Round Ireland duo make Cork

Digby Fox and Tim Swinburn are attempting to circumnavigate Ireland on beach cats - the mad fools

Wednesday August 7th 2002, Author: Digby Fox/James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
Setting off from Dublin on the afternoon of 2 August, veteran yachting journalist Digby Fox and colleague Tim Swinburn have made steady progress in their bid to become the first sailor to round Ireland on beach catamarans.

The valiant (barking mad) duo have reached Cork, 153 nautical miles around the track of 760nm aboard their two 16ft singlehanded Shadow catamarans.

"We've had light winds," says Fox, who is normally editor of the sailing programme Watersports World. "So we're averaging around 50nm through the water each day. A chunk of this is zig-zagging upwind, so we're looking forward to some downwind spinnaker days - that's when we can knock off serious mileage."

The challenge for the two is to complete the trip by the 21st. The pair are raising money to build a hydrotherapy pool in the UK, and readers can sponsor them on the charity's website - through a secure online donation scheme courtesy of justgiving.com.

Talking of the experience so far, Fox says: "Ireland is beautiful, so stopping off each night is fun. Passers-by are fascinated by the boats and what we're doing, mainly thinking we're nuts of course. And the Irish sailing clubs are wonderfully helpful.

"I must say thanks to David Maguire, David Brannigan, Dermot Mangan and the crew at Dublin Coastguard HQ - Maurice, Gerr, Liam, John and co. We check in each day and have a good chat. Diamond fellows, all."

Tim Swinburn says: "The highlight of the journey so far was a blasting sail from Ballycotton Head to Crosshaven - the wind increased to 15-18 knots and we caught a glimpse of the potential performance of these cats as we surfed for the setting sun past endless cliffs and headlands. Magic."

From Cork, the sailors head south-west towards Fastnet, then northwards up the Atlantic west coast. If the prevailing south-westerlies are steady, these extraordinary little catamarans, which have reached 19 knots so far on this trip, should fly.

Go Diggers!

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