Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.50 Rockabill VI has opened out a ten mile lead on the first of the chasing J/109s Mojito (Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox) in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2017 writes W M Nixon. In approaching Dursey Head, the Rockabill crew are sensibly taking the option of giving the headland a wide berth, as going too close to such a steep coastline can result in both wind shadow, and an even more confused sea state at the point itself.
Ten miles astern at Mizen head, Mojito is nearer to the land and her speed has fallen to 5.1 knots while Rockabill continues reaching at a brisk 7 knots in an easing southwesterly breeze which may see her speed reduced shortly, as Valentia is reporting a 9 mph southerly.
However, Valentia wind reports have to be taken with a dose of salt, as the actual met station is not on Valentia Island, but in the western suburbs of Cahirsiveen. It’s an impressive looking setup, but there’s no way it is recording the actual wind conditions on Valentia Island’s Atlantic coasts.
As for the rest of the fleet still in this demanding race, Stephen O’Flaherty and David Cagney in the Spirit 54 Soufriere pulled off a good move in laying out to sea last night, as they found the new sou’wester which has brought them in as neat as you please past the Fastnet in company with the other J/109s Juggerknot (Andrew Algeo) and Ruth (Ben Shanahan), which had struggled a bit to find their way out from hugging the coast.
Thus Soufriere now leads the Two-Handed Division from Derek and Conor Dillon with the Dehler 34 Big Deal, but with the wind continuing to ease it’s going to be quite a challenge keeping the big long Soufriere travelling well in the confused leftover sea. And even while we’ve been writing this at 1515 hrs, the challenges being faced are very evident with Mojito briefly in a flat spot at the Mizen with her speed down to a knot, but Soufriere and Rockabill continue at 6.5 knots.