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ICRA Commodore Barry Rose reports from Cowes on the solid start for Ireland in the early stages of the Rolex Commodores’ Cup high-scoring offshore race

“They’re setting down solidly after a hectic start,” said Barry Rose, ICRA Commodore.  “Antix came out of it quite well on the northern end of the line while and Roxy were in a lot of traffic at the busy leeward end of the line.  They’re now in quite promising positions.”

At the team briefing this morning, skippers and navigators heard that a lot will happen overnight which will be decisive as a front is expected come through which could lead to a change in wind and conditions; this could prove critical.

On estimated results this evening, Ireland continues to hold the overall lead of the event with strong challenges emerging from both France Blue and Hong Kong.

Later as conditions improved following a damp and misty start to the 180-mile offshore race, the three boats representing the Irish Cruiser Racing Association were maintaining good positions at the front of their respective classes as the fleet settled in for a long night of beating westwards.

The latest positions from the racecourse indicate that the Irish team is not only still leading overall in the 2010 Rolex Commodores’ Cup, but they have extended their lead albeit marginally. The 17.00 BST report showed Anthony O’Leary’s Antix second among the big boats, David Dwyer’s second in the mid-sized fleet and Robert Davies’ Roxy 6 second among the small boats. With these results the Irish team would be on 44.5 points ahead of France Blue and Hong Kong tied in second on 71.5. GBR Red holds fourth on 86.5, followed by France Yellow in fifth.

The 28-boats are racing in wind against tide conditions on the course westwards to Poole Fairway buoy before the smaller boats retrace their route back to Cowes for an expected finish during Wednesday.  The larger boats have their courses extended further westwards from Poole towards Swanage.

However, the first reported incident has occurred and it has to do with what is called the Sailor Classification Code. It is intended to control the number of professionals on board in a Corinthian regatta [such as RCC].  A member of the crew of one of the British boats [QUOKKA 8] has been found to be in breach and:

a) the classification committee [under the code] has reclassified the competitor from Group 1 to Group 3 [amateur to professional], and

b) the protest committee has imposed a 10% scoring penalty in each of the four races sailed by the non-compliant boat.

Issues arising are conflict between the NOR 13 e [automatic disqualification – and possible rule 69 report] and classification code – [ISAF Reg 22.5.6 [protest committee has discretion re penalty].

Two yachts have retired to date: Cracklin Rosie (Class 1) and Artemis (Class 2) both from GBR Black.

The 2010 Rolex Commodores’ Cup Long Offshore Race continues tomorrow, Wednesday, with the yachts expected to finish by the early afternoon. The forecast wind overnight is for 12 – 15 knots from the west and southwest.

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