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The Gallant 25 Race On Into The Night for Dingle

15th June 2017
The J109 Indian (Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles) had been comfortably leading the 2 handed division but retired to Dunmore East.  According to the race office, the pair reported no issues other than fatigue and the prospect of a continued poor forecast for the remainder of the south coast race to Dingle The J109 Indian (Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles) had been comfortably leading the 2 handed division but retired to Dunmore East. According to the race office, the pair reported no issues other than fatigue and the prospect of a continued poor forecast for the remainder of the south coast race to Dingle Photo: Afloat.ie

“Anybody who finishes this race deserves a prize......” So said one battered yet usually successful old salt after retreating into Dunmore East writes W M Nixon. And for a while early this afternoon, retirals were coming so thick and fast that it looked like there’d be enough official prizes for everyone - maybe even with some to spare - in Dingle at Saturday night’s prize-giving.

But in fact there are still 25 boats out there racing into the night in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017, and they’re a bizarre mixture. For instance, the battle for the two-handed Division is now between Derek & Conor Dillon, Father and Son from Foynes with the Dehler 34 Big Deal, and Stephen O’Flaherty and David Cagney, the Odd Couple from Howth with the stately Spirit 54 Soufriere.

big deal1With the two front runners beaten by the early afternoon’s rough weather, the lead in the Two-Handed Division was taken by Derek and Conor Dillon from Foynes on the Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes, and they still hold it going into the second night. Photo: W M Nixon

Former leaders Indian (J/109) and Lambay Rules (J/92) have both given it best, with one retired to Dunmore East and the other shaping a course back towards Arklow. But down off the South Coast, Soufriere and Big Deal are still doing the business, and with the headwinds at last showing signs of slackening, they’re likely to stay doing it.

Up at the front of the fleet, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI still leads on the water, overall and in Racing I as she nears Ballycotton. But she’s having the devil’s own job in putting any truly significant distance between herself and the pesky trio of J/109s Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo), and Ruth (Shanahan family), while in the midst of this bunch of leaders, the powerful First 44.7 Lively Lady (Derek Martin) is clearly having a fine old time, and going well enough to have the potential to move into second on the water.

Port of Galway Mini Yacht(Above and below) Life ain't a bed of roses onboard a Mini in the 2017 D2D

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In such conditions, size really does matter, so spare a thought for the two little Mini 650s which are still battling along, with Port of Galway Green (Yannick Lemonnier & Dan Mill) leading from Port of Galway Black (Marcus Ryan). They’re certainly punching way above their weight, and their ability to do so should result in more Mini 650s next time round.

Meanwhile for now, other successes include the Tyrrell family’s very attractive J112E Aquelina leading the Cruiser Division, while the tough team from Cork on Ian Hickey’s Cavatina continue to lead in Racing 2.

CavatinaThe vintage Granada 38 Cavatina, a double Round Ireland winner

After today’s blood-letting, we’d expect at least two dozen boats to make it to Dingle. It’s more than enough to form a quorum. But as for now, in searching every source for news of any imminent improvement in the weather, we note that Met Eireann have alerted the farming community to be ready for hay-making next week.

Quite. Could we suggest that, in 2019, the date of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race is placed in a fortnight-long time slot, but the actual date isn’t finally set until that very welcome alert is given?

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