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THE ROUND IRELAND RECORD British Airways

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailSunday 4th – Wednesday 7th May June 1986 Skipper:-Sir Robin Knox-Johnson Report by John Leahy in the National YC newsletter ‘Up Helm’, June 1986 The recent successful attempt on the Round Ireland record, previously set by Moonduster in ’84, certainly captured the imagination of many Irish yachtsmen. Robin Knox-Johnston, sailing the 60′ catamaran – British Airways 1, knocked’ over half a day off the old record in far from ideal conditions and has set a new record which he says himself is “eminently beatable”. His time was 76 hours, 5 minutes, 34 seconds. There is, of course, controversy over the new record … He went the “wrong way round”, he “picked his weather”, “of course a cat can beat a monohull”, and so forth. The simple and inescapable fact is that Robin has been around this island of ours in a faster time than anyone before him. “Let the begrudgers stop moaning and go out there and beat it” says Robin, and who can argue. Everything about this record was on a giant scale and the National was honoured to be given the job of organising and timing the record. Eddie Neville (Vice Commodore), John Byrne (Sailing Sec) and John Leahy (Boathouse Captain) were invited aboard BAl for the trip back to Southampton. We left Howth early one morning and set off into a fresh southerly, beating at about nine knots down the Irish Sea and on down to Land’s End. 24 hours out of Howth and about 25 miles north of Land’s End, the starboard shroud broke and the 80 foot mast went over- board to port, mercifully not causing any injuries, but causing a fair amount of damage to the bow. 12 hours later we were towed into St Ives with the mast and sails in tow, all of which were salvaged. The latest information is that the mast and sails are back with the makers, and that Robin has won a real race against time to prepare BA1 for the Twostar transatlantic in early June. We wish him well. British Airways have now donated a perpetual trophy for this event, to be administered by the National in recognition of the work we have done. The trophy will be for the fastest time around Ireland and its’ offshore islands (excluding Rockall!), in any boat under sail in either direction. The trophy is to be named the “Concorde’ trophy. I understand from one of my spies that it will not be long before someone else has a crack at the record, and we are all looking forward to it immensely.