Ireland's prowess in world offshore sailing was on display again yesterday lunchtime off the Isle of Wight when Kerry yachtsman Damian Foxall steered his trimaran to a nail–biting finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland in world record time.
Foxall and co-skipper Sidney Gavignet and the crew of Musandam-Oman Sail, a MOD70 Trimaran, crossed the Cowes line at 12.42.36 with an elapsed time of three days, 3 hours, 32 minutes, 36 seconds, making good on a pre-race pledge that records would tumble.
The crew achieved an average speed of nearly 24 knots for the circumnavigation in some very rough seas.
The time, subject to ratification, breaks the mark for a multihull set in 2011 by Banque Populaire 5, a boat 60 feet longer than Foxall’s craft, by 16 minutes, 38 seconds.
Meanwhile, a much smaller Irish campaign continues its battle along the 1,800 mile course. Liam Coyne’s First 36.7 Lula Belle, racing two-handed with Brian Flahive, is west of Sunderland with about 1,300 miles to go.
A week of high drama for Irish sailing turned to tragedy early yesterday morning in west Cork when the second major air sea rescue mission in a week recovered a body following the capsize of a Drascombe lugger in Roaringwater Bay. Two other crew from the 18–foot dinghy were found sheltering on a nearby island.
The tragedy followed Monday’s call-out on Strangford Lough when the first race of the 90-boat GP14 World Championships at East Down YC ran into difficulties in squally conditions, capsizing up to 12 competitors.
After three races Sam Watson and Andy Hunter from Nantwich have established a three-point lead over Royal Southern’s Robert Gullan
. The top Irish crew is Greystones and Clontarf combination Shane MacCarthy and
in fifth, on 20 points.
The black flag was used yesterday in the first light air races of the 200-boat CH Marine youth Optimist National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club. The host club's top-ranked Harry Durcan (15) who will travel to the World Championships in Argentina in October is competing.
Howth’s Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are best of a seven-boat Irish squad in 11th place after four races at the 420 Youth Europeans in Poland.