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  1. Now 81 days into this approximate 250-day non-stop race around the planet, McGuckin will have to complete the voyage without a mizzen mast. The mast in question is pictured above next to where McGuckin is standing

    Irish Golden Globe Race entrant Gregor McGuckin has lost his mizzen mast during a knockdown in the Indian Ocean. The 32-year-old is currently battling 70 knot (130 kph) winds and over 10m seas as a very severe storm passes over him. UPDATED (1530hrs): McGuckin Rolled & Out of Race

    "While a major setback, losing a mizzen mast will not force McGuckin to retire"

    Now 81 days into this approximate 250-day non-stop race around the planet, McGuckin will have to complete the voyage without a mizzen mast. The mizzen mast is the smaller of the two masts on his Biscay 36 yacht ‘Hanley Energy Endurance’. While a major setback, losing a mizzen mast will not force McGuckin to retire. The main disadvantage he faces is that in the event of losing his self-steering system it will make balancing the boat to hold a steady course very challenging.

    More details below when McGuckin called the race office for his weekly safety call this morning.

  2. Extreme conditions during the Sydney-Hobart Race, one of the topics scheduled for the Weather & Sailing Conference in Dun Laoghaire on Friday November 23rd

    Ireland’s weather fascinates everyone. But for boat enthusiasts, an informed insight into the workings of maritime meteorology anywhere in the world has many practical and often vital applications writes W M Nixon. With this in mind, Darryl Hughes (best known as owner-skipper of the superbly-restored classic Tyrrell of Arklow-built ketch Maybird) had donned his other hat as co-ordinator of the Royal Institute of Navigation’s Small Craft Group, and together with the Irish Meteorological Society with sponsorship by Dublin Port Company, he is organising a day-long Weather & Sailing Conference at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Friday November 23rd 2018 from 9.00am until 5.30pm.

    The line-up of speakers draws on highly-qualified experts from both sides of the Irish Sea, and though much of the emphasis will be on weather conditions in Ireland, the conference is notably broad in its scope and variety of topics. Thus while we’ll have Evelyn Cusack of Met Eireann and current Sailor of the Year Conor Fogerty to provide two complementary views of marine meteorology, we’ll also have specialists such as Jessica Sweeney who is lead met adviser to the Ineos Americas Cup Challenge, and Dag Pike who has been navigator to several successful major transoceanic record challenges.

    evelyn cusack2Evelyn Cusack of Met Eireann will be among the speakers

    WEATHER & SAILING CONFERENCE (IMS & RIN) Royal Irish YC Dun Laoghaire, Friday 23rd November 2018

    SPEAKERS & TOPICS

    EVELYN CUSACK (Met Eireann) “Exactly How Do We Forecast The Weather”

    CONOR FOGERTY (Sailor) “Weather & The Single-Hander : The 2017 OSTAR”

    RICHARD FALK

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  3. The FFOR concept will begin with 10 identical yachts being made available to the first 10 teams entering on a fully managed basis

     A new offshore series of races that will come to Irish waters has been launched in the UK called the Formula Foil Ocean Racing (FFOR) with a first prize of £50k.

    Racing in identical Beneteau Figaro 3 yachts FFORC has been launched by a new business created by Stuart Greenfield. The championship will run from Spring 2020 until February 2021, and then yearly, the winner will be declared in Antigua. The championship is open to any Beneteau Figaro 3 with a minimum crew of 4 and maximum crew weight limit of 500kg. The yachts will be hand steered and be strictly one design.

    The concept will begin with 10 identical yachts being made available to the first 10 teams entering on a fully managed basis. The yachts will run by the new company from a single base on the Isle of Wight and offered to teams on a fully ‘step-on and race’ basis for £75,000(+ VAT) * for the championship. This includes full use of a race prepared Beneteau Figaro 3 yacht and a set number of training and leisure days plus all maintenance and race entries. Teams may be amateur, sponsored, or fully professional. Amateur teams, if needed, will be provided with training and relevant first aid, sea survival and radio VHF courses to achieve the necessary qualifications to meet the Category 1 standard to which the races will comply. All races will count towards the results with no discards. 

    "The yachts will be hand steered and be strictly one design"

    The race programme will provide a range of offshore races in the English Channel before venturing on longer races to Ireland, Lanzarote, and finally a transatlantic race. The race program will ensure that all crews build up their experience in longer more challenging races over the 10-month championship. There will also be a small inshore element to include races such as Round the Island.

    The race management will include race training and coaching, where necessary, to ensure crews reach the highest proficiency. The yachts will be equipped to World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations Category 1. The schedule is uniquely designed so that most racing is at weekends and to

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  4. The 2019 Fastnet Race will start on Saturday 3rd August 2019

    The 2019 edition of the Fastnet Race will start on Saturday 3rd August 2019, which is two weeks earlier than the original published date.

    Unusually, the race will now run the week before Cowes Week, whose dates remain unchanged, starting on Saturday 10th August. This break with tradition, in consultation with Lendy Cowes Week, has been made for a number of reasons, including weather concerns over late August.

    "We have been wrestling with this decision over the summer and particularly the relative timing with other events in Cowes and the Solent," said RORC Commodore Steven Anderson. "A late August start has weather implications for our big fleet and we anticipated running into the summer bank holiday would cause difficulty for many participants. Bringing the race forward by two weeks addresses these issues and allows us to encourage the fleet into Cowes in the pre-race days before the start.”

    Commenting on the change of date RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone said:

    “Bringing the race forward to Saturday 3rd August will give more time for those competitors who wish to race in Cowes Week. The prize giving in Plymouth will now be held on Thursday 8th August and this will allow competitors to make the journey back to the Solent in time to join the racing.”

    More detailed information and the official Notice of Race will become available here 

  5. Mast repairs underway on Tom Dolan's Figaro yacht today

    Andi Robertson spoke with Ireland's solo sailor Thomas Dolan about his retiral from leg one of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. Listen in to the recording below

    Race Director Francis Le Goff commented this morning from on board the monitoring catamaran the ‘Etoile’ shadowing near the fleet on the first period of Stage 1 of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, “The fleet is just a little ahead of the (predicted) routing. The only thing is the breakages which we are sorry for. But, except for Nathalie Criou, the fleet is still in a good sized group which – in terms of us keeping an eye on everyone is good news. And the fact that no one passed south of the TSS (forbidden shipping lane area). It is not surprising to see Charlie Dalin, Seb Simon or Alexis Loison at the front after they all made average starts. That really is and an indication of their ambition and their ability. Alan Roberts has proven he is fit and in the match. The big question which we will see answered in the next 12 hours is what the choices will be as the wind drops away (with the return of high pressure, and summer!). It will be complicated all the way to Wolf Rock.”

    "I had been under heavy spinnaker for a mile or two in distance and we were just passing the Radio France Buoy and I heard a thud"

    Thomas Dolan (IRL) Smurfit Kappa this morning in Le Havre: 
What happened exactly? 
TD: "I had been under heavy spinnaker for a mile or two in distance and we were just passing the Radio France Buoy and I heard a thud. It was not a normal thud and straight away you have that feeling inside. I did think straight away about the spreader and had Lois right beside me and so I shouted 'Is my spreader OK?' He looked and said it was OK. And then I saw the leeward shroud (which holds the mast up) banging around. It did not sink in. But automatically to save the mast like, I dropped the sails and tied on a couple of halyards. Then it settled in for me.

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