It looks like it could be a two-yacht race for the 2014 Round Ireland line honours right up until the last nautical mile with Teng Tools Kilcullen continuing to shadow Monster Project throughout Tuesday.
At 5pm Farmer Ryan aboard Wicklow’s Monster Project was still stretching his lead over Teng Tools Kilcullen, Alan Crosbie and Enda O Coineen, with about 16 miles between them as they sailed past Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
The distance between the two leaders drifted throughout the day from one to sixteen miles but Teng Tools Kilcullen are at the ready to surge ahead if Farmer Ryan’s Monster Project makes the tiniest mistake. 60-foot Teng Tools Kilcullen shot ahead of the fleet at Saturday’s start and Monster Project only managed to take the lead on the water in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Meanwhile the ‘Insomnia’ references are flying as rumours abounded that Bobby Kerr must have started dishing out some very strong espresso aboard Newstalk for Adrenalin, when they suddenly ‘woke up’ on Tuesday morning, moving into third place on the water and closing the distance to just 11 miles from the leaders. As the afternoon progressed the Newstalk entry drifted to 32 miles behind them and were neck and neck with Libertalia (Team Jolokia from Lorient) – with both vying to stay in third place on the sea – that looks like a race that will continue for a while yet. Still, the four leaders are way down the pecking order in terms of the real race, which is decided on handicap.
Of the 35 yachts still in the race on Tuesday afternoon, Teng Tools Kilcullen was in last overall position, Libertalia 34th, whilst Monster Project was only 33rd and Newstalk for Adrenalin just ahead in thirty-first place. The real race is mid fleet and a real surprise package is splitting two former winners. Cavatina – previous 2 time winner, is still 1st on corrected time. Ruth and Big Deal (Dillon father and son team) have changed places with the two-hander now in 3rd, still a remarkable achievement. Polished Manx overtook McGregor for 4th spot on Tuesday afternoon and there are just 10 minutes between them. At this point, the first 17 boats are all within 6 hours of each other on corrected time.
Another fascinating duel in the pack is between the two Irish Offshore Sailing boats, Desert Star and Sherkin who have been consistently in the top ten interchanging rankings.
It looks like they might get a little wind this evening, but forecast shows the wind slackening again throughout the night. This will make the tidal gate at Rathlin Island even more important; whoever gets there to take advantage of the flood tide will gain significantly. Boats who miss the flood might find themselves anchoring to hold position against the ebb tide and stronger winds from SW are not forecast until later this evening.
This continues to be a fascinating race, though it must be very frustrating for the sailors. Current predictions expect the earliest the first yacht will cross the finish line at Wicklow Bay will be Wednesday morning, but the winds will dictate!
Keep watching on the Tracker – details at roundirelandyachtrace.ie