Konica into the lead

After day one of the BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race

Sunday July 2nd 2006, Author: David Branigan, Location: United Kingdom
It was a dramatic start for all, though after the first 24 hours of sailing in the BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race, all 38 boats have safely passed the Tuskar Rock on Ireland's southeastern corner. Light winds have befallen the entire coastline as far as the famous Fastnet Rock off West Cork and are proving testing for many race hopefuls.

The race began as the gunshot from Committee boat, the L.E. Aoife marked the start of the race. Unfortunately, Lascar was recalled as she got into difficulties with her jib wrapped around the forestay, which unfortunately put her across the line before the start gun. She came back around the stern of the Committee Boat, where she re-started and joined the fleet four and a half minutes later.

The biggest yacht ever to compete in the race continues to lead the fleet with a tactical start, Konica Minolta Zana called in at the Fastnet mandatory radio check-in at 1615 this afternoon, just over 24 hours since the start of the race at Wicklow.

Moderate winds are forecast from the south-west corner off the County Kerry coastline and at 98 feet overall, the New Zealand leader should be able to make a fast getaway from the becalmed pack astern.

Based on handicap corrected times at the Tuskar Rock, Konica Minolta Zana was leading overall while Roy Heiner on his VO60 footer chartered to Lyons Solicitors of Dublin was in second place.

Current Round Ireland record holder JP Chomette on Solune was in third place in a repeat of the 2004 BMW Round Ireland Race that saw similar conditions on the second day slow his progress.

Nevertheless, there is a real prospect of a slower race than normal. Limerick entry Altana Chieftain reported total calm off the Old Head of Kinsale and was surrounded by smaller boats at 1800 today. The crew of the Cookson 50 provisioned for four days but based on current progress, their finish could be later than Wednesday.

Ireland's West, the Galway entry skippered by Aodhan Fitzgerald came within three miles of Chieftain before tacking out to sea in search of breeze. Defending title holder Eamon Crosbie on Teng Tools was within sight at that time but placed mid-fleet on corrected handicap time.

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