A WICKLOW Sailing Club member has been undergoing ‘intense training’ in the lead up to being a crew member on a boat taking part in the SSE Round Ireland Yacht Race that begins in Wicklow this weekend.
Eugene Lynch will be participating as part of the crew of Sherkin 2. The 52-year-old has been busy training on board the vessel at Dun Laoghaire.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I have a boat in Wicklow town which I use for club races, but not for off-shore races. We are expecting it will take us around five and a half days to complete the race.
“The training is pretty intense. I was training away all weekend so I felt pretty stiff on Monday morning. We have been out training in all sorts of weather, just to prepare us for any conditions we may encounter.”
The race is set to leave Wicklow Harbour on Saturday for the start of the 705-nautical miles yacht race.
The event is usually held every two-years and is hosted by Wicklow Sailing Club, with the last race held in 2018. Plans for 2020 had to be postponed after the introduction of Covid restrictions.
Wicklow Sailing Club Commodore Kyran O’Grady said: “Everyone is just rearing to go. We thought we might manage to hold the Round Ireland in 2020 and we pushed it out to August, but in the end it couldn’t take place. It’s one of the top Class 2 races in the world and is at the same level as the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Fastnet Race. It’s on the bucket-list of any good sailor.
“55 boats were entered but we have had some cancellations, so we are down to 49 entries, which is still a good number. Some of our younger members are in some of the boats, as well as some senior members.”
A ‘Meet the Sailors’ party takes place on Thursday, June 16, followed by a ‘Rock-a-Round Ireland Party’ with a BBQ and live music on Friday, June 17 at Wicklow Sailing Club.
On Saturday and Sunday, a family fun festival will take place at Black Castle Hill from 12 noon to 9 p.m. each day, with entertainment, live music, a funfair with children’s Bounceworld, and food stands from local businesses.
Free open-air live concerts take place from Friday too Sunday at the Black Castle, featuring acts such as Big Love and Leslie Dowdall.
Meanwhile, community safety volunteers will be present at the Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Station on the East Pier on the Friday to check lifejackets belonging to members of the public, while also providing safety advice.
The RNLI team are on hand to talk through the options for lifejackets, to help you check for wear and tear and show you how to do simple lifejacket maintenance any time from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m..