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Thousands watch the MOD70 fleet depart for Cascais

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Dun Laoghaire, Ireland bid a brisk, breezy farewell to the MOD70 European Tour fleet with Sabastien JosseĆ¢’s crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild collecting the maximum 3 bonus points from the prologue circuit and leading the fleet out on to Dublin Bay for the leg to Cascais, Portugal.

In a brisk 15 knot southwesterly breeze the preliminary circuit of two triangles delivered great entertainment for the big crowd of spectators and challenging racing for the teams. JosseĆ¢’s crew lead Spindrift racing, the winners of the Dun Laoghaire City Races, through the scoring gate, with Race for Water taking 1 point for third.

The skies remained clear with some sunshine for the send off after two days of great City Races, but the weather outlook promises a tough tactical beat in a building southwesterly wind round to the Fastnet rock.

The 200 mile leg round to the lonely light, known as Ireland’s teardrop as it was the last landmark that Irish emigrants saw as they set off for America in the 19th century, will not only see robust, potentially boat breaking seas but may offer an early split in the fleet depending on the timing of a cold front which is due there at around the same time as the fleet.

The departure today was a great finale to the four day festival organized by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and the National Yacht Club to bring this new major international event to our shores.

Thousands lined the pier on a daily basis to watch these breathtaking 70ft trimarans lift their hulls out of the water in strong gusts. The crowds were kept informed of the action by Irish Olympic sailor Ger Owens with a lively commentary.

The MOD70 Dun Laoghaire festival is the last of the major international sailing competitions to visit our shores. In July 2012, Dun Laoghaire played host to the ISAF Youth World Championships and the hosting of these major events projects Dun Laoghaire as a major sailing venue to a global media audience. Dun Laoghaire will be in international news again in November 2012 when the ISAF (world governing body for sailing) hosts its annual conference in the Royal Marine. It is at this conference that the classes and events for the Olympics in Rio 2016 will be finalized. During the conference the Rolex Sailor of the Year Award will be held and many of the major names in international sailing will be in Dun Laoghaire for an event that receives worldwide coverage.

2013 will continue to be a busy year for Dun Laoghaire. The MOD70 European Tour hopes to return in May and in August the National Yacht Club will host the European Laser Championships with Annalise Murphy competing in her local waters for the Radial title.

Fiona Bolger
VENUE PRESS OFFICER