Light winds and gear failure force two boats to retire from BMW Round Irleand Race 4/7/06

Two entries from the 39-strong BMW Round Ireland Race fleet have retired after 48-hours of racing.

Both are competitors in the two-handed division and were in the leading positions in their class before retiring. Yannick Monnier and Michael Greely on broke a key fitting on their mainsail that cannot be repaired at sea. Ironically, the pair were close to their home port of Dingle where they have arrived last night.

Mike Jacques of Nunatak has also retired as slow progress in the light headwinds would not allow them sufficient time to reach the finishing-line at Wicklow before the weekend when the crew have prior commitments.

Meanwhile, Konica Minolta Zana continues to lead the fleet on the water and was enjoying 22 knot north-easterly winds yesterday afternoon (Monday) as they passed the Eagle Island mandatory radio check-in point off the County Mayo coast.

Speculation is growing that the New Zealand entry may be able to set a new course record but must finish before 4pm on Tuesday to realise this target.

The actual race for the overall trophy is being dominated by smaller entries racing on IRC handicap. Based on the Fastnet Rock check-in times, defending title holder Eamon Crosbie on Teng Tools and Aodhan Fitzgerald’s Galway team on Ireland’s West were both covering each other as light winds hampered progress of the Kerry coastline.

Sunday night also provided an additional bonus to the fleet when passing the West Cork coast. A spectacular display of phosphorescence was witnessed by the crew Pepperbox who reported a school of up to six dolphin who played with their yacht for 20 minutes during the night, escorting the Howth YC team on their race towards Innistearacht.