Irish team leads Commodores’ Cup ahead of overnight calm

Ireland’s Catapult, and teammates Antix and Quokka, in top 10 on the water early in race

Team Ireland captain Anthony O’Leary on Antix passing the famous Needles lightouse shortly after the start of the 118-nautical mile offshore race on the second day of racing in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup at Cowes. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport

Team Ireland captain Anthony O’Leary on Antix passing the famous Needles lightouse shortly after the start of the 118-nautical mile offshore race on the second day of racing in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup at Cowes. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 01:00

An overnight shutdown of wind on the English Channel was expected to throw the standings in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup into disarray on Tuesday morning as the high-scoring overnight offshore race comes to an end.

The Irish team holds the overall lead of the week-long event but the highly-tactical 118-mile race could prove a lottery. The 27-boat fleet enjoyed a light but steady breeze for most of Mondat but with forecasts of overnight calms, the Royal Ocean Racing Club organisers set a shorter course to avoid prolonged periods of drifting or anchored boats.

The leading big boats had almost reached the Isle of Wight shortly before nightfall last night barely 12 hours after starting at Cowes. The Irish team’s Catapult, owned by American Marc Glimcher, was once again in the lead on the approach northwards from a turning mark off Cherbourg but only after swapping the lead several times.

Catapult, and teammates Antix and Quokka, were in the top 10 boats on the water early in the race but with IRC handicaps to be applied and the wind favouring the smaller boats behind, the outcome of this critical race hinges on the wind.

Factors

Forecasts indicate the breeze will die off overnight Monday, starting with the smaller entries while the bigger boats closer to the finish would receive an evening breeze first and complete the course in a faster time. Such an outcome would favour the Irish team that has slightly bigger boats than average in this nine-team contest.

However, a mediocre performance by the squad when high bonus points are up for grabs could effectively restart the series for the Irish Cruiser Racing Association team.

Inshore racing begins again on wednesday for two days before another higher-scoring race around the Isle of Wight on Friday, finishing with a single, short inshore race on Saturday.

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