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O'Rourke predicts big winds

20th June 2008

Volvo Ocean Race hopeful Ger O'Rourke is expecting a wholly different weather pattern to emerge today to what was predicted just days ago for the Round Ireland.

Gale force winds on the nose could be the order of the day as far as the Fastnet Rock for the big boats.

The weather systems approaching Ireland are highly unpredictable, but O'Rourke and navigator Jochem Visser reckond a small low pressure system could generate southerly winds up to forty knots through Sunday, before dying off altogether as another low pressure system builds to the south-west of Ireland for Monday.

O'Rourke says his information indicates a veering breeze that will keep many boats close hauled for much of the south coast.

O'Rourke and crew headed out into Dublin Bay yesterday to practice manouevres in their VO70 in easterly breeze of up to 17 knots, with speeds to match.

For many of the international group on board, it was the first time in the Volvo 70, so tentative steps were taken when it came to boathandling.

Crewmember Eric O'Connor said that they were viewing the race as a training run to get some of their boathandling down and work out gremlins or possible alterations to be made when the boat is taken out of the water for an overhaul.

Unlike the Green Team, McConnell's Chieftain is a used boat with plenty of miles on the clock already, which some say will be telling when it comes to boatspeed.

However, unlike their compatriots on the Green Team, day one on the water, although longer than expected as routines were worked out, went off without any breakages.

"There is a lot to learn," said O'Rourke of his new acquisition.

"The only thing she has in common with Chieftain is a canting keel."

O'Rourke's son, Sean, and daughter Dee were both on board for the maiden voyage, with Dee staying on board as part of the 12-person crew for the Round Ireland.


Afloat has all you need to track the BMW Round Ireland Yacht race

Check back for our live updates, posted several times a day, with podcasts straight from the boats while they're out on the racecourse.

Get the official news from the race committee on the official race website - www.roundirelandyachtrace.ie

Get real-time live information on boats' race position with the race's official race tracker - Link here

Check what the weather's doing hour-by-hour with - Windguru

Check how your favourite rates against the others in the unofficial Afloat stakes

Afloat.ie - we've got the Round Ireland all rounded up.

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