness to second our argument and oppose the penalty, but they did not win the redress. It was one GPS against another, the Yellow Brick won.

Winners of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, Nieulargo, was a family affair with the Murphy Fagan family and crew. Watching the tracker was nail-biting stuff as the tide dragged them back at one stage. Annamarie, Mollie and xxx set a fantastic example of women truly taking the helm and Irish Sailing are looking forward to working with them at the 2021 Women at the Helm in Royal Cork Yacht Club 18th and 19th September.

Full results HERE

You can relive the race  from start to prize-giving, thanks to the Rolex Fastnet photos from the event on the RORC Photo Gallery.


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