After the Tall Ships, another spectacle of sail hits Dublin Bay

Claire Murphy

THESE mammoth €3m racing yachts are in Dublin this weekend as a first-time stop-off on their European tour.

Olympic hero Annalise Murphy will join some of the most experienced sailors in the world in a spectacular exhibition on the Irish leg of the MOD70 race at Dun Laoghaire.

And the Herald was invited on board the massive creatures as they prowled the mouth of Dublin bay.

Reaching speeds of up to 26 knots -- almost 30 miles per hour -- the huge 70ft beings growl as their massive sails are unfurled.

These boats are unique. Each is built to exacting specifications, with identical equipment and provisions for crew so that the only thing that will set one apart from the other is the skill of the sailors.


"The budget is around €3m and they are all modelled the same," crew member of Spindrift Leo Luce told the Herald.

"We are sure that the boats are exactly the same.

"Even the stuff we have inside, the kit, the spoons are exactly the same.

"We are really a brand new team, this is our first season.

"We know that in the future we will have 12 boats maximum.

"But it is very tricky, we are very nervous about how it will all work out."

Up to 10,000 visitors are expected to attend the event.

For those who know little about sailing, a commentary is provided on the east pier.

And Dun Laoghaire is becoming even more of a key attraction for race organisers,

"Everybody is realising that Ireland is a great place, great venue," Leo said.

"There are quite a few different aspects of Dublin which make it a great venue.

"One of which is its location in terms of the off-shore leg, which provides a very limited distance between the venues that is tactical and strategic.

"Another is that it is quite challenging strategically because of a lot of tidal gates and traffic and other factors. Then for the in-shore part, it is a fantastic stadium, the east pier which is just under a mile long, that the boats can race along.

"To stage an event along a place where there is large natural footfall and to get the spectators, we can bring sailing to the public."

Commentary on the sailing will begin at 2pm today with the first race due to start at 3pm.

Festivities will continue throughout today and Sunday.