It’s turning out to be quite a summer for Inishowen sailing after Fahan man Richie Fearon claimed the Round Ireland Yacht Race title as a crew member of the winning ‘Tanit’ boat in Wicklow on Friday.

The Lough Swilly Yacht Club Commodore was the Navigation and Tactics Specialist on board the Scottish yacht who left a field of over 30 vessels in their wake to be officially declared the winners of the prestigious title.

The victory comes hot on the heels of Umrican man Sean McCarter’s home stage win with the Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat in the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race last week.

Fearon, who himself skippered the Cork vessel in the 2010 Clipper Series, grew up sailing with McCarter and he admitted these are halcyon days for the sport locally.

“I remember me and Sean going down to the Sailing School together at Fahan when we were kids. It shows that there’s a pathway to sail at the highest levels if you get involved with your local club,” he told the Inish Times.

“Sean pulled an absolute blinder to win the Atlantic leg of the Clipper Race and break the home curse and it was a great boost for everyone involved in the sport locally.

“The Round Ireland Race is one of the top five off shore classics in sailing, it is a race I always wanted to win and I’m really chuffed to land my home title.”

The gruelling five day race proved as much a test of endurance as strategy for Fearon, who is also a talented centre with the Inishowen Rugby first XV.

The 704 nautical mile race started and finished at Wicklow Harbour, running clockwise around Tusker Rock off Rosslare before heading up the West coast past Inishowen and back down the Irish Sea to the finish line south of Dublin.

“I had about 12 hours sleep over the five days but it was worth it when we were confirmed as winners,” Fearon continued. “We were leading going around Tusker Rock but we had slipped to third or fourth by the time we reached the North West. We managed to miss a calm period that had been forecast between Tory Island and Rathlin and got a good beat down the Irish Sea towards the finish line.

“We had been second to last year’s winners ‘Ruth’ but they suffered from some slack winds and tidal problems. There was an outside chance that another yacht ‘Cavantina’ could catch us but when their times were confirmed in the early hours of Friday morning we were able to begin the celebrations.”

 

By Johnny Craig

 

I2

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