Day one 1815hrs: If you want to cut a dash in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016, make sure your boat’s a silver bullet writes W M Nixon. The two grey flyers – Eric de Turckheim’s A13 Teasing Machine from France and George David’s Rambler 88 from the US – emerged as the true stars of a ferociously close start in which other boats seemed to have done marginally better, but turned out to have been OCS.
And as of 1815hrs this Saturday evening, they have been powering ahead to such good effect that the lead in IRC Overall has been bouncing between the two of them.
The hoped-for fair winds for the early stages had faded before the start, and it has been hard on the wind or beating all the way since the fleet set out at 1300hrs from Wicklow, with Teasing Machine and Rambler being in the right place at the start, spot on the committee vessel LE Aisling as the signal went. Quite how the mighty Rambler found her way through the maze of smaller craft is anyone’s guess, but George David’s top people gave a master-class in making a start with things getting difficult as the ebb was already running south with full vigour.
Inevitably the MOD 70s with their later start have since taken up the lead on the water, and they are now well past the Tuskar and feeling less adverse effect from the new flood tide making northwards, with Concise 10 marginally in the lead. But Rambler – having passed the Tuskar – has started making knots again after a sticky period in towards Carnsore Point.
As for Teasing Machine, having worked out a lead on most of the rest of the fleet, she took the gamble of seeking less strong adverse tides by heading inside the Wexford Banks through the sandy channels just south of Cahore Point, and at 1815 was making 4.8 knots over the ground very close inshore off Blackwater village. Two miles astern of Teasing, Michal Kleinjans in the Open 40 Visit Brussels, aka Roaring Forty 2, has used the same inshore tactic, and he leads IRC 0, which would be fine and dandy were it not for the fact that it underlines what a remarkable performance Teasing Machine is registering.
A completely different offshore tactic has been adopted by defending 2014 winning navigator Richie Fernie aboard Alan Hannon’s Reichel-Pugh 45 Katsu, he’s as far south as Teasing Machine, but well out in the open to the eastward ten miles offshore, making 4.5 knots over the ground, and lying 4th in IRC I.
However, it’s in the body of the fleet that we find the third placed boat in IRC overall, it’s Dave Cullen’s J/109 Euro Car Parks, (above) and despite the adverse tide she was logging 5.5 knots over the ground, very good going in the circumstances.
The wind outlook is for moderate headwinds along the south coast through the night, with the sou’westers starting to pipe up seriously around noon tomorrow.