There was no deluge of overnight finishers, no sing of meteorological miracles or surging mass of racers passing Howth and heading on to Wicklow as the final stages of the Round Ireland slowed to a crawl in the short hours of darkness. The tracker shows plenty of boats stopping, spinning, and presumably anchoring off the coast of Northern Ireland as the wind dropped to a zephyr and the tide pulled at the fleet like toy boats in a draining bath.
But, firstly, Afloat.ie offers official congratulations to Tonnerre de Breskens 3, now sitting pretty in Wicklow with the major challenges to their title punctured below the waterline. Their race was near impeccable, and they add the Round Ireland win to their recent string of RORC offshore victories. To them, the glory, and it is all well deserved. Your correspondent pegged them as favourited, despite the Water Rat's predictions that Inis Mor had more in store.
Inis Mor, as it happens, slipped quietly into harbour yesterday evening at 7.38pm to take second overall. Then an overnight lull in finishers was broken by Fujitsu coming home at ten minutes to five, followed by the impressive young crew of Pride of Wicklow at ten to six, who drew a roar of appreciation from those waiting on the quays. Visit Malta Puma were next in at 6.35, and now the long wait for the next finishers, a trio of Aquelina, Bejaysus and Daft.com.
Cavatina's hoped-for intervention failed to materialise, and they have yet to cross the mouth of Belfast Lough, having spent the night close inshore where they could anchor against the tide.
Indeed there's a long way to go for those still out on the racecourse. A string of ten boats are crossing Dundrum Bay off Newcastle, with the rest in a cluster near Cushendall. For some of these competitors, depending on the weather, the race could last close to a full week, if they persist.
A word of congratulations to Wicklow town for making a proper festival of the race this year and showing its potential for growth. Official figures suggested 10,000 people hit Wicklow last weekend, but those involved were ebulliantly talking it up to 15,000 or more, which is no small achievement. It goes to show that despite its status as a sport that's not built for spectators, everyone loves to party with sailors.
Questions have been raised about the future of the race, however, in today's Irish Times. Article HERE.
Have your say on the racing in our forum thread HERE.
The race tracker is HERE, and the official site is HERE.
More on the Round Ireland Yacht Race:
Round Ireland Yacht Race 2010 Review
Round Ireland Yacht Race, Ireland's top offshore fixture A Round up of 80 stories on the 2010 Round Ireland Yacht Race