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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 24 October 2020

Round Ireland race, day 3/4 review: 'Charlie Chaplin would be proud'

Eoin Lynch and crew were relieved after they narrowly avoided a 2am collision.

The crew are currently on their way to Belfast.
The crew are currently on their way to Belfast.

EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING brought with it plenty of action as we had a near collision around 2 am with a fellow competitor Desert Star.

We began a jibe sequence when someone about 200 metres off our port side called “Ahoy”, very civilised of them, but they should probably have had their navigation lights on. Confusion ensued and they managed to dip below, us avoiding a crash in the darkness.

In the chaos our spinnaker became wrapped around the mast, which in daylight, would be a difficult thing to deal with but in pitch darkness and high winds, and with only head-torches to see,  it became an hour and a half worth of shouting, figuring, tugging and pulling, which was eventually sorted.

By 6.20am we passed Eagle Island,  but saw very little of the mist covered land. As we headed north of Eagle a small fishing boat powered past us and her crew gave us a hearty wave that was much appreciated as they were the first people we had seen in three days.

Through the day we made our way up the north western coast past Mayo and Donegal. The wind died off on us at around 3pm, which left us struggling to gather any speed.

English Mick is a 47.7 Beneteau and weighs in at around 10 tonnes. With 13 crew members onboard the boat needs a lot of wind to get her going – in a wind speed of 15-20 knots reaching across her she will manage a boat speed of between 12-15 knots and will cut through the water. You can almost feel the boat smile as she goes. However, in light winds English Mick finds the going tough. And as we blew out our main spinnaker yesterday, we struggled until around 8pm when the wind picked up nicely and we made our way on up past Tory Island.

Earlier in the day it was announced that there was a problem with the water. Our three fresh water tanks were empty and no one could come up with any kind of plausible idea as to why the water had run off. We are now in water rations. Sailors are resourceful by nature and yesterday’s torn spinnaker has become today’s rain water collector that will collect water for our tea, coffee and cuppa soups.

At around 6 pm the wind began to blow a gale and the sea rose to put us onto a beat (sailing pretty much into directly into the wind), which means we have tacked (zig-zagged) our way around the head of Ireland, past Mailin Head and down towards Rathlin Island. Unfortunately the tides were  against us last night, which in the North Atlantic gives a very similar sensation of trying to push the boat up a steep hill. This morning (Thursday) has brought little change in terms of the wind and we have been trying to make our way toward Belfast but have made little headway to date.

On a beat, the boat is held an angle of about 30• but on occasion it may tilt over beyond 45•, which can make for pretty exciting sailing. Down below in the galley however, things become a little more comical, as everything from walking to sleeping to making a cup of tea (from recycled rain water) becomes a feat I am sure Charlie Chaplin would be proud of.

Read: Round Ireland race, day two review: Strong winds and sea sickness>

Read: Round Ireland race day one review: Favourite Green Dragon takes the lead>

About the author:

Eoin Lynch

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