Cavatina to deliver a third victory in Round Ireland Race

David Ryan’s Monster Challenge, a Volvo 70-footer representing host club Wicklow, should be favourite for line honours

Wicklow Head lighthouse is the first major headland shortly after the start of the 704-mile Round Ireland Race, which gets under way tomorrow off Wicklow Harbour at 2pm. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport

Wicklow Head lighthouse is the first major headland shortly after the start of the 704-mile Round Ireland Race, which gets under way tomorrow off Wicklow Harbour at 2pm. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 01:00

In spite of a fresh north-east breeze forecast for tomorrow’s Round Ireland Race start, light winds later in the 704-mile course may put a new course record beyond the reach of the leading entries.

A fleet of 36 boats has entered and the start will be at 2pm, a change from recent editions but otherwise off the pier at Wicklow Harbour.

Vantage points at the Wicklow Sailing Club, the Black Castle and at Wicklow Head will offer the best view of the southbound boats that will have the added benefit of a young ebb tide.

Once away from the start, the outcome of the race rests on what is likely to be a tactical battle rather than raw boatspeed.

At stake, the overall prize decided on IRC handicap along with the semi-official accolades of line honours for first home and, weather permitting a new course record.

In order for a new time to be set, the leader must reach the finishing line off Wicklow before Tuesday morning at 07.48.47 to beat Mike Slade’s 2008 record on the 100-footer ICAP Leopard.

David Ryan’s Monster Challenge, a Volvo 70-footer representing the host club, should be, as biggest boat on the water, the favourite for line honours.

Wicklow farmer

The self-dubbed Wicklow farmer was engaged in social media face-off with business personality and keen sailor Bobby Kerr who has entered on Newstalk Adrenalin, a Farr 60-footer.

The two are berthed at the new Greystones Marina that will halve the travel distance to the starting-line tomorrow morning in preference to Dún Laoghaire where many of entries too large for Wicklow are based.

Both teams might watch out for Open 60-footer Teng Tools Kilcullen, better known as Artemis, which is also fancied. As overall winner of the 2004 race on the considerably smaller Voodoo Chile, charterer Eamon Crosbie has returned with an eye on the hat-trick, this time with Enda O’Coineen who is raising funds for the Atlantic Challenge and Children of Haiti.

Apart from a well-prepared boat, the team also has the services of Round the World navigator Wouter “the router” Verbaak who arrived in Dún Laoghaire yesterday.

Defending title-holder from 2012 Laurent Guoy on Inis Mór, a Kerr 39-footer from France is also competing and given it’s all-round capability and pedigree, on balance must be the race favourite.

Yet this race is always full of surprises and two-time previous winner Cavatina from the Royal Cork YC could deliver the win if the winds track the back-markers around the course.

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