Remembering Denis Doyle and Moonduster
In an extract from his book, “Racing Round Ireland – A Sailing Miscellany” (2010), Fred Drew recalls the impact of the legendary Moonduster on the
Is the ‘Round Ireland’ a one horse race? With a record of achievement like that of the late Denis Doyle and Moonduster some might think so – especially rivals.
What Red Rum was to the Grand National, Moonduster was to the Round Ireland; Moonduster was overall winner of the race on two occasions, 1982 and 1984, in the latter year setting up a record Round Ireland circumnavigation time of 88 hours, 15 minutes and 43 seconds. A record which stood until 1990.
Regardless of handicap, the greatest thrill to a Round Ireland competitor is being first across the finishing line. ‘Line Honours’ as it is known, were taken by Moonduster on no less than three occasions, 1982, 1984 and 1988.
Moonduster was second across the finishing line in 1992, third
in 1986 and 1990 and fourth in her final race in 2000 – but only 3 seconds behind Cracklin Rosie (Roy Dickson) who was third.
A study of Moonduster’s race times shows their uncanny consistency. The difference between the 1986 and 1988 races is only 41 seconds and the difference between 1982 and 1992 is only 65 minutes! The difference between the 1996 and 1998 times is only 52 minutes.
Overall Moondusters average circumnavigation time for 9 races was 4 days, 13 hours and 34 seconds. To put this in perspective, in the entire history of the race only 33 boats have completed the race in less than this time. What a record! What a man! What a boat!
At every Round Ireland race, Moonduster’s traditional berth alongside the North Pier remains empty in tribute to the memory of a great competitor.
Moonduster’s Racing Record
Have you got your own tales from the mighty 'Duster in the Round Ireland? Share them with a comment below!