Day #2 - 9am The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Dingle racers have left the murkier weather of the east coast astern, and this morning finds them reaching along the south coast in what could best be described as serviceable northerlies writes W M Nixon. It’s not enough to get Conor Fogerty’s Figaro 3 up on the foils and steaming along, but sufficient to have line honours leader Mick Cotter’s 94ft Windfall 45 miles clear ahead of next-in-line Jackknife (Andrew Hall).
Having taken an offshore curve during the night to avoid lighter winds reported in the Cork Harbour area, Windfall is off Toe Head and closing in towards the Fastnet at 13.6 knots, with 87 miles to the line in Dingle, though with the prospect of winds increasingly on the nose as she closes to the finish. The likelihood of a 24 hour time at 1800 hrs this evening is very much touch-and-go.
Forty-five miles back, Jackknife has led the fleet on a course closer to the coast, and is currently off the entrance to Cork Harbour and on line to pass close to the Old Head of Kinsale. She has built up a 12 mile lead on the next group, which includes Conor Doyle’s Freya (despite lobster pot snags), Chris & Patanne Power Smith’s Aurelia, and Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 1080 Rockabill VI, all of them on speeds around the 9 knot level.
In IRC overall, Jackknife has held the lead for most of the night, but occasionally Rockabill VI has slipped into the top slot, but either way the top three have continued to be Jackknife, Rockabill VI and the J/109 Outrajeous (Richard Colwell & Johnny Murphy HYC, skippered by Johnny Murphy).
Fourth place is particularly interesting, as it’s held by Windfall, which benefitted from getting swiftly clear of the messy, gusty and increasingly tide-adverse conditions in the Saltees-Tuskar area in the small hours of the morning, and is now sailing in better conditions than the rest of the fleet, fulfilling expectations that she’d be sailing her own race for much of what is now a processional dash to Dingle.
In fact, even as we write Windfall’s happier circumstances have seen her move into third ahead of Outrajeous, which in turn - now in fourth - leads from Aurelia in fifth with the noted talents of The Prof O’Connell and ISORA’s Peter Ryan on board, while nearby Mark Mansfield aboard John O’Gorman’s Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie has been sailing a course slightly further offshore, and it’s done them no harm at all – Hot Cookie has moved up to sixth on IRC.
The Mini 6.50 Port of Galway (Dan Mill and Yannick Lemonnier) continues to delight with her performance, with this mighty atom at mid-fleet among much larger craft – she’s currently due south of Mine Head and showing a speed burst of 11 knots.
As for the most senior boat in the fleet, Paul Moxon’s 50ft 1939-built Fred Shepherd-designed yawl Amokura, she has been having a good race for a boat of her vintage, and is currently south of Tramore and making 8.3 knots in the right direction.
Today should be a reward for yesterday’s disagreeable weather and the sometimes frustrating rounding of Ireland’s southeast corner, but for the smaller craft there’s the knowledge that for those still racing through Friday, the unstable wind is likely to continue backing, and though it may eventually go round to the southwest to provide a favourable breeze for the final forty miles to Dingle, it will be a matter of luck whether or not you’re best placed to benefit from it.
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