A fleet of 38 boats ended Ireland's drought of domestic sailing competitions on Dublin Bay when the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race got underway.
A fresh southerly breeze mixed with the ebb tide to give a lumpy seaway for at least the first few hours of the 280 nautical-mile course though the prospect of headwinds means the course record is unlikely to fall this year.
Nevertheless, the conditions are expected to hold and while the headwinds will make for uncomfortable life on board for the crews, there remains prospect of arriving in Dingle before the weekend.
After starting off Dun Laoghaire's East Pier, the fleet easily reached the Muglins Rock off Dalkey in good time but faced the decision when to tack inshore.
Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot II from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was first to go, setting what appeared to be a flyer but one that the rest of the fleet soon copied.
Before too long, the bigger entries had caught up and took over as on the water leaders with Robert Rendell’s Samatom duelling with Denis and Annamaria Murphy’s Nieulargo from the Royal Cork YC for the line honours lead.
However, Algeo’s early move paid off and he was listed provisionally as class leader at the early stage passing Bray Head.
Paul O’Higgins Rockabill VI from the RIYC is aiming for a third consecutive race win, to be decided on IRC corrected time though the tightly-packed leading group – well-spaced by current standards – is likely to deliver a battle royale to the finish.
The ‘D2D’ is the first non-training event to get underway here though the season still counts several major events in a second year of cancellations due to the pandemic.