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Round Ireland Update Day 2 9pm: Wind Pattern Gives Fleet Leaders a Raw Deal

1st July 2018
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In second place is Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, hoping for some nice and breezy windward work to show her true potential. In second place is Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, hoping for some nice and breezy windward work to show her true potential. Photo: Afloat.ie

Close north of the Blaskets at 1900hrs Sunday, the Volvo Round Ireland fleet leaders on the water - the Class 40 Corum and the Ker 43 Baraka GP - are sailing a textbook race in terms of handling the vagaries of the north to northeast headwind writes W M Nixon.

Yet there’s no getting away from the harsh fact that the predicted wind patterns for the next day or two are comprehensively stacked against them. It looks very much as though, once they get to each corner of our once green but now increasingly brown drought-stricken island, that the pesky wind will veer yet again, serving up another beat.

For Corum, it’s of less concern. She is racing within Class 40, and with her nearest challenger Sensation dropping out while close west of the Skelligs at 15.17 this afternoon, she has next in line Hydra neatly under control.

But for Niall Dowling’s Baraka GP, the much more widely encompassing IRC handicap system means that the slightest reversal of fortune will see boats in their dozens slip into place ahead of her.

"the slightest reversal of fortune will see boats in their dozens slip into place ahead of Baraka GP"

For sure, she still has the Line Honours trophy in sight. And in this meteorologically crazy summer, Heaven alone knows what might have happened by the time she has sailed the remaining 440 miles to the finish at Wicklow.

But a remorseless pattern is developing, and where she was once leading IRC overall, she is now back in 22nd place. Meanwhile, the smaller boats are making hay off the south Kerry coast, and by the time tomorrow when Baraka is rounding northwest Mayo to find she has another beat to Tory Island, the lesser fry will find they’re hoping for a bit of a favourable slant along towards the coast of Connacht.

Going into the second night, renowned French builders JPK of Lorient can be well pleased, as the JPK 10.10 Jaasap (Nicolas Pasternak, France) is leading IRC overall, while now in second place is Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, hoping for some nice and breezy grown-up windward work to show her true potential.

Third is the French Sunfast 3600 SNSP Hakuna Matata, fourth is the J/109 Joker II skippered by Commandant Barry Byrne, fifth is Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules, and sixth is yet another JPK, the 10.10 Jangada.

Although the pack is being continually re-shuffled, some names are now appearing more frequently than others. By tomorrow morning, we’ll see how clearly this pattern has become established.

Race tracker here 

Afloat.ie Round Ireland updates in this one handy link here.

Published in Round Ireland
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The Round Ireland Yacht Race is Ireland's classic offshore yacht race that starts from Wicklow Sailing Club (WSC) and is organised jointly with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC). This page details the very latest updates from the 2008 race onwards including the race schedule, yacht entries and the all-important race updates from around the 704-mile course. Keep up to date with the Round Ireland Yacht Race here on this one handy page.

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