Thank you George

After setting a new record in the Volvo Round Ireland race Rambler 88 took a number of the junior members from Wicklow sailing club on the sail of their lives back from Wicklow to Dun Laoghaire. On behalf of Wicklow Sailing Club I would to thank George David and his team on Rambler for this wonderful gesture. The youngsters will remember it for a long time! (Hal Fitzgerald commodore WSC)

Rambler with the Cup


The 2016 Volvo Round Ireland Yacht race gets underway. The Mono-hull fleet, with some 56 boat, gets away first


Followed just 10 minutes later by the multi-hull fleet, which includes the 3 MOD 70’s(Concise 10, Musandam Oman Sail and Phaedo3) as well as a boat representing Wicklow Sailing club (Trilogic)

Phaedo 3 at the start of the Volvo Round Ireland 2016
Phaedo 3 and Musandam Oman Sail battling it out at the start

Dream or Two Fortissimo

Fortissimo promises a Dream or Two in Volvo Round Ireland

This year’s Volvo Round Ireland Race can’t wait to welcome Fortissimo, (otherwise known as 40ssimo!), entered by Dream or Two Sailing.


The first generation Class 40 has a usable minimal interior for cruising, yet still has a good all round performance to compete with other Class 40s according to skipper James Close: “What appealed to us about the Class 40 was that they are built specifically to cross oceans in safety. It has to be one of the safest platforms to do offshore sailing from, yet also fast and exhilarating.”

Dream or Two was originally the name of a boat that was used to teach RYA courses in Gosport, before the owner upped sails to explore the world on his boat and passed the RYA school into the capable hands of Jannine Stoodley, who ran it for close to 10 years. The school now offers racing, cruising and day sails on Fortissimo, which was built in 2008 and launched in 2010. She is 4.7 tonnes, and the control and safety with which she operates makes the top speed to date of 22knots even more breathtaking.

James grew up sailing in Portsmouth Harbour in a Mirror Dinghy, before progressing to various racing classes. After university he began crewing in a myriad of weekend races in the Solent for almost a decade, before completing the RYA Yachtmaster Course in 2013. His day job is now Yachtmaster Instructor and Skipper of Fortissimo. (Slightly different to his original intention of becoming a graphic designer!)

What does James love most about being on board Fortissimo?

‘It is superb sailing, as you have ‘seat of the pants’ excitement of dinghy sailing, combined with the ability to go to far afield places relatively quickly. The racing is at sensational speeds, often touching 20knots – yet in complete control. The cruising is revolutionary, as we can comfortably cross the channel in around 6 to 8 hours which means we can have real croissants in France for breakfast and by late afternoon be in a proper pub for dinner back home!’

The tightly-knit crew consists of elite sailors, each one an integral part. Among them is Andrew Smith, one of the directors of Dream or Two Sailing, who has raced around the world as a navigator, and first mate Ben Turner, who is (very usefully) trained as a rigger. With both long-term and new clients of A Dream or Two on board, the combined sailing experience is impressive.

James mentions that he had ‘always dreamed of sailing a Class 40, as it seemed to fill the gap nicely between dinghies and yachts’.

Seems like A Dream or Two has lived up to its name! We’re looking forward to welcoming you and the crew of Fortissimo to Wicklow this month, James!


Farming family takes to high seas


Last week, Wexford suckler and tillage farmer Keith Miller was busy cutting silage in Rosslare. But this month, Keith and his daughters, Alice and Hannah, take on the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race against multi-million euro super yachts.

Dad Keith is a 30-year veteran of the Rosslare Harbour Lifeboat. Alice (23) has followed in his footsteps, joining the lifeboat crew in Galway, where she is a student.

Last September, Keith decided to buy a boat, and so the family set off for Strangford, Co Down, to collect the Andante, a 36ft cruiser which is three decades old. On the way back, they got the notion of entering the Volvo Round Ireland race. They have trained by sailing northwards from Galway back to Wexford, and although Keith says “we won’t be first across the line”, they could do very well on their handicap.

The family trio is looking forward to racing alongside some of the biggest and most expensive yachts in the world, yachts costing millions, whereas Keith says the Andante was “the price of a car”.

They face up to seven gruelling days surviving on minimal sleep, damp clothes, wet bedding and battling the currents of the wild Atlantic and, according to Hannah (22), making do with dry shampoo and baby wipes. “Dad is the main cook, hot food, cooked in a pot and eaten out of a bowl. We’ll have fresh meat to start us off,” she said.

Alice is delighted to be sailing with her dad and her sister, Hannah, a musician who is assistant principal French horn in the Kuopio symphony orchestra in Finland.

For Keith, safety is the main priority. “We have gone above and beyond with safety; we have personal locator beacons if someone falls overboard, life rafts, life jackets, I don’t want to have to be rescued by a lifeboat, I’d never hear the end of it,” he said.

The race starts from Wicklow Harbour at 1pm on Saturday, June 18. It’s the biggest-ever race in the competition’s 36-year history, with a record number of 65 yachts competing, including the Sultanate of Oman’s flagship trimaran.

Organisers are expecting tens of thousands of spectators to travel to Wicklow to witness the incredible spectacle for the weekend of the Volvo Round Ireland, and the local chamber has put on a Sailfest for the weekend, including the Taste of Wicklow on the Sunday to welcome visitors.

Euro Car Parks

David Cullen back after 18 years aboard Euro Car Parks  

David Cullen, CEO of Ireland’s leading parking provider, credits being useless at football as a kid with his decision to get into sailing.  A native of Raheny, he has come from dragging a canoe and windsurfer down the cliff to Kilbarrack Creek to entering his J109, Euro Car Parks, into the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland fleet. Thanks to his exceedingly tolerant wife Deirdre, he has been able to devote much of his spare time to sailing and preparing for the race. 

Describing his crew as ‘friends for life’, they have sailed together on a myriad of different boats, from half tonners to V065s. When asked what they have in common, David answered:

 ‘Age and baldness, but also a steely determination to win.’ 

Euro Car Parks

Euro Car Parks

Why are they taking part in the Volvo Round Ireland?

 ‘It’s 18 years since I won the Round Ireland on Jeep Cherokee, a Volvo 60, so it’s a bit overdue. My upcoming 50th birthday inspired me to do something I enjoyed so many times previously, and the fever has spread to my pals.’

What kind of provisions will the crew be keeping themselves fuelled with?

Well, after sampling a few different freeze dried options, they decided the best plan was to indulge in some of Dublin’s best Asian cuisine. Meals will be prepared by Kanoodle Restaurant to be taken on board. The crew has yet to decide who gets the important task of reheating!

They are looking forward to the breath-taking scenery that comes with taking part in the Volvo Round Ireland, but also to the camaraderie, stories and jokes that will no doubt be shared on board. David  is confident that there will be no arguments while at sea.. unless anyone disagrees with him!

Well, we hope disagreements are kept to a minimum and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming you to Wicklow, David!