While competitors anchor north of Ireland, Konica Minolta Zana is 40 miles from the finish 5/7/06

It’s slow racing for the BMW Round Ireland fleet as lack of wind has many of the competitors anchoring to avoid tidal pull around Rathlin, north of Ireland. For the 704-mile course these conditions have presented a real challenge to the 37 boats in the competition. Most of the fleet are spread between Slyne Head and Inistrahull. The light winds have set the event back one day behind schedule.

Light airs have also prevented any chance of Konica Minolta Zana’s beating the race record held by Colm Barrington on Jeep Cherokee in 1988 (76 hours 23 minutes and 57 seconds). The 98ft New Zealand yacht has led the fleet from the outset on Saturday afternoon at Wicklow. However, there was only six knots of wind passing Malin Head, County Donegal the most northerly point of Ireland and so the super-maxi missed the crucial tidal gate at Rathlin Island.

The battle is on for the overall win on handicap corrected time by several smaller boats. Eamon Crosbie’s, Teng Tools defending the 2004 title continues to feature in the latest provisional standings along with Aodhan Fitzgerald’s Galway entry Ireland’s West.

Dun Laoghaire yacht Jeronimo is also continuing to do well overall and has the added bonus of 1996 winner Michael Boyd on board with skipper Niall Dowling. Anthony Richards’ Minnie the Moocher from the UK is in the hunt. In the 2004 event, Richards saw his hopes of overall victory end on the final approach to the finish due to rudder bearing problems.

However, even these contenders may be disappointed as fresh winds forecast to reach those still at sea on Thursday morning may bring the back-markers up the course in faster time. Such an outcome might see Eric Lisson’s Cavatina repeat her 2002 result when the Royal Cork YC boat won overall.

The Super 0 Class yachts have passed Inistrahull. Konica Minolta Zana has regained her class lead on corrected time with Altana Chieftain in second place, and Alice 11 in third. Konica Minolta Zana passed Rockabill at 1359 this afternoon, and with 40 miles to the finish expects to finish around 1800 this evening.