With headwinds and a foul tide for most of the final approach southwards on the Irish Sea, David NIXON and the crew of O2 Team Spirit secured line honours victory in the BMW Round Ireland late last night (Tuesday).
The 60-foot yacht crossed the line off Wicklow Harbour just 25 minutes after Colm Barrington¹s 1998 record. French rival entry CityJet Solune was expected to finish around one o¹clock, just over two hours after first boat home.
With the clock stopped for these boats, speculation for the overall race title to be decided on corrected handicap time switches to boats still at sea. With strong winds forecast to veer to the west overnight, these smaller boats are certain to gain an advantage.
On earlier reported times at Inistrahull off North Donegal, provisional results suggest a battle royal between up to half a dozen contenders in this Fáilte Ireland supported event.
Maltese entry Jazz skippered by Royal Ocean Racing Club Vice-commodore Chris Bull continues to hold the overall lead. However, Eamonn CROSBIE'S Calyx Voice & Data was in second place, ten hours behind on the water but critically, just 25 minutes behind on corrected handicap time.
Dutch offshore racing veteran Piet VROON on Tonnerre de Breskens lies third overall but with an expected finishing time of around 0900 on Wednesday, improved conditions later in the day could easily see this result slip.
Cork entry Minnie the Moocher once again slipped to fourth overall, possibly as a result of some sail damage reported on the Atlantic stage. However, skipper Anthony RICHARDS was pleased to have beaten the Rathlin Island tidal gate late on Tuesday afternoon an historically decisive turning point in this race.
Of all the 37 boats still at sea (a ninth entry retired with steering failure) possibly the most notable achievement is by Galway two-handed crew on Do.Dingle.com in fifth overall and just three hours behind Jazz on corrected time.
However, with the fresh winds forecast to remain, the overall result is unlikely to be confirmed until the last boat has finished, possibly by Thursday evening. Full positions are available on the event website at the address below.