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 two-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 third, still a remarkable achievement. Polished Manx overtook McGregor for fourth spot on Tuesday afternoon and there are just 10 minutes between them. At this point, the first 17 boats are all within six 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! Sunday 29th July
A battle royal is underway less than 24 hours since 36 yachts departed Wicklow Bay for the start of the 2014 Round Ireland Yacht Race.
2014 Round Ireland Yaht Race - David Branigan - Oceansport.ie
60-foot Teng Tools Kilcullen took an early lead on the water with Wicklow Farmer David Ryan’s Monster Project battling throughout the night to get ahead.
In the early hours of this morning, Monster Project overtook the Dún Laoghaire entry and is now leading the fleet.
The pressure is on though for Farmer Ryan to keep up the pace and any mistake could cost him dearly with both Team Jolokia And Teng Tools just slightly behind the Volvo 70. Race organisers predict the three will be in each other’s sight all the way round, which should hopefully lead to a grandstand finish.
The Round Ireland race fleet flew down the east coast under spinnaker and now they are all spread out across the south coast between Tuskar Rock and Fastnet Rock.
There has been one retiral - Cosmic Dancer III suffered damage to their spinnaker at Tuskar - and hve returned to Wicklow Harbour.
With winds forecast to be light for the next 24 hours, positions will change. Organisers say the crews with the best concentration and navigational savvy will come through to contest the top of the leaderboard as it progresses.
Wicklow Sailing Club is watching their every move and will be waiting to welcome each boat as they arrive back.
Sailing enthusiasts can follow the progress of the race via Round Ireland Yacht Race
or download the free race tracker app.