After a 20-hour delay, 41 boats crossed the start line of Ireland's offshore racing challenge

The starting gun for the 2008 BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race was sounded at 1200 hours yesterday to signal one of the most competitive contests in the 28 year history of Ireland’s premier offshore sailing challenge.

With a westerly breeze gusting 40 knots, Alburn, Leopard and Galileo were the first over the line followed closely by Lee Overlay Partners and Cavatina.

41 boats started this year’s race. Three yachts have officially retired, including Alegre and McConnell’s Chieftain from the Class Super Zero, and Voador from Class Two. The Kerr 10.7 sailed by Glen Ward did not make it to the start line.

The first boat to reach the Wicklow Head was Leopard quickly followed by Alburn as the big racing machines separated themselves from the smaller boats. With the first yachts expected to check in at the Tuskar Rock within 4 hours of the race start, Colm Barrington’s record could easily be broken.

You can follow all the action this year with our tracking system, supplied by RORC at