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Atlantic battle begins on day two of SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race

Franco Niggeler's Swiss entry Kuka3 taking the lead of the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race.  Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport
The tightly stretched fleet in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race has already reached the Atlantic seaboard just over 24 hours since starting the 705 nautical mile offshore race.

Although the first day enjoyed remarkably fair conditions with no retirements, punishing headwinds have started the attrition with pre-race favourite InoXXX formally retired on Sunday afternoon.

James Neville's 42-footer suffered hull delamination in the pounding upwind conditions close to the Blasket Islands off the Co. Kerry coastline and has turned for home.

Four boats now form the leading group separate from the main bulk of the fleet that are stretched along the Kerry and West Cork coastline as far as the Fastnet Rock.

Franco Niggeler's Cookson 50 Kuka3 continues to hold the overall lead on the water that the Swiss entry established from InoXXX shortly after passing Wicklow Head at the start on Saturday afternoon.

Former Irish entry in the Volvo Ocean Race Green Dragon entered by Enda O’Coineen and Conor Ferguson has slowly started make gains on Kuka3 as the pair feel the strength of Force 5-6 northerly winds and four metre swells.

Further astern, Andrea Fornarno's Italian entry Influence holds a narrow lead over American  Greg Leonard's Kite as the pair of Classe 40 boats have been locked in their own duel as the deepest boats offshore.

"Until the Fastnet it was a great pleasure, but now... well it’s getting tough," commented Andrea Fornarno.  "But I love Ireland, the scenery is wonderful, it is like Jurassic Park!"

"The highlight of the first 24 hours was our pace along the south coast last night, it was great to get to push the boat on ideal conditions," said Influence crew-member Pamela Lee from Wicklow. "Showing my Italian crew mates our amazing coastline has been very special!"

However, with the main fleet still relatively compressed and not far behind the front-runners, the focus for the overall win on IRC corrected time is once more looking at the mid-sized and smaller entries.

On the provisional standings at the south-west corner of Ireland, Michael Boyd's Darkwood was listed as the overall race leader but with plenty of other contenders still very close so final race positions already look likely to come down to the last boat finishing.

Aside from InoXXX, Sherkin Irish Offshore Sailing skippered by David Hanks and Fujitsu British Soldier skippered by Donal Ryan have also pulled out of the race due to gear problems.

More details and race tracker available - please click here.

Ends - Sunday 19th June 2022
For further information, please contact:
Kyran O’Grady, Wicklow Sailing Club
Mob +353 87 257 5400 /

Photographs are repro-free with full credit byline:  David Branigan/Oceansport
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