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Volvo Round Ireland Race - Day 2

by John O'Connor 2 Jul 2018 20:05 BST 2 July 2018
Niall Dowling's 43-footer Baraka GP during the 2018 Volvo Round Ireland Race © David Branigan / Oceansport

As the leading the boats in the Volvo Round Ireland Race pass the halfway stage and start crossing Sligo Bay this evening, the 705-mile is proving to be a tough challenge with up to a dozen boats forced out by the conditions.

Niall Dowling's 43-footer Baraka Gp continues to lead the race on the water and is a contender for line honours but only after a tough slog up the West Coast of Ireland.

"The coastline is spectacular with clear skies - if we were going the other direction it would have been ideal!" said Baraka Gp Boat Captain James Carroll. "We're keeping the boat together so we're happy about that but we still have pretty tough conditions."

The worst of the strong winds that gusted over gale force at times was experienced off the Skellig Rocks and Blasket Islands with wind against tide conditions that Carroll described as "very, very rough." However, even though the sea state moderated slightly off the Aran Islands, the leader is still dealing with breaking seas.

So far, the leading boats have yet to shake off the pursuing pack of mostly smaller and older boats that are performing well under IRC handicap. At present, the race looks like it will be a small boat win in Wicklow later this week.

The current leader on handicap corrected time is Stephen Quinn's Lambay Rules from Howth Yacht Club in Dublin as is one of the smallest entries amongst the 56 starters that departed Wicklow on Saturday afternoon.

Several boats have been forced out of the race, mostly due to gear failure in the testing conditions while one boat retired for a precautionary medical check for a crew-member who received a minor shoulder injury after a fall on board.

Former race winner Michael Boyd on Jedi reported a Man Overboard early on Monday morning who was "immediately and efficiently" recovered on board. The Irish Coast Guard was informed but no further action was required and the team is continuing with the race.

On current weather forecasts, the first boats to reach Wicklow are expected on Wednesday morning. The first boat to cross the finishing-line receives 'line honours' but the Volvo Round Ireland Race is decided on handicap corrected time so the overall winner is likely to be at sea for several more days.

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