Final preparations underway for Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race

Glorious conditions for the competitors in the Volvo Round Ireland Race are expected over the coming week after the 705-mile classic gets underway at Wicklow Sailing Club tomorrow at 2pm.

Festivities got underway last night for the week-long festival, with more family-friendly events running tomorrow from 10am onwards at Wicklow Harbour and Black Castle. (more info here)

Light winds and hot temperatures is the forecast for this weekend meaning vibrant and colourful spinnaker sails will be seen atop the competing yachts.

Wicklow Pier and the Black Castle area will serve as ideal viewing points for the race with live tracking and results broadcast on a giant screen at Wicklow Sailing Club — parking and traffic restrictions will be in place around these areas.

The entry list for the race stands at 55 boats from seven different countries — Ireland, Britain, France, Netherlands, Finland, Norway and the United States.

Speaking this morning, Mick Liddy — navigator and strategist for the Irish Defence Forces race entry, J109 “Joker II” — foresees the race taking a full five days for his team: “We expect a north easterly start with good gradient and thermal breeze given the fine conditions, and a rhumb line course to the Fastnet Rock where we will encounter wind of up to 20 knots — the most wind we expect to see.

“The North West corner looks like the most challenging [section of the race] and we expect that we are looking at a predominantly light and tactical race,” Liddy added.

Yachts entered in the race range in size from 21 – 65 feet, with the fastest entries expected back in Wicklow by Wednesday evening; some of the smaller entries may not finish until next weekend depending on wind conditions.

You can follow this year’s race live here

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