DAY TWO OF the Round Ireland Yacht Race began with light winds as the forecasted 5 knots rarely gusted to anything over 6.5.
Onboard English Mick, we risked sailing south of the coast off Cork Harbour in search of stronger winds, a gamble that initially did not pay off as the boats that stayed in close to the coast fare better at first. However later in the day as the winds picked up we began to sail at 8-9 knots.
Around 5pm a large rip tore through our number two spinnaker, a sail that we would consider to be our workhorse. The tear went across the top of the sail and straight down the side seam, making it impossible to repair at sea.
Later in the day, in light fog we had to veer off course to avoid the treacherous Dollic Rocks off the coast of Cork. The Atlantic brings with it higher rolling sea than the Irish sea, a bit like going from a friendly chat with David to a slightly unnerving argument with Goliath.
Only one or two onboard are suffering from sea sickness. Fortunately it has not spread to the rest of the crew. Sea sickness is bizarrely contagious — once more than three people have it it is likely that everyone else, regardless of experience, will be puking over the side of the boat. I’ve no idea why but I’m sure psychologists would have a good answer for it.
At 2.20am and we have passed south of Fastnet Rock making toward Mizen Head. The wind speed picked up and we stuck close to the coast as the boats ahead of us that went out too far are sailing at around 3 knots against our 7.5.
As we head into day three, tiredness has set into the crew and after a night of heavy rain, clothes are damp through. We had a birthday onboard; our navigator Carol Payne celebrated her 21st with a chocolate cake and tea.
Around 11am this morning a pod of common dolphins appeared at our bow and have played around the boat on-and-off throughout the day.
We are now off the coast of Loop Head and have covered 292 nautical miles (NM) of our intended 704 NMs.