Ireland West Airport Knock’s and Ireland West Tourism’s co-sponsored Sail Team West, finished first in Class 1 and fourth overall in the BMW Round Ireland yacht race. The team competed against over 35 entrants to win their class after a marathon 136 hours of non-stop racing.
This journey posed numerous challenges to Sail Team West whose crew include Aodhan Fitzgerald, Larry Hynes, Barry Heskin, Noel Butler, Mark Kilroy, Daithi De Force, Seamus Monelley, Tommy Smyth, Martin Breen, Eoghan McGregor, Philip McCafferty and Nigel Moss.
A fresh southerly breeze urged Sail Team West from the Wicklow starting point, taking best advantage of the tidal conditions. A steady sail down the Irish Sea placed the team in twelfth position at Tuskar Rock. The race grew in momentum and excitement on the approach to Fastnet as Sail Team West captained by Aodhan Fitzgerald and competitor Teng Tools captained by Eamon Crosbie, battled closely against each other on their epic race. With Sail Team West taking the lead, weather conditions varied en route to Blasket Island, reaching twenty knots in heavy seas. Harnessing the strong winds while suffering sea sickness, Sail Team West showed sheer determination and drive for the next twenty hour leg of the race.
Heading to Eagle Island, the Team dropped to second place to the larger “Alice 2” and by Arranmore Island, with increasingly difficult wind conditions, they dropped to fifth position. Admirably they managed to regain second position only three minutes behind Teng Tools at the Inistrahull check-in, often only feet apart resulting in a very tiring leg. Both boats managed to make their way down the North Channel in good shape, swapping the lead at frequent intervals. Against a fresh wind, Sail Team West struggled for the next sixteen hours to Wicklow and heroically claimed a one hour lead over Teng Tools.
An exhilarated crew proudly sailed across the finish line with a tremendous seven hour lead over the next boat in their class.
On behalf of Ireland West Airport Knock, Annette Kearney, Marketing and Communications Manager, congratulated the team on their fantastic achievement. “We are very pleased and proud of the crew who have not only heightened awareness in the region of a growing sport in Ireland but who have helped to promote the west of Ireland internationally as a great adventure and activity holiday destination.”
Well done Sail Team West.