Day #1 (Start Time) 6 pm: The sky stayed grey, but the wind went away writes W M Nixon. There was almost a sense of anti-climax about the monochrome start to the 270-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race at 1800 hrs this afternoon, but the overall weather picture is so messy and unpredictable that it’s something of a relief the fleet got away at all in a northerly breeze much lighter than expected.
The view from the Committee Boat as shot by the NYC's John McNeilly is below.
and from the pin end....
and an onboard vid of hoisting the giant kite on Windfall from crew man Diarmaid Desmond
It took the little ’uns of the Mini 6.50 class to provide a spot of excitement. Dan Mill and Yannick Lemonnier in the mighty atom known as Port of Galway shot out of the pack like men possessed, zooming along at speeds better than 9 knots, and while their fellow mini-men in Louis Mulloy’s Blackshell Farm took a while to find their groove, they too were soon showing some much bigger boats around them that when it’s tricky downwind speed you seek, the Mini 6.50s have learned a thing or two over the years.
Naturally the biggest boat in the fleet, Mick Cotter’s 94ft Windfall, was leading on the water virtually from the get-go, but it was only at modest speeds around the 12 knot mark, while astern of her Conor Doyle’s Freya was having her work cut out to put clear water between herself and the minis.
Astern of her Andrew Hall’s J/125 was coming through the fleet like the proverbial hot knife in butter, and as they passed Bray Head with everyone engaged in their own manoeuvres of tacking to lee, Jackknife had only Windfall ahead of her, and was making better than 10 knots.
But with a wind full of holes and sloppy weather patterns being driven by confused conditions being pushing in from the east, it remains to be seen if the late evening’s predicted firmer breeze from the north actually materializes. Meanwhile, when we look at the tiny Port of Galway’s position and speed relative to that of the massive Windfall, we can’t help but wonder if the sailing world as we know it has been turned upside down. As for late entry Jackknife, the Welsh wonder, we note that she is currently leading in every division for which she is eligible.
Race Tracker below: