Cotter sets new course record in Dún Laoghaire to Dingle Race
Windfall takes line honours, beating Cotter’s record set in 2009 on Whisper by seconds
Michael Cotter’s 94-foot Windfall alongside Paul O’Higgins’s 36-foot Rockabill VI. Windfall has won line honours and set a new course record in the Dún Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Photograph: David O’Brien
Michael Cotter in his 93-foot yacht Windfall took line honours and set a new course record on Thursday evening by 24 seconds in the Volvo Dún Laoghaire to Dingle Race.
Cotter and his maxi crew crossed the line at 18 hours 43 minutes and 21 seconds, beating his own 2009 record by just seconds.
It’s a fitting consolation for the Dún Laoghaire sailor, who earlier missed breaking the elusive sub-24-hour time barrier in a nailbiting afternoon off Mizen Head.
It was something of a rerun of the 2009 race, when Cotter missed the 24-hour barrier in another of his maxis, the 78-footer Whisper, by just 48 minutes when he set the course record of 24 hours 43 minutes and 45 seconds, a time that stood until Thursday teatime.
After passing the Fastnet Rock at 10am on Thursday, Cotter had it all to do to average 11.25 knots if he was to set the newest Irish offshore sailing record.
Fading winds frustrated him in the approach to the finish line, which meant the 6pm time limit for the 24-hour bid came and went, but the Windfall crew held on to establish the new course record that is subject to official ratification by the National Yacht Club race committee.
While Windfall – twice the size of its competitors – will claim line honours and the new record, the overall handicap trophy is still very much up for grabs.
The race for overall honours in the 280-miler continues off the Kerry coast among a chasing pack of yachts less than half the size of Windfall that were not expected to finish until late on Thursday or early Friday morning.
The best performance on IRC rating will be decided by six or more 30- to 50-foot boats, trailing Windfall by some 50 miles or more along the Mizen Head coast.
The group – all tested offshore campaigners – has been consistently led by Andrew Hall’s Welsh J125 entry Jackknife. The Pwllheli 40-footer is closely followed by Paul O’Higgins’s defending champion Rockabill VI as well as Chris Power Smith’s J122 Aurelia, Liam Shanahan’s Ruth, Johnny Murphy’s Outrajeous and John O’Gorman’s Sunfast 3200 Hot Cookie.
In France, there was a further disappointment for both of Ireland’s Solitaire du Figaro competitors who set sail from Kinsale last Sunday on the second leg into Roscoff, finishing on Thursday morning.
Tom Dolan finished 29th from 45 and was disappointed with his position. He said he became stuck twice under big clouds with no wind, and watched the fleet sail away. Having abandoned leg one, Joan Mulloy from Co Mayo just beat the time cut-off in 38th position for leg two.