#D2D – When the crew of Anthony O'Leary's Antix began collating weather predictions at mid-week for the approaching Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race writes W M Nixon, they found themselves in the happy position of being told on Thursday that when the wind expectations were combined with the boat's known performance capabilities, they might be looking at breaking the 24 hours for the dash to Dingle.
Quite. As of 1600 hours this afternoon (Saturday June 13th), we're looking at the dribble to Dingle. The two leaders – Lee Overlay Partners and Antix – are within a couple of miles of each other well seaward off Cork Harbour, and making a less-than-stellar two to four knots while turning slowly to windward in a local sou'westerly.
Antix continues to lead the fleet on handicap while Lee OP is eighth in IRC. But when things get as slow as this, the little guys somewhere astern are making hay just sitting still, so the lead which Antix has held virtually from the start could easily evaporate.
However, this year the boat has had her performance maximized for lighter conditions, so the slightest little bite to the breeze could see her getting ahead of Lee OP and holding on to her overall lead. That said, if the underlying northerly comes in again after the day's sea breeze effect has waned along the Cork coast, the Cookson 50 could be back in business.
Twenty-two miles astern, as of time of writing George Sisk's Farr 42 Wow is next in line, churning merrily along on course in a private breeze at better than 4 knots, while her closest contender, the Power Smiths' J/122 Aurelia, has lost most of her wind after an excellent race until now, and is headed off almost to a southerly course, while barely registering one knot.
Mike Murphy's characterful twin-ruddered JPK 9.60 Alchimiste continues to have a cracker of a race, lying second on IRC after Antix, but like the leader now obliged to turn to windward as the summer sou'wester works its way along the coast.
Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles have been putting in an impressive performance in the two-handed division which they lead by quite a margin with the Elan 340 Blue Eyes, on top of which they're lying eight overall in IRC, and have many larger fully crewed boats well astern of them on the water.
Captains Cool.....Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles with the Elan 340 Blue Eyes knew that it would be a mistake to mix it with the rest of the fleet in the thick of a potentially messy start, so they held back and started with room to spare........Photo: W M Nixon
.....but soon Blue Eyes was in perfect trim and going well, and already had closest two-handed rival Joker (David Gibbons) put in place astern. Photo: W M Nixon
They've done well sailing two-handed in the Dingle Race before, and at last night's inevitably messy running start, it was noted that the two guys stayed well out of the crowd to make a very conservative start. Yet they soon had themselves up and running in good order with spinnaker setting perfectly, picking off one boat after another until by the time the fleet was off the Wicklow coast, they were comfortably leading the two-handed division, and were even in the frame in the fully-crewed sector.
Signing off, it's noted that Lee OP and Antix are back on course for the Old Head of Kinsale and making better than four knots, but whether this is a temporary breeze or a return of the overall slack northerly remains to be seen. Either way, we won't be seeing a new course record with D2D 2015. But although tomorrow may seem some local southwest winds, the gradient is not expected to draw properly from the south until Monday afternoon, by which time everyone should be long since finished.