Will the record fall?

The July issue of YM contains a fascinating 10-page feature on cruising around Ireland – but that won’t be much use to the fleet of yachts currently haring around the Emerald Isle.

Having rounded the Fastnet Rock at 07.30 hrs this morning (24 June) ICAP Leopard was leading the BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race as she powers past the Blasket Islands. Mike Slade’s superyacht quest for the race record is a little behind schedule as she needs to better 11 knots of boat speed to beat the record whereas she has averaged just over 9 knots over the first 24 hours.

In second place on the water but in first position on handicap is Dutch entry Formidable 3 skippered by Piet Vroon, closely followed by the other Super 0 boat, Lee Overlay Partners. In second place on handicap after Formidable is Aodhan Fitzgerald sailing Ireland West ahead of previous race winner George Radley on VSOP. Current holder of the race title, Cavatina, skippered by two times winner Eric Lisson is well up the field in ninth place.

Of the 46 entrants in the 2008 BMW Round Ireland only 41 managed to cross the start line at midday yesterday, mostly due to damage caused by the severe weather experienced on the east coast. Since the start a further three boats, Legally Brunette, Inis Mor and Mighty Max, have been forced to retire from the race.

Mumbo.ie being sailed by Patrick Cronin & John Chambers is first in the Two Handed class with second and Third places filled by Slingshot and Jalfrezi. Sailing non-stop for anything from 3 to 9 days in the BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race is a gruelling and relentless test of endurance and seamanship for all of this years’ entrants and those who’ve competed in the past, but particularly for those who have entered the Two Handed class. On a fully crewed boat the ‘off-watch sailors’ enjoy the supreme luxury of a few hours shut-eye, even if it is in the Spartan conditions of most modern racing yachts. No such luxury for the two-handers who will be severely stretched “24/7” for the next three or four days.

With Met Eireann predicting up to gale force 8 conditions on the west and north coasts everything is still wide open for a record breaking attempt and an exciting finish to the overall handicap competition.

The GPS Tracking system is up and running for virtually all competitors so their progress can be followed in real time here