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Wicklow Sailing Club announces SSE Renewables as Round Ireland Yacht Race sponsor

by Rebecca Evans 8 Nov 06:07 PST 20 June 2020
SSE Renewables to sponsor Round Ireland Yacht Race © Line Up Sports

Wicklow Sailing Club has announced that next year's 704-mile Round Ireland Race will be sponsored by SSE Renewables. The deal will see the leading offshore wind energy developer support the classic circumnavigation that has attracted thousands of competitors since 1980.

The SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race 2020 will start from Wicklow Sailing Club on Ireland's East coast on Saturday 20th June 2020.

The highly-acclaimed race is part of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Season's Points Championship. The start and finishing lines for the newly-titled SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race are off the pier head at Wicklow Harbour.

The course comprises a series of challenges ranging from navigating past sandbanks on the East coast of Ireland to the inevitable sleigh-ride conditions along the rugged West coast before negotiating a series of tidal gates in the closing stages to the finish once again at Wicklow.

Competing yachts typical range in size from 30 feet and upwards including two-handed and fully-crewed entries, stripped-out racing machines, and classic cruising boats. Organisers are hopeful of exceeding 60 boats for the 2020 event and with the new sponsor on board, growing the fleet further for future editions.

"We are pleased to welcome SSE Renewables as sponsor of this classic offshore race," commented Kyran O'Grady, Commodore of Wicklow Sailing Club. "This event has been described as 'the Kilimanjaro of Sailing' - a challenge for every sailor; completing the course is in itself a great achievement."

The course record stands at 2 days, 2 hours, 24 minutes and 9 seconds set by George David's Rambler 88 in 2016 when the American entry won a hat-trick of line honours, course record and corrected-time overall victory.

In 2018, the Ker 43-footer Baraka GP also won line honours and was overall winner after an especially tough race in a time of 3 days, 23 hours, 20 minutes and 44 seconds.

"Our intention is to return in 2020 once we secure the right boat," said Niall Dowling, skipper of Baraka GP and winner of the 2018 edition. "We had a great time, not just because of the result but we all agreed it was the highlight of our season."

The timing of the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race 2020 also leads into the Cork 300 celebrations for the tricentenary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the world's oldest yacht club. Entrants will have sufficient time to finish the Round Ireland and either sail straight to Cork or enter the Kingstown to Queenstown (Dun Laoghaire to Cobh) feeder race on July 9th. Big-boat entries can be accommodated thanks to the Royal Irish Yacht Club in nearby Dun Laoghaire.

"SSE Renewables partnership with Wicklow Sailing Club matches our 'Oceans of Opportunity' vision for sustainable marine energy production," said Barry Kilcline, Head of Offshore Development with SSE Renewables. "Competitors will readily understand the potential of Irish waters, especially passing the existing Arklow Bank Wind Park where SSE Renewables is developing a 100-turbine expansion project."

The Notice of Race for the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race 2020 will be published next month and the online entry system is expected to go live in mid-January.

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