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Rockabill VI Opens The Gap in Dingle Race

16th June 2017
Rockabill VI is leader on the water, in IRC overall, and in Racing 1 Rockabill VI is leader on the water, in IRC overall, and in Racing 1 Photo: Afloat.ie

This morning Paul O’Higgin’s JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI has finally begun to see a more confortable gap between her overall lead position in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017 and the chasing trio of J/109s Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo), and Ruth (Shanahan family) writes W M Nixon.

Mojito DingleWelsh J109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox) is miles-plus behind race leader Rockabill Photo: Afloat.ie

Off west Cork and approaching Baltimore, the fleet leader is sailing in 15mph of southwest breeze with 7 miles-plus between her and Mojito. Rockabill VI is leader on the water, in IRC overall, and in Racing 1. The strong headwinds eased during the night, but having been slightly north of west to favour those who stayed along the coast, it has now backed southwest, though in generally gentler conditions with nothing too unpleasant expected in the weather department today as the underlying barometric tendency is to rise.

Ruth J109 Ben shanahanThe Shanahan Family J109 Ruth, the defending D2D champion, is battling towards Dingle Photo: Afloat.ie

This backing to the southwest had been predicted, and Stephen O’Flaherty and David Cagney decided to take a punt on it by laying well offshore through the night on starboard tack in the Spirit 54 Soufriere, which is racing in the two-handed division. They’re now back on port tack currently laying a course which will comfortably take them to seaward past the Fastnet and the great headlands and massive sea rocks beyond along the West Cork and Kerry coasts.

Andrew_Algeo_J109_juggerknotAndrew Algeo's J109 Juggerknot Photo: Afloat.ie

At the moment, however, it is not paying immediate dividends as they’ve slipped to fourth in Two-Handed, where the lead continues to be held by Derek and Conor Dillon in the Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes, while Christine Howard in the Jenneau 45 A J Wanderlust is second. But they are both well to the east and close together, currently 11 miles east-by-south of the Old Head of Kinsale. So as today rolls along, it will be intriguing to see if the Soufriere move pays off.

Lead positions overnight have remained unchanged, with the Tyrrells in the J/112E Aquelina currently off Clonakilty to maintain a position which has them in front of many out-and-out racers in addition to continuing to hold the lead in the Cruising Class, while Ian Hickey’s Granada 38 Cavatina continues to lead Racing 2. At the time of writing (0800 Friday) she’s close off Kinsale which has proven too much of a temptation for a couple battered crews and boats, but Cavatina has resolutely tacked seaward towards the Old head of Kinsale.

Lively Lady Rodney MartinThe Martin Brothers on Royal Irish Yacht Lively Lady have retired into Kinsale after a spirited run that saw them as high as fifth overall at one point on IRC Photo: Afloat.ie

However, Derek Martin’s First 44.4 Lively Lady has retired into Kinsale, and it rather looks as though Liam Coyne’s Beneteau 36.7 Lula Belle – formerly a class winner in the stormiest Round Britain & Ireland Race - is doing the same.

But ahead and astern, others continue to race on, and though the Mini 650 Port of Galway Green (Yannick Lemonnier & Dan Mill) has a lead of six miles on fellow-mini Port of Galway Black (Marcus Ryan) in the Ballycotton area, both continue to compete with full-on enthusiasm.

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