Along the Leinster coast, the summer sea breeze from various points in the east can get a boost from the enormous heat storage unit that is the Greater Dublin area writes W M Nixon. But it’s not something to be relied on. There’ll be unexpected and enormous changes in direction. It can sometimes just disappear as though some giant hand has simply switched off an electric fan. And as evening draws on, it becomes ever more fickle and finally fades altogether.
But while the sea breeze still made in over the city and the afternoon ebb got going with full vigour, a rush of boats today in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018 made every effort to get themselves across Dublin Bay and down to that elusive finishing line before the evening calm set in.
As ever, there’s much at stake. Ireland’s Defence Forces are represented by Commandant Barry Byrne (originally from Wicklow) and navigator Mick Liddy with the J/109 Joker II. Like every other boat in this demanding 700-mile race, Joker II has had her moments of glory and her times of frustration. But this afternoon she was going mighty well, and closing in by this evening with a strong likelihood of securing the winning slot among the Services crews, and possibly even the chance of snatching the second overall position from Chris & Pat Anne Power Smith’s already-finished J/122 Aurelia.
On top of that, she had nearly two hours in hand on her closest rival for the Services prize, the already-finished but significantly larger and higher-rated British Army boat Team Fujitsu, skippered by Donal Ryan of Howth. In such an inter-port and inter-unit setup, talk of “special rivalry” is scarcely adequate…..
So there was Joker II making her way ever closer to the line, but all the time her speed was fading. Inexorably, she slipped down the Corrected Time rankings. Soon, she was irretrievably behind Aurelia. But Joker II crawled on, clinging to third overall. 4.3 knots over the ground. With just 3 miles to cover. Agony.
8.0pm. Less than a mile to go. Now making 4.7knots. Hang in there, lads. Just do it by sheer will power……8.09 pm: Joker II has finished……Let there be rejoicing
What with Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish YC winning overall, and Chris Power Smith of Royal St George YC getting second overall, and now Barry Byrne of the Defence Forces getting third overall and winning the Services Challenge, things are stacking up quite neatly for the home team in this 20th Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018.
Race tracker and leaderboard HERE
Afloat.ie Round Ireland updates in this one handy link HERE