Four years after capsize George David signs up for 2016 Round Ireland Race
The American owner recently competed in the 605-mile Rolex Fastnet Race on his new boat, marking a return to Irish waters since the incident just four years ago when his 100-foot Rambler capsized shortly after passing the famous lighthouse off Cape Clear.
The canting keel had snapped clean off just below the hull exit barely five miles past the rock causing the boat to capsize in two-metre waves.
The crew of 21 were rescued by the RNLI Baltimore lifeboat and Jerry Smith’s charter dive-boat Wave Chieftain who located five people including David who had been separated in the poor visibility.
The most serious injury was the skipper’s partner, Wendy Touton, who was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard suffering from hypothermia. She made a full recovery.
One of the survivors later commented that “Baltimore is the ideal place to be shipwrecked”.
The 704-mile Round Ireland is certain to be a different race, offering a full circumnavigation as well as various navigation challenges. Organisers have yet to confirm whether they will adopt their partner organiser Royal Ocean Racing Club’s (RORC) standard of designating commercial shipping Traffic Separation Schemes as race exclusion zones.
The RORC has applied this to the past two Fastnet races, adding to the complexity of the race as well as, potentially, the distance to be sailed depending on weather options.
Rambler 88 is David’s third maxi in the series after Ramblers 90 and 100. Despite its smaller size, it is expected to be the quickest boat with its state-of-the-art carbon fibre hull and rig.
In the right weather conditions, it would be a strong contender to break the Round Ireland Race record of two days, 17 hours, 48 minutes and 47 seconds which achieved by Mike Slade in ICAP Leopard 3 in 2008.
However, the race is decided on IRC handicap and in 2014, the overall winner was Tanit skippered by Richard Harris and a team from Glasgow while line honours went to Monster Project, the former Volvo 70-footer owned by Andy Budgen and chartered by Wicklow SC’s David Ryan.
The race officially opens for entries in January 2016 but expressions of interest are welcome at email@example.com More details at roundireland.ie