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  • Southside

‘James Bond’ boat to feature in yacht race

Tuesday, 29th May, 2018 1:00pm
‘James Bond’ boat to feature in yacht race

There will be a huge flotilla taking part in the Race series this year.

‘James Bond’ boat to feature in yacht race

There will be a huge flotilla taking part in the Race series this year.

A WIDE field of international entries from the United States, Finland, Norway, France as well as Irish and British crews are among the 54 now lined up for the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018 that was launched in Dun Laoghaire last week.

Additional enquiries are still being handled by the Wicklow Sailing Club organisers although the 2016 record entry of 69 boats is unlikely to be matched this year.

 In spite of the rugged 704 nautical-mile course facing the crews on June 30, a touch of glamour will be featured as Stephen O’Flaherty’s Soufriere, the elegant yacht from the James Bond movie Casino Royale, is also entered.

And Richard Loftus’s classic Swan 65 Desperado of Cowes will be the largest boat racing this year.

 Several entries feature crews from sailing schools around the coast, many of whom are new recruits to the sport or fulfilling ‘bucket-list’ ambitions. The launch gathering heard from Elizabeth Birdthistle, who sailed around Ireland in 2016 as one of a crew of 10 such newcomers, and she likened the race to the Camino de Santiago or a Mount Everest ascent.

 “It was a very personal journey and I learnt about life doing it – it’s almost like a rite of passage for people who love the sea,” she told the audience gathered at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. “The Round Ireland is the Wild Atlantic Way.”

 Also in the audience were a number of previous winners including former Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Commodore Michael Boyd from Co  Meath, who won the race in 1996 and will be racing again this year. 

 “This is a very attractive race for RORC sailors, not just because it’s an attractive course but it also earns bonus points in our annual series,” Boyd said.

“And we are delighted to see so many overseas entries for 2018.

“Every race is different and you never know until you’re back in the clubhouse just how you’ve done - there are very few double-winners.”

 One such winner is Peter Wilson who won the 1994 race on Bridgestone and returned to win on Colm Barrington’s 1998 entry Jeep Cherokee.

He shared memories of the highs and lows of the unique course with the audience.

 “The highs would be going up the West coast of Ireland in 40 knots of wind for 200 miles in 1994, a sleigh-ride that will stick in mind for the rest of my life,” he said.

“Wind or rather, the lack of it, was a low point in 1996 on Bootlegger and losing the race after getting becalmed for five hours off Greystones and obliged to anchor to stem the flood tide within sight of the finish.”

 Another past race winner will also be making a return to the Volvo Round Ireland Race next month.

Justin Slattery from Carrickfergus was the navigator on Eamon Crosbie’s Calyx Voice & Data, the Ker 32-footer than won the race in 2004.

He will be amongst a pro line-up for Niall Dowling on Baraka GP, one of the candidates for this year’s overall race win.

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