The Volvo Round Ireland yacht race gets underway from Wicklow Sailing Club this Saturday with over 60 boats from across Europe setting sail in the summer sunshine.
This year’s race marks the 40th anniversary of the biennial event and it has grown strongly since the first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats.
It will take in the whole of Ireland and all its Islands in a race covering a little over 700 nautical miles and will take most competitors between three and a half days and five and a half days depending on weather conditions.
The course record was set by the Sultanate of Oman’s flagship trimaran, ‘Musandam-Oman Sail’ who completed the course in 38 hours 37 minutes and 7 seconds in 2016.
There will be a full programme of events for spectators and supporters which will run during the race build up, on the day of the race start and throughout the 2018 race week.
The main focus of this will be the race start day on Saturday with a Family Fun Day starting at 10 am at Black Castle and events taking place along the Quayside as boats prepare to depart.
Entertainment will run throughout the day, including the live showing of World Cup games on a giant outdoor screen.
There will be over 60 boats taking part from Ireland, the UK, Holland, France, Finland and Norway.
The majority of boats are between 35 and 50 feet with a strong contingent of sailing school entries as well as Defence Forces teams.
This is the second time that Volvo have been involved as sponsor having come on board for the 2016 race.