The Round Ireland Race with its new sponsor Conway Media is now well under way with the lead boat of Cork Week Patron, Piet Vroon, at time of writing somewhere off the Kerry coast.
Unfortunately the owner is not on board as it is reported he was not well at the at the weekend and could not sail. We all wish him a speedy recovery. His Tonnerre de Breskens a Ker 46 built in 2009 looked absolutely lethal, despite the light winds, as she took off from the start line. Our own Cavatina is currently leading IRC 3 and is the lowest rated boat in the fleet and is bidding for a third win of the event. Again at time of writing the leading boat on corrected time is Bernard Guoy’s Inis Mor a Ker 39 and a near sister of Anthony O’Leary’s Antix and a contestant for Cork Week.
The fleet looked magniificent in the glorious sunshine heading on track for Wicklow Head and the organisers must be very satisifed with the public turnout in Wicklow to enjoy all the festivities that had been laid on. It is believed 10,000 people descended on Wicklow and having been there for the start on Sunday I could believe that. The atmosphere was amazing with the response from the public something that I have said before I have never witnessed at any other race start. Where would one get a start where the huge crowd went wild as the start went into sequence, clapping and cheering at the first gun, and went wild altogether when the start got under way. This was immediately followed by a superb display from a stunt pilot whose performance in his aeroplane had to be seen to be believed and again had the crowd cheering and clapping at every daring manoeuvere and when he finally flew down and wiggled his wings to say goodbye the applause was thunderous.
All in all a truly splendiferous occasion and many congratulations are due to Wicklow Sailing Club and the Race Organiser, Denis Noonan.
Start Images HERE