A new record has been set today for the fastest ever circumnavigation of Ireland, via the islet of Rockall, while lies 270 miles off the north-west coast of Donegal.

Cork based boat-builder Safehaven Marine’s Thunderchild craft is the fastest vessel ever built in Ireland.

The journey began in Cork and at times it topped speeds in excess of 80 kph.

It completed the trip in 34 hours, one minute and 47 seconds.

And it was visible from Malin Head as it headed for Rockall.

There were two fuel stops, one in Portrush, Co. Derry, and one in Co. Mayo (pictured below), where the crew paused to pay their tributes to members of the Irish Coastguard Service who lost their lives in a helicopter crash near Blacksod earlier this year.

The time will be officially sanctioned by the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM).

The total circumnavigation involved a 2,000 kilometre plus journey, with a 1,000 kilometre open ocean crossing across part of the North Atlantic, one of the roughest and most notorious seas on the planet.

The video below shows the Thunderchild boat out testing in stormy conditions off the Irish coast earlier this year.

Even during summer months there can an ocean swell running off the Donegal coast, with challenging northern latitudes sea states that make it difficult to maintain high speeds for over 12 hours non-stop.

Safehaven Marine does not build ‘raceboats’ but has built more than 100 high speed commercial and naval craft, with a global reputation for exceptional sea keeping capabilities and strength, since 1998.

This journey was especially demanding on several fronts:

  • Several hours of navigation had to be carried out in the dark, needing HD radar and high spec thermal night vision cameras to mitigate risk and allow maximum speed to be maintained.
  • The vessel had to incorporate a high degree of survivability for crew safety in case of catastrophe impact with debris.
  • The crew had to be experienced in night time transits at speed.

    Top Photo: Thunderchild pictured off Rockall earlier today.

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