#d2d – Will he or won't he? D2D could mean dinner to dinner for enda's imoca 60 racing to dingle tonight, but only if he makes the start. The prospect of a new course record and the presence of top offshore racing boats has been giving an extra zing to tonight's 9.0pm start in Dublin Bay of the biennial 280–mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race writes W M Nixon.
With winds forecast to be between north and northeast, the underlying forecast pattern seems to favour the bigger boats. An area of softer breezes is expected to settle over the south coast tomorrow, but by that time the front runners will hope to be shaping up around the Fastnet Rock and Mizen Head to find stronger winds again off the Kerry coast.
The 31-strong fleet is a real quality turnout, as it includes the British IRC Champion 2015 in the form of Anthony O'Leary's Ker 40 Antix sailing for both Royal Cork and Baltimore SC. Also in with conditions which could be to her liking is Adrian Lee's Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners, whose CV includes overall win in the 2007 Fastnet when she was Ger O'Rourke's Chieftain, and overall win in the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600 in 2009 on the first major outing in the Lee ownership, which has since continued with other successes such as the outright win in the new Dubai-Muscat race.
But while the list of definite contenders is almost precisely as tabulated below with the fleet ranked by ratings, as of 1130hrs this morning it began to have the flavour of Hamlet without the Prince. News came through that Enda O Coineen's IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager – which he acquired last Autumn – had taken eleven days instead of the expected seven to do the necessary Kilcullen voyaging up from Lanzarote in the Canaries. She only got into Dun Laoghaire some time during the night, and with four days gone from his usual hectic schedule, the busy Galwayman was seriously contemplating withdrawing from the race as other matters required his urgent attention, and the boat wasn't race ready.
As we aim this preview towards a noon Friday deadline, the word is that Dun Laoghaire's finest are working on the Kilcullen team to persuade them to go, for it's possible that all she needs is tomorrow's breakfast and lunch to be put on board. In the conditions expected for the next 30 hours, an IMOCA 60 should be able to get from Dublin Bay to Dingle in less than 24 hours, thereby holding out the attractive prospect for her crew of the pre-race dinner in the National YC this evening, and dinner tomorrow night in one of Dingle's deservedly renowned eateries.
The Lee Overlay crew are Kerry bound tonight on the canting keel Cookson 50
But enough of speculation. Of the real rather than virtual entries, for Anthony O'Leary the Dingle Race is unfinished business, as he looked to have it in the bag with the silver Antix two years ago, but then one of the lowest rated boats in the fleet, Brian O'Sullivan and Frances Clifford's Oyster 37 Amazing Grace, came ghosting in with a new breeze and took the title.
Probably the best racing of all will be among the J/109s, which muster an excellent turnout of six boats which fit into a rating band between 1.021 at the top for Jay Bourke's Dear Prudence (sailing for Manhatttan Yacht Club, no less) right down to the Treanor/Sarratt/McGuinness-owned Jedi which has somehow got herself down to 1.009.
Antix (ex Catapult) is entered jointly by Royal Cork Yacht Club and Baltimore Sailing Club. Photo: Rick Tomlinson/Rolex
Be that as it may, the smart money will be on the Shanahan family with Ruth rated at 1.017, as racing the big one to Dingle is a Shanahan tradition covering three generations. They're doing it for the hosting National Yacht Club, but oddly enough the club which is putting up most boats is the neighbouring Royal St George, which appears on nine of the entries, a very encouraging sign of underlying club health.
While most boats are straight racing, there's a cruiser division within the fleet, and there are three two-handed racers, though noted two-handed sailor Liam Coyne with the First 36.7 Lula Belle is doing it fully crewed with his shipmates from Malta with whom he has sailed to cut a mighty swathe through the Middle Sea race in recent years.
So now as we post this, the question is: Will Enda, or won't he?
We will be continuing our coverage of the start with race updates after the start, there will be a piece in Sailing on Saturday first thing tomorrow morning, and you can of course follow the fleet on ISORA's Avery Crest Yellowbrick trackers through Afloat.ie. Follow Afloat.ie's coverage of the race on these handy links below:
WM Nixon's D2D 2015 blog (from Saturday am)
Dingle Skellig Hotel Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2015, start 2100hrs Friday June 12th. Entries listed by rating.
1 Kilcullen Voyager, (IMOCA Open 60 - Owen Clarke Design, Enda O'Coineen, Royal Galway YC) - 1.694
2 Lee Overlay Partners, (Cookson 50, Adrian Lee, Royal St George YC) - 1.340
3 Antix, (Ker 40, Anthony O'Leary, Royal Cork YC & Baltimore SC) - 1.210
4 WOW, (Farr 42, George Sisk, Royal Irish YC) - 1.124
5 Pogeen (Pogo 1050, John Gilmore, Strangford Lough YC) -1.096 (Cruiser)
6 Aquelina (J/122, James & Sheila Tyrrell, Arklow SC) – 1.078
7 Aurelia (J/122, Chris & Patanne Power Smith, RStGYC) – 1.077
8 Endgame (A 35, Frank Doyle, RCYC) – 1.027
9 Dear Prudence (J/109, Jonathan Bourke, ManhattanYC) – 1.021
10 Mojito (J109,Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox, Pwllheli SC) – 1.018
11 Ruth (J/109, Shanahan family, National YC) – 1.017
12 Wakey Wakey (J/109, Roger Smith, Poolbeg Y & BC), - 1.015
13 Powder Monkey (J/109, Chris Moore, NYC) – 1.014
14 Jedi (J/109, J Treanor, A Sarratt, M McGuinness, RIYC, NYC, RStGYC) – 1.009
15 Exhale (X-Yachts 362 Sport, Derry & Hilda Good, RCYC) – 1.009
16 First of September (First 435, Jerry Whiston, PY&BC) – 1.003
17 Lula Belle (First 36.7, Liam Coyne, NYC) – 1.002
18 Alchimiste (JPK 9.60, Mike Murphy, National YC) – 0.998
19 Blue Eyes (Elan 340, Colm Buckley & Simon Knowles, Howth YC) – 0.987 (2-handed)
20 Joker (Sigma 38, David Gibbons, Kinsale YC) – 0.982 (2-handed)
21 Windshift (Jeanneau Sunfast 37, Brendan Coghlan, RStGYC) – 0.980
22 Persistance (Sigma 38, Jerry Collins, RStGYC) 0.978 (Cruiser)
23 Yahtzee (Beneteau Oceanis 411) Richard Mossop, Dun Laoghaire MYC – 0.978 (Cruiser)
24 Red Rhum (Dehler db1, Jonathan Nicholson, RStGYC) – 0.968
25 Desert Star (Jeanneau Sunfast 37, Ronan O Siochru, RStGYC) – 0.966
26 Ipanema (Dehler 37 CR, Martin Breen Galway Bay SC) – 0.959 (Cruiser)
27 Legally Blonde (Beneteau First 31.7, Cathal Drohan, RStGYC) 0.951
28 Amazing Grace (Oyster 37, Brian O'Sullivan & Frances Clifford, Tralee Bay SC) – 0.928
29 Big Deal (Dehler 34, Derek & Conor Dillon, Foynes YC) - 0.922 (2-handed)
30 Lady Rowena (Sadler 34, David Bolger, RStGYC) 0.911 (Cruiser)
31 Polished Manx (Sigma 33, Kuba Szymanski, Douglas Bay YC) – 0.899