This year’s Round Ireland Yacht Race is heating up with the announcement that seasoned sailor and former Dragon Bobby Kerr is hoping to be part of the winning crew in one of the most gruelling and challenging yacht racing competitions in the world...and a Wicklow farmer is not impressed!
Kerr is joining a crew of 18 in a 60ft yacht to compete with 34 other boats from Ireland and abroad in the five day race, which departs Wicklow Bay on Saturday 28th June.
The first yacht over the line is typically one of the bigger boats (60 ft and over) sailed by experienced crews. Bobby’s Boat – the Newstalk for Adrenalin is 60ft in size, and is in the running.
However a crew of amateurs from Wicklow, led by local farmer David Ryan have declared war on the Dragon!
48 year old David has gathered together what he describes as ‘a passionate crew’ of 18 people aged between 18 and 57 and convinced the owner of the 70ft Monster Project, a Volvo 70, to provide the yacht to enter the race in the hope of fulfilling his lifelong dream of being the first yacht to cross the line in the biennial Round Ireland.
He is determined that Kerr and his crew will not destroy their dream, insisting that all the coffee in the world wouldn’t get the Insomnia boss over the line before them.
'The Monster will devour the Dragon. They may have an expert crew but we’re coming from the heart – there will be massive hardship, sleep deprivation; we’ll likely get soaking wet and the physical strain will be immense. It doesn’t matter when you’re chasing a dream… we will win!'
'Bobby will miss his creature comforts and will be pining for his coffee every morning. Our willpower will knock them out of the water.'
Kerr remains undaunted by Farmer Ryan’s challenge, saying he does like his Americanos but has every intention of smuggling a small Espresso maker on board, despite weight restrictions.
'David’s boat may be the first over the line – it’s the biggest boat in the race so it would be a pretty bad reflection on the crew if they didn’t make it over first. We are the better crew and the actual winner is not the first over the line but based on handicap; we’re pretty confident our experienced crew will beat the Monster in real terms!'
'I may not be the best sailor, but I’m certainly not the worst. I’ve competed in, and won races before, and sleep deprivation is not a problem for me. I have often worked 24 hours straight – you draw on your inner resources. If you programme yourself, knowing you’ll get little or no sleep for four or five days and then it’s over, you can do it. Farmer Ryan hasn’t a hope!'
The Round Ireland Yacht Race is now in its 36th year (18th sailing of the biennial race) and is Ireland’s premier offshore sailing race attracting entrants from across Europe and as far afield as Russia, the USA and New Zealand. It will depart Wicklow on Sunday 28th June 2014 at 2.00 pm.
It is the only RORC race based in Ireland and regarded as equivalent in terms of rating points to the Fastnet Race, the classic offshore race, which runs in alternate years to the Round Ireland.
Internationally, completing the race, is considered a significant feat as the race is one of the most gruelling and challenging sailing competitions in the yacht racing calendar.
The course, starting and finishing in Wicklow, brings entrants through widely different sea types and coastlines, from the Atlantic Ocean to the more sheltered Irish Sea, with difficult tidal gates, particularly around the North Eastern coast and navigational challenges requiring day and night tactical decisions at every change of forecast. ISA website Event website