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  1. Spindrift

    Yann Guichard and his crew started their world tour at Ushant on, Wednesday, January 16 at 11h 47min 27sec UTC. To win the Jules Verne Trophy they have to recross the line by February 26 at 11h 16m 57sec UTC to break the record, held since 2017 by Francis Joyon and his crew, of 40 days 23h 30m 30s.

    The weather conditions were favourable at the Creac'h lighthouse, which marks one end of the start and finish line of the Jules Verne Trophy course, the round the world sailing record via the three Capes. A southwesterly breeze of 20 knots and calm seas allowed the giant black and gold trimaran to head quickly towards a front off Ushant and pick a good system from the north-west. It is these strong winds that Spindrift 2 will be able to pick up to take them quickly down to Madeira, the Canaries and the Cape Verde archipelago.

    According to the routing of the team's onshore weather router, Jean-Yves Bernot, the team could reach the equator during the night of Sunday to Monday, January 21, after less than five days at sea. Once over this imaginary line between the two hemispheres, Yann Guichard and his crew must continue to speed on, with the aim of crossing the longitude at the Cape of Good Hope in about twelve days. This challenge is very possible as Francis Joyon and his crew reached the African cape in 12d 21h 22m.

    By adding all the best reference times since the first attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy in 1993, the crewed world tour from Ushant to Ushant could potentially be completed in 38 days.

    The first stretch towards the equator looks very favourable, but it is still too early to anticipate what follows. If a depression moves away from Brazil during the passage off Salvador de Bahia, the weather configuration could allow the team more options to sail more directly towards the South without having to go around the St. Helena anticyclone.

    Afterwards it will be the depressions to the south, their trajectories, north-south positioning and speed that will determine if the Indian Ocean can be crossed in less than 5d 21h 08m and the Pacific in less than 7d 21h 13m.

    The Jules Verne Trophy:

    Start and finish: a line between Creac'h lighthouse (Isle of Ushant) and Lizard Point (England)
    Course: non-stop around-the-world tour travelling without

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  2. Tom Dolan in the boat he sailed in his Figaro debut last year

    ‘Flying Irishman’ Tom Dolan will join Royal St George Yacht Club members for brunch at the Dun Laoghaire waterfront clubhouse from noon this Saturday 19 January.

    Tom was nominated for Irish Sailor of the Year 2017 and again in 2018, and his adventures feature prominently in the 2019 Afloat Irish Sailing Annual.

    The France-based Irish sailing professional has been nicknamed ‘l’irlandais volant — or ‘the Flying Irishman’ — for his accomplishments in the challenging solo offshore Figaro race.

    Tom will tell RStGYC members about his intense 2018 season which culminated in the Solitaire du Figaro, a story illustrated with slides and videos that he’s already brought around Ireland.

    He will also elaborate on his plans for this year’s race with his new boat, the revolutionary foiling Beneteau Figaro 3, which he previously revealed in a talk at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Cub earlier this month.

    The offshore sailor’s visit comes after a welcome talk by Annalise Murphy last week, and should be of

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  3. Robin Davie sailing aboard his 36ft yacht C'EST La VIE

    Falmouth Coastguard has issued an 'All Ships Alert' for British solo yachtsman Robin Davie, now three days overdue on a300-mile solo cross-Channel voyage from Les Sables d'Olonne, France back to his home port of Falmouth in Cornwall.

    The 67-year old experienced sailor, who has successfully completed three solo circumnavigations, set out from the French port at 10:00 on Saturday 5th January, telling his brother Rick Davie to expect him back last Tuesday. Nothing has been heard from him since.

    Davie was reported overdue on Wednesday morning and the UK Maritime Coastguard Falmouth have been broadcasting alerts to all shipping in the area since then. No EPIRB signal has been detected.

    Weather conditions have been light and variable for the past week. Davie's yacht, the Rustler 36 C'EST La VIE had recently undergone a complete refit including new mast and rigging, which had been fitted in Les Sables D'Olonne.

    Davie had entered the 2018 Golden Globe Race but ran out of time to complete his preparations, and was returning home to Cornwall intending to compete in the next GGR solo round the world race in 2022.

    Born in 1951 in St Agnes, Cornwall, the sea has always been in his blood. Davie recalled recently Robin Knox-Johnston's return to Falmouth at the end of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1969 to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world. His school refused to give his class time off to watch the spectacle, but he remembers saying to himself: “I’ll do that one day”.

    After serving in the British Merchant Navy for 20 years, Davie competed in the first BOC Challenge Around Alone Race in 1990 in yacht named Spirit of Cornwall, and went on to make his second and third solo circumnavigations in the 1994 and 1998 BOC races. During the 1994 race he was dismasted thousands of miles from Cape Horn and sailed under jury rig around the Cape to the Falkland Islands.

  4. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Rolex Fastnet Race has once again lured sailors from around the world to compete in the historic race. 2019 will be the 48th edition

    Once again the Rolex Fastnet Race has confirmed itself to be by far the world's largest offshore yacht race. After the entry for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event was opened at 1200 UTC, the 340 available places for boats in the IRC fleet were all taken within just four minutes and 37 seconds. This was just 13 seconds outside the record time recorded in 2017.

    The first entry to sign up on the RORC's Sailgate online entry system for the biennial 605-mile race from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland, was regular competitor Derek Saunders and his Farr 60 Venomous. He narrowly beat the German Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt club's Judel Vrolijk 52 Haspa Hamburg and Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise who were next fastest.

    After the first two minutes, 180 boats had already been entered successfully. After the first frenetic four minutes and 37 seconds when the maximum entry limit was reached, subsequent requests were filtered through to the reserve list. Ultimately after the deluge subsided 440 boats had entered in total.

    Yachts from 25 countries are due to take part this year: The bulk of these are from the UK, from where 201 boats were registered, followed by the dominant French (winners of the last three editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race) with 81 and the Netherlands with 33.

    The entry includes a strong contingent of 16 boats from the USA, many making the passage across to the UK in the Transatlantic Race 2019. This leaves Newport, RI on 25 June bound for Cowes via the Lizard and is organised by the RORC in conjunction with the New York Yacht Club, Royal Yacht Squadron and Storm Trysail Club. Entries from further afield have been received from Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, Hong Kong and Korea among others.

    This strong entry shows that the change of date has made little impression on the desire to do the Rolex Fastnet Race: The start date was moved to Saturday, 3 August and for the first time it will be setting

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  5. Oisin McClelland (bottom row, third from left) pictured with Finn sailors around the world who are too heavy for the new offshore keelboat class

    Minutes of the meeting that decided the inclusion of an Olympic keelboat event in place of the Finn class have been confirmed by the World Sailing council, according to Sail World.

    Controversy has arisen after last month’s decision at World Sailing’s AGM in Florida and the publication of the draft minutes, when four members claimed their electronic votes were recorded incorrectly.

    However, in a special teleconference last Friday 21 December, World Sailing’s council voted 22-11 with two abstentions to confirm the previously disputed minutes.

    It means that the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event will go ahead at the Paris Olympics in 2024 — with no more room for Finn sailors.

    Ireland has two in the Finn — Oisin McClelland and Fionn Lyden — competing for a place at Tokyo 2020, what’s now the last Olympic Games for the class. The move has been eyed with interest by Irish offshore sailors.

    Sail World has further details of last weekend’s special World Sailing council meeting.