All but 5 boats into Kinsale…

All but the last five boats of the Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race have arrived here now and are enjoying the summer sunshine of Ireland.

The Race started from Plymouth Sound at noon on Sunday, also in sunshine with a light breeze. Since then the competitors have experienced a mixed bag of wind and weather. The easy beam reach out to the Eddystone Lighthouse allowed them all to settle in well, with the eight multihulls and nine Class 40 monohulls quickly drawing ahead to establish the pecking order of the 56 boat fleet.

Yachts in Kinsale

The remainder of Sunday was spent hard on the freshening westerly wind, forging south-westward along the coast of Cornwall. Indications from the trackers showed some of the fleet moving away from the direct track to the Lizard Point instead of pushing up hard to maintain the direct route. These were later to regret their plan of action which was laid to catch the first of the gathering southerly wind. In the event, the wind died down as the evening wore on and the whole fleet almost wallowed in the calm between the Lizard and Lands End. By the time the long-forecast southerlies filled, there was no great advantage for those who had hung south. Their adversaries nearer to the Scilly Isles turned easily to starboard and flew off to Ireland.

What followed turned out to be a glorious sleigh-ride to the north-west, complete with Demolition Derby as one by one the spinnakers rolled into the water. Fortunately, as the wind and rain swept over the Celtic Sea all our intrepid sailors stayed onboard, and only bits and pieces of equipment were lost to the sea. The Sailmakers and Chandelers of Kinsale have enjoyed something of a field day !
Wind held up well for the early leaders who made it to the Irish Coast before sundown, but not so for the majority of the fleet who struggled to arrive in dying coastal winds.

Yachts moored in Kinsale

Berthing Masters were up all night finding places for all in the arrivals, all weary, sunburned and delighted to be in Euroland where the Murphy’s Stout flows from taps on every corner. Some continued to enjoy the sailing, staying out all night for a second time, and gradually creeping to the welcoming shores beside the Old Head of Kinsale. Now we have completed about 15% of the total circumnavigation of Britain and Ireland. There will be a lot of stories to tell in the days ahead.

Peter Taylor, Race Director.