#vdlr – As Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 reaches its halfway stage, leaderboards are shaping up across 29 classes. The strong wind sixth edition of Ireland's biggest sailing event has produced some impressive performances on the water.
With a strong wind warning there was alway going to be gear damage on day two of the massive 415-boat regatta. Battered sailors returned to harbour tonight with plenty of stories from the race course of retirals, torn sails, crews overboard, capsizes and dismastings. A lifeboat call–out and worrying stories of yachts straying into the Dublin Port shipping lanes only added to the drama of day two.
It marked a busy day for both for competitors and the race committee who were forced to postpone racing for the dinghies and one designs until lunch time as southerly winds touched 30-knots yesterday morning.
With all classes aiming for either two or three races today, results in the 415-boat fleet were still being computed in some classes at 7pm partly due to the late start of the one designs.
Racing started with the bumper 25–boat IRC offshore class and a start close to the Dun Laoghaire shoreline. Adrian Lee's canting keel Cookson 50 Lee Overlay took an immediate advantage in the heavy airs to lead the fleet south and now leads the division from George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Third is Kinsale visitor Freya, an X–442, skippered by Conor Doyle.
The offshore race was not without incident and in the closing stages in the afternoon the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat was called to render assistance to a man overboard from the Arklow J122 Aquelina with winds reaching 25 knots in choppy seas.
Mobile phone footage gives a glimpse of the strong wind start to this morning's IRC offshore race
Three straight wins for Royal Cork Yacht Jump Juice puts skipper Conor Phelan in the running for the top overall performance in the regatta so far. The former Commodore's Cupper is now five points clear of the Clyde's Corby 37 Auora (R Stuart B Ram) in the seven boat fleet. Struggling to perform so far, however, in this big boat class, is the new C&C 30 Checkmate XVI under skipper Nigel Biggs from the Royal Irish.
The Ker 37 Jump Juice (Conor Phelan) took wins in the first three races of the series in Class Zero
Bon Exemple (XP33) owned by X Yachts GB from the Royal Irish Yacht Club leads Class one
In class one, two Royal Irish yachts, Bon Exemple, an XP33 and Paul O'Higgins' Corby 33 Rockabill V are separated by a single point at the top of the 16–boat fleet. Third is another Dublin Bay boat, the A35 Gringo skippered by Tony Fox of the National Yacht Club.
South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club Injenious J97 is the leader of class two from Howth Half–Tonner Checkmate XV. Third is Craig Latimer's J/92 Wildebeest V from the Clyde Cruising Club.
The Howth X 302 Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) is counting two wins and a second to lead clubmate Paddy Kyne's sistership by a single point in the 11–boat class three. Third is another Howth boat, the Corby 25 Fusion (Richard Colwell/Ronan Cobbe).
The battle of the Howth X 302s – Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) leads Maximus (Paddy Kyne) below
After three races sailed Royal Irish yachts have taken the lead in cruiser class four. Paul Colton's Quarter Tonner Cri Cri has the same five points as the Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Ballyholme entry Starflash (Alan Morrison and John Simms)but leads by virtue of her two race wins today.
The Royal Ulster Yacht Club and Ballyholme entry Starflash (Alan Morrison and John Simms) is on the same points as cruisers four leader Cri-Cri
Quarter–tonner Quest (Barry Cunningham/Jonathon Skerritt) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club looks in great shape on the upwind leg of race two in Cruisers four...
...until a dismasting only moments later
Pat Kelly's first race advantage in the J109 National Championships, being sailed as part of the regatta, turned out to be short–lived when Thursday's race was scrubbed due to an error in the starting sequence. The aim is to re-run the race tomorrow. Kelly, however, did not let the setback deter him and took two further wins today. It puts the Howth boat at the top of the leaderboard and ahead of pre-regatta favourites, John Maybury's Joker II, who counts two seconds.
An error in the starting sequence in race one (above) for the J109s caused the race to be scrubbed on Thursday night
Alan Harper's Leaky Roof 2 from the Clyde takes a second race win to lead the Sigma 33s
In a fine turn out of 16 Sigma 33s Alan Harper's Leaky Roof 2 from the Clyde Cruising Club leads Belfast lough rival Squawk (Paul Prentice). Third is local yacht Popje skippered by Ted McCourt of the National Yacht Club.
Three race wins gives Ian Mathews and Keith Poole the lead in the 20–boat Flying Fifteen class.
According to forecasters, it looks like there will be more blustery south-westerlies for racing tomorrow, moderating slightly for the final races on Sunday morning.
The vintage wooden Huff of Arklow raced by Cremyll Charity is sailing under the Royal St George Yacht Club burgee. Read more on Huff's participation in VDLR 2015 in WM Nixon's blog tomorrow on Afloat.ie here