Day 2 1000hrs: As anticipated in our midnight posting writes W M Nixon, the imminent onset of the stronger ebb in the Tuskar Rock/Carnsore Point area favoured the smaller boats in the 63-strong Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race fleet, and this morning even the seemingly unassailable Teasing Machine (Eric de Turckheim), although still leading the main bulk of the fleet on the water and continuing to hold the lead in IRC 1, had slipped to 11th overall in IRC as she continued to slug along to windward on port tack well offshore, upwards of 30 miles south of Ballycotton.
But up in the far front of the fleet, the three MOD 70s were passing Mizen Head by 0400hrs and starting to make serious speed. As already noted briefly this morning on Afloat.ie, Phaedo (Lloyd Thornburg) and her two sisters had ticked off the Skelligs by 0600hrs, and with speeds of 25 knots they’re already in the larger coastal region of Connacht, though the lack of visibility in facilitating any enjoyment of the coastal scenery doesn’t apply, as they were shaping up to be at least 50 miles off Slyne Head to keep keep their westing and stay in the freshening southwest winds as firmly as possible.
George David’s Rambler finally got the Fastnet astern at 0845 this morning, and with the overnight soft winds of the south coast now very much a thing of the past, the big silver machine was logging 18.4 knots as she streaked past Mizen Head at 0920, and we’ll be expected much higher speeds from her as the sou’wester builds through the day.
This means that in a very short space of time Rambler has gone from zero to hero, as the most recent IRC overall placings have her hurtling back up the rankings to be overall leader in IRC. But for the time being, the little ’uns are still hugely enjoying the benefit that strong ebb off the south Wexford coast gave them through the small hours and beyond, and as of 0945 second overall in IRC was one of the smallest boats in the fleet, and a two-hander at that, Derek and Conor Dillon’s Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes, while third overall is the First 34.7 Adelie (Peter Hall & Noel Butler) of the National YC.
However, the benefits of the night’s localised tidal boost is already fading in the overall reckonings, for even as we’ve been writing this Teasing Machine has moved back up again, from 11th to fourth overall. And though it will be some time yet before she can think of freeing sheets a smidgin to make on with increased speed from the Fastnet to Mizen Head, barring accidents she’ll be the first of the main part of the IRC fleet to get to the corner, which will give her a massive advantage therafter. She may even still be ahead of the Open 40s, a position she has narrowly maintained through the night, but that will change once the Open 40s can let themselves go.
The current class placings are just grand as far as this correspondent is concerned, as they include a useful proportion of the “Ten Boats to Watch” we named in yesterday morning’s Sailing on Saturday. IRC 1 currently has Teasing Machine, Michael Boyd’s First 44.7 Lisa (above) and Alan Hannon’s Reichel-Pugh 45 Katsu (below) as the top three, in IRC 2 Chris and Patanne Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia is first, currently tacking close inshore in Youghal Bay, while second and third are boats we didn’t name, the J/111 Team Fujitsu (Donal Ryan) and the vintage Swan 47 Sarabande (Rob Manley). But in Class 3 we’re currently managing a clean sweep with the J/109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox) leading from Paul O’Higgins new JPK 10.80 Rockabill, while third is Dave Cullen’s J/109 Euro Car Parks, back from the dead after being down in the crab grass at midnight.
Class 4 is of course very much led by the superb performance of the Union Chandlery–sponsored Conor and Derek Dillon (above) with the Big Deal while Adelie is second while Ronan O Siochru’s Irish Offshore Sailing’s Desert Star – top placed Irish boat in the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race – is third, currently laying on starboard tack in towards Ardmore Bay.
But things are happening quicker than we can write about them. At 1000hrs, Rambler 88 is up to 21 knots and zooming past Dursey Head, while Teasing Machine is now laying the Fastnet with 8.2 knots on the clock, and back at second overall in IRC. And up off the Galway coast, the three MOD70s have thrown a gybe and are now shaping towards Achill Island at 30 knots, with Concise 10 still narrowly ahead.