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Volvo Round Ireland Race

Fair conditions for Volvo Round Ireland Race fleet as finishing-line beckons

With line honours in the Volvo Round Ireland Race expected to be won on Wednesday afternoon, weather continues to dominate the stakes for the overall race win still to be decided on IRC handicap.

After the heavy upwind conditions off the West coast on Monday, flatter seas and a moderate breeze has provided some respite to the fleet that now stands at 42 boats following a series of retirements, most due to gear failure.

Niall Dowling’s Ker 43-footer Baraka Gp has held the on the water lead and passed Rathlin Island off the North coast of Ulster on Tuesday evening with 150 nautical miles remaining to the finishing-line at Wicklow.

Libertalia – Team Jolokia skippered by Jean-francois Levasseur, Volvo 60-footer and Classe 40-footer Corum skippered by Nicolas Troussel are the nearest challengers to Dowling’s efforts to take at least line honours in the 705-nautical mile race.

However, forecasts now indicate headwinds for the Irish Sea approach to the finish later turning in light northerlies. The notorious Rathlin tidal gate could yet catch the chasing pack if winds die at night and anchoring for some boats is on the cards.

Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing skippered by Ronan O'Siochru in the 2018 Volvo Round Ireland Race - photo © David Branigan /
Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing skippered by Ronan O’Siochru in the 2018 Volvo Round Ireland Race – photo © David Branigan /

In the overall race handicap stakes, Pasternak Nicolas on Jaasap, a JPK 1010 tops the provisional leader-board, taking over from Stephen Quinn’s J97 Lambay Rules. And hovering near the top of the standings is Ian Hickey’s Granada 38 Cavatina, now in her 40th year and hoping for a third race win.

The bulk of the fleet has still to reach the north coast but reports from the crews suggest idyllic sailing along the spectacular Mayo and Donegal coasts.

For Rónán O’Siochrú’s team on Irish Offshore Sailing’s Desert Star, having overcome a spell of seasickness for some crew-members, a universal problem has arisen on board. The boat’s entire supply of toilet roll that was stored in one bag became water-logged in the cabin due to the stormy conditions. The heatwave conditions on deck are proving useful for drying out the supply, roll by roll.

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by John O’Connor

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