The Trimaran Colt Cars GB is a Ron Holland design and was built in 1982 as 60 footer (length: 18.28 m) in sandwich with a 7/8 rig. This boat went through many hands, and was renamed differently times, e.g. as Red Star Night Star, Red Star, NCR and latest as “Spirit of Ireland“.
Ron Holland (living in Vancouver, Canada) is a yacht designer, born 1947 in Auckland/New Zealand who established himself in the 1970s by racing boat designs. His yachts have been very successfully. Nowadays Holland is known for his superyachts such as Mirabella V and Ethereal.
The Trimaran “Spirit of Ireland” has behind a remarkable history of many offshore dramas.
It was co-designed by Rob(ert) James (and supportively built together with his wife Dame Naomi). Rob was sailing successfully racing trimarans, e.g. 53 ft. Great Britain IV (Derek Kelsall design), Colt Cars GB, Brittany Ferries and others in major events. Rob James crewed in the Whitebread Round-the-World Race (WRTWR) in 1973. Later he entered again the race in 1977 as skipper of Great Britan IV (which already demonstrated its skills in 1978 having won the Round Britain Race with skipper Chay Blyth together with Rob James).
Inspired by his success Rob let build Cold Cars GB for different races, e.g. the Round Britain and Ireland Race and single handed Transatlantic races. Rob started on board of Cold Cars GB on 9th November 1982 for the the Route du Rhum, but had to abandon two days later because of broken backstage. He returned to Spain on 11th Nov.
On Cold Cars GB Namoi and Rob sailed together in 1982 winning the Tour de Grande Bretagne. Respectively here to name is Rob’s wife Naomi (originally from NewZealand, born 1949). She followed her husband sailing solo an own boat when he sailed in 1977 the WRTWR. She was the first woman to sail single handed round Cape Horn (that’s why the “Dame”). Lately Naomi received her Ph.D in Philosophy from University College Cork in 2006.
Sadly Rob died accidentally on 22nd March 1983 being drowned while sailing his boat two weeks before Naomi expected to give birth to their child (as reported in NY Times). Rob James only became 36 when he fell over board at the entrance to Salcombe Harbour (on England’s Devonshire coast). The mainsail had been lowered prior to entering the harbour and Rob slipped while folding it. He fell onto the safety netting between the main hull and one of the outriggers which gave way under his weight, depositing him into the icy-cold sea (so we read from Guy Gurney in Yachting Magazine, edition: 06/1983).
Rob was not alone on board. His cries were heard by three other men aboard who tried to turn the boat around. Cold Cars GB that time had no engine, and with only a small jib up it was impossible to tack. Manoeuvring the boat back as the yacht was downwind of Rob’s position was a real problem. At least the crew made it after a series of passes a crew member jumped in and swam to Rob with a rope attached. Rob already was unconcious at this time. The crew found it impossible to get a grip on him to pull him back aboard as he was heavy with foul weather clothing (but no life jacket). The man who had jumped to rescue Rob was fighting for his own survival suffering badly from hypothermia and the remaining two aboard had a hard struggle to pull him up the high-sided main hull to safety. Rob’s body was picked up later by a helicopter.
The boat itself went through many dramas till it received the name “Spirit of Irland” ten years later.
After the death of Rob James the boat was sailed in 1983 by Jeff Houlgrave and Butch Darlymple Smith for the Transat en Double they didn’t finish. Another try they gave in November 1983 for the Ploymouth-Villamoura race they had won.
Jeff sailed the boat in 1984 for the OSTAR Europe 1. But he had to abandoned it. The boat was dismasted. Jeff and the Tri were picked up by a cargo ship.
It is not clear about the circumstances, but the boat appeared again on the horizon on the race circuits. It was Don Wood who rescued the abandoned boat, anyhow… and gave her the new name “Red Star – Night Star” in October 1984. He sailed it successfully in 1985 with 2nd place in July during the Tour de Grande Bretagne race.
Years later the boat received the name it has nowadays in 1992 (see upper picture). The new skipper Rob Deasy sailed it for the Euorpe 1 STAR. But Rob collided with a ship and was forced to abandon. After 57 days adrift the yacht landed on Flores island in the Azores where she was salvaged. Please read on the fully story of this uniquely boat at histoiredeshalfs.com
It seems Trimaran Spirit of Ireland is a fighter… and it is sailing under a “protecting hand”. It was seen in 2006 on a mooring at the Royal Belau Yacht Club, Koror (Palau) after the skipper Thomas had refurbished the boat in a field near Galway (Ireland) before taking off for a circumnavigation.
Actually the boat is for sale since 2014 in East Asia (listed at a prize of US$ 201,672). It deserves a sailor/owner/skipper who takes new challenges. – Last year the tri got a new motorization (55 HP Volvo D255/Saildrive). At a total weight of 7.5 tons it gives accommodation with two single pilot berths in the saloon and two double berth cabins with a fully 2 meter hight (through all cabins)… at a total sails area of 170 m2 (batten mainsail: 100 m2 (2007) + genoa: 70 m2 (2008)).