#roundireland – (Monday morning, June 25th). There is an element of déjà vu about the early leaderboard as the yachts make slow progress along the south coast in the 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race. Inis Mor, second in 2010, leads on corrected time from Noonmark VI with the 2010 winner Tonnerre de Breskens III in third place.
Light and variable head winds make this edition very unpredictable at this early stage, and it is unlikely that we will see any clear definition until the larger boats round Blackrock on the Mayo coast sometime on Tuesday.
Top rated boat and on-the-water leader, the Volvo 70 Green Dragon, took a more offshore route down the Irish Sea, tacking well south of the Tuskar before tacking back out again at the Hook. The extra distance covered has not served her well and as she leads the fleet past the Old Head this morning, she lies 21st on corrected time.
NUI Galway crew work hard after the start yesterday. Photo: Bob Bateman
As is usual in the early stages, the faster boats tended to benefit from passing the Tuskar before the stronger flood tide set in and consequently dominated the early leaderboard. However, lighter heading winds balanced the equation and the medium sized boats have started to progress up the correct time rankings. Notable among these are Kirsten Donaldson's X332 Pyxis, Liam Coyne's Beneteau 36.7 LC Tyres Lulabelle from the host club and James Tyrell's Aquelina – the J122 from Arklow Sailing Club.
Although light winds prevail, there is good gusts near rain showers, here's Scottish entry EOS (an Elan 310) skippered by Rod Stuart going well after the start. Photo: Bob Bateman
Two-time Winner Cavatina (Granada 38), skippered this time by Royal Cork's Ian Hickey, lies mid fleet after taking the offshore route, but is enjoying some breeze advantage over those boats that stayed inshore. Whether this will last long enough to overcome the greater distance sailed, is yet to be seen.
Double winner Cavatina is in a mid fleet position this morning but there is still 600 miles to go. Photo: Bob Bateman
With most boats still having 600 mile to the finish, it would be foolhardy to predict finishing times and finishing order – like all Round Ireland races it won't be over until the bar in Wicklow Sailing Club is adorned by a large lady exercising her vocal chords.
Stay tuned for Afloat's next Round Ireland update this evening.
Meanwhile a selection of photos from yesterday's Round Ireland start from Gareth Craig are in our gallery below