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D2D 2019

A Report on the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race from crew member Colm Fitzpatrick.

The D2D is a 270 nautical mile offshore race conceived at the National Yacht Club as a celebration of Corinthian sailors (ie not many professionals around) In an effort to promote female participation in the race an additional prize was added this year for boats with 2 or more female crew and indeed 11 of the 43 boats had 2 or more ladies aboard.  We also had Windfall in the race a 93ft attempting to establish a new record.

The 2019 D2D had 43 entries out of which 41 finished. This winner this year was Rockabill VI sailing 270 Miles and finishing with a corrected time of 1.11.06.59. Yes that’s 36 hours from Dun Laoghaire to Dingle. Windfall sailed the course in 24 hours and 43m of sailing beating the record previously set by Whisper in 2009 of 24 hours 48m.

We had plenty of thrills and spills to experience (more on that later), observe, and listen to over the radio this year but thankfully nothing major.   Winds were super-favourable with a strong 18-20Kt North Easterly at the start making for a beautiful parade of spinnakers from the start line all the way to Tuskar. The south coast saw the wind holding mostly in a reach until a few miles from the Fastnet where many boats found huge hole losing up to an hour. The breeze when it came back filled initially at about 10-12kts well forward freshening to 16-18kts closer to The Calf turning to a full beat in lumpy seas to round Great Skellig and head toward the finish at Dingle.

This year Encore participated with a crew of seven. Four MYC members (including 3 past commodores) along with three guests from The National YC, Louise and Paul from Tsunami a First 40.7 and Mairead from Prima Luce.

For the record:

  • Paddy (skipper) and Dermot Cronin,
  • David Greene,
  • Colm Fitzpatrick,
  • Louise Dwyer,
  • Mairead Ní Ceallacháin and
  • Paul Wynne.

Encore’s 2019 configuration for racing includes a new fixed bowsprit allowing us to take a brand-new Code Zero out of its bag a number of times around the course.

We had a good start sitting inshore in a group of boats that eventually populated most of the top 10 finishers. Check out the video on https://www.d2drace.ie/

Our first (ever) Gybe as a team went smoothly off Greystones but our second near Wicklow head ended with the spinnaker and most of our halyards wrapped so comprehensively round the forestay that Paddy had to be hoisted aloft to help unravel it all. We saved the sail but were left with only two halyards and no pole uphaul for the foredeck crew to work with for the rest of the race.  We also lost more than 60 minutes on the fleet we all wanted to be in. Ask Paddy about the mental challenge of cutting a halyard next time you see him.

1am saw us rounding Tuskar while listening on the radio to Justtina discussing her loss of steerage with Rosslare Lifeboat. At this stage we were sitting well back in the fleet but fair winds between Tuskar and The Old Head of Kinsale gave us an opportunity to take out the Code Zero. I have to say a code zero in full flight is a joy to see when it’s on your own boat.

With the wind up and down for this leg and an official upper limit of 11kts for the code zero (Ha! Ha!), we alternated between it and our Jib Top recovering enough time to get us into 23rd on the water at the Fastnet.

Some excellent light air sailing in the hole thanks to skipper Paddy Cronin with the help of both watches. High levels of focus from the watches later on in the beat (torches held up to watch tell-tales) saw us move up a further 2 places by The Great Skellig from where we mostly beat in a lumpy sea to the finish.

The need to maintain high levels of concentration on boat speed and direction coupled with lack of sleep and changing sails under red headlamps in the middle of the night is quite a challenge when offshore racing (my very first) but all of this makes getting into port and drinking that first pint courtesy of Dick Macs all the more pleasurable.

Encore finished the race at 8:05am Friday morning in 38 hours 5m sailing a total distance of 270 miles at an average speed of 7.089kts. We were 21st on the water and 19th on corrected time.

Our biggest lesson: You just never have enough halyards on a racing boat!

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