A fast getaway from Wicklow on Saturday, in spite of light winds, has seen the record fleet in the Volvo Round Ireland Race achieve record-breaking speeds with just hours remaining before line honours are decided.
However, the exotic boats leading the 63-strong entry are not eligible for the overall race trophy as they are multihulls while the race follows the monohull tradition.
Nevertheless, the world speed-sailing record for a circumnavigation of Ireland looks set to fall today as Tony Lawson’s Concise 10 is chased by it’s near sisterships, another pair of Multi-One-design 70-footers.
Omansail with Kerry sailor Damian Foxall on board and Phaedo3 with Cork sailor Justin Slattery and the leader were separated by just two miles.
After passing the Fastnet Rock shortly before dawn yesterday — still less than 20 hours into the race — the trio shot past Skellig Michael, shrouded under low cloud around 7am and were onto the Atlantic Seaboard where they were able to ease sheets for the fast-ride northwards at speeds of around 30 knots.
Nine hours later and they were on the north coast and passing Rathlin Island.
Omansail’s 2015 outright speed sailing record will fall to the first of the three to finish before 5.51am this morning.
George David’s Rambler 88 heads the monohull fleet and should also reach Wicklow this afternoon to set a new course and race record.
The likely overall winner won’t be known until Wednesday when the smaller boats reach the finish of the 704-mile race and IRC handicap corrected times are calculated.
Meanwhile, at Dun Laoghaire over the weekend Anthony O’Leary was confirmed as the pre-eminent Irish inshore sailor of the modern era when he added another 1720 Sportsboat title to his scalp belt.
The so-called European Championship for the mostly Irish and some British following for the popular sportsboat class was dominated by Cork boats with Baltimore’s Neil Hogan taking second overall and Padraig Byrne of Monkstown Bay SC taking third in the 17-strong turnout.
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