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D2D Fleet Slugging Along South Coast in Search of Speed & Sunshine

15th June 2017
On corrected time, Rockabill is ahead overall and second to George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW (pictured above) for line honours On corrected time, Rockabill is ahead overall and second to George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW (pictured above) for line honours

A Force 5 to 6 breeze from west’sou’west, blowing straight out of a rain-free sky along Ireland’s south coast, can make the Fastnet Rock, not to mention Dingle, seem a very long way away when you’re somewhere out at sea and still slugging past the Saltee Islands writes W M Nixon.

But even though the underlying weather pattern for this Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race is improving with a high building to the south, predictions that today (Thursday) might need quite a bit of getting through are proving very much on target.

With any race down Ireland’s east coast and out past the Tuskar towards the Saltees with the wind on the nose, the temptation to take best advantage of a fair tide has to be tempered with the fact that you’re sailing in boat-breaking wind-over-tide conditions. And it’s a bit tough on the crew too......

That said, it was a bit of a shock to hear the hugely experienced J/109 Sgrech equipe has had to retire into Rosslare with a serious leak, and a full analysis of that particular problem will be of special interest.

Up at the front of the fleet, however, they’re now in more regular seas and making less painful progress, but it’s still a case of slugging to windward as fast as the boat will go, and comfortable it is not.

Dun Laoghaire Dingle rockabill 1The Dublin Bay Rockabill VI crew that turned around from last weekend’s ICRA championship in Cork Harbour to be back in time for the D2D at Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday will be hoping to make up for the anti clmax of the final two races at Royal Cork due to gales with a good result in Dingle on Friday

Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI continues to put in a stellar performance, and it’s fascinating to see from the Tracker that in terms of tactics, they’ve never strayed far from the course baseline. They know they’re out-sailing any competitors, the need now is to keep as many boats covered as possible.

Some others have continued to take remarkable flyers, but their numbers are diminishing, for as it becomes clear they pulled an absolute loser, they’ve pulled but altogether, though currently Stephen O’Flaherty and David Cagney two-handed in the Sprit 54 Soufriere well to the south of the rest of the fleet are looking interesting, and a very solid core fleet of upwards of 33 boats continues to race seriously towards Dingle.

Dun Laoghaire Dingle soufriereThe Spirit 54 Soufriere (Stephen O'Flaherty) leads a group of boats passed the Muglins with Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), Cavatina (Ian Hickey) and Lambay Rules (Stephen Quinn) all leaving Dublin Bay together Photo: Afloat.ie

It may be a telling guide to the social skills of the sailing people of the different ports, but the fact is that Dun Laoghaire, Pwllheli and Crosshaven boats are dominating the fully-crewed Open Division, while Howth boats are first and second in the two-handed.

On corrected time, Rockabill is ahead overall and second to George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW for line honours (though they’re almost neck-and-neck) with a hundred miles now made good from the start, while the J/109 Mojito (Pater Dunlop & Vicky Cox) is five miles astern leading the J/109s and second on corrected time. The rugged veterans on the equally veteran Granada 38 Cavatina (Ian Hickey) from Cork continue to go well, they lead Racing 2 though they still have to put the Saltees astern, and in the two-handed division it’s Colm Buckley & Simon Knowles (Howth YC) leading in the J/109 Indian from clubmates Stephen Quinn and Dave Cotter in the J/97 Lambay Rules.

Read also: 

Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Tracker

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Form Guide: D2D Could Be Another J/Boats Triumph

Five Reasons Why Volvo 'D2D' is The Perfect Mini-Offshore Race

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Entry 'Exceeds all Expectations'

Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race Gets National Yacht Club Turbo Power

WM Nixon will be posting regular race updates on Afloat.ie here

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