Route du Rhum Qualifier

Following Round Ireland, Greg left for his Route du Rhum Qualifier.

In addition to the selection process to gain one of the 55 Class 40 slots, each skipper has to complete a qualifying passage. That passage can be either one of a few approved races in solo mode, a solo passage of 1,200 miles with at least 120 miles upwind in at least Force 5 (19-22kts), or a combination of a shorter solo race and a qualifying passage.

The delivery back from Ireland to Hamble was a great opportunity to double as a qualifying passage. We agreed with the race management on a course that would head south from Dún Laoghaire to a point off La Rochelle, back up to Ireland near Cork, south to France again near Brest and then on to Hamble.

Greg left Sunday the 26th as a low was passing Ireland promising 20+ kts S/Sw’erly.

Well, the low overdelivered. We had 30kts for the first 100 miles or so before it eased off for a few hours. Then the next front passed and brought more mid 30s! Step one – upwind requirement met…

Over all, it was a fun passage with few issues. The last miles into Hamble were active with a lot of shipping and fishing boats. We (I guess that is a royal we) finished in just over 6 days and something like 1350 miles sailed.

Lots of ships
Lots of nice sunsets
Finish!

Round Ireland Finish

It was a cruel finish to Round Ireland. If you watched the trackers, you know the wind died at the front and followers caught up. At times, we had 3 knots of wind and the followers were barreling up to us at 8 knots.

In the end, we ended up West and #171 went East and snuck by. It was well executed by them. We finished 2nd in the 40s and, in 2-3 kts of wind we ghosted as the 5th boat across the line.

Wow, this was a fun race. The scenery is amazing and the course around Ireland provides a lot of diversity and challenges.

For depth reasons, we stayed up in Dún Laoghaire and loved it up there too, but Wicklow looked really pretty from the sea as well.

Finish at Wicklow
Hannes at the helm across the finish
Last night before the finish.

Rathlin Island and heading south

We have rounded Rathlin Island and are now heading south. We had a welcome from hundreds of mers and gannets and quite a few puffins. The scenery up here is lovely and it would be nice to stay, but we’re were quite happy with the 5 kts of current pushing us south east in the light winds.

Rathlin Island

Scotland

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland