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Round Ireland. Day 4. 3.30pm: Tides Start to Come into Play

3rd July 2018
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Northern isle – Inishtrahull off the Donegal coast is where the tides resume a major role in the Round Ireland race Northern isle – Inishtrahull off the Donegal coast is where the tides resume a major role in the Round Ireland race

When they left the tide-swept Tuskar Rock astern on Saturday night with a cold fair wind helping them on their way, the crews in the Volvo Round Ireland 2018 knew that tidal streams would no longer play a hugely significant role in the race until they’d got to Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head writes W M Nixon.

But between Malin Head with its turning mark out beyond the rocks of Inishtrahull off northern Donegal, and the South Rock off County Down’s east coast, tide is the dominant factor. It can run at up to 8 knots around Rathlin Island and off Fair Head, and there’s an entire universe of difference between having it in your favour and being agin it.

Baraka GP 3716Niall Dowling's Baraka GP Photo: Afloat.ie

For fleet leader Baraka GP (Niall Dowling, RIYC), this is all about to become painfully evident. Her crew will have hoped to be at Malin Head in time for the new east going flood around 1030 this morning, and it looked for a while as if they might be on time. But a soft patch north of Lough Swilly found them well off the pace, and by the time they got to Inishtrahull, half of the favourable six-hour flood had already run its course.

"Everything enters a new chapter with those North Channel tides playing an increasing role in the story"

So although she’s off the mouth of Lough Foyle making a crisp 9 knots and better as we write this, by 1600 hrs the fates will be against Baraka. She’ll have six hours of frustration which will test her crew as they work to find any favourable eddy that’s going, which they can only do if the northeast breeze holds up.

Rockabill VI 4063JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (Paul O’Higgins) has moved up to fourth overall on IRC Photo: Afloat.ie

Overall, things had been looking much better for the impressive Ker 43, as she’d continued her upward progress in the IRC overall stakes to have reached 7th place. Well astern, the rest of the IRC fleet continues to turn to windward off North Mayo and Donegal coasts, with the JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (Paul O’Higgins) and the J/122 Aurelia (Chris Power Smith) showing impressive gains to move up to 4th and 5th overall.

Aurelia 4124J/122 Aurelia (Chris Power Smith) now in fifth on IRC overall Photo: Afloat.ie

Paul Kavanagh’s handsome Swan 44 CoOperation Ireland continues to lead overall, with Stephen Quinn’s J/97 Lambay Rules just 5 minutes astern in second. Barry Byrne continues well in control of all the J/109s, his Joker II lies 5th overall, but Ian Hickey’s gallant old Noray 38 Cavatina has slipped a bit - she’s now back in 8th.

Round Ireland Cavatina 4408Ian Hickey’s Noray 38 Cavatina has slipped to eighth. Now in her 40th year the Cork crew is hoping for a third race win in the vintage yacht. Photo: Afloat.ie

However, everything enters a new chapter with those North Channel tides playing an increasing role in the story, and we’ll see how it has shaken things up with the 7.0pm posting.

Race tracker and leaderboard HERE

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

Afloat.ie Team

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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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