Emerald Isle team start well in the Commodores' Cup

The sun was smiling even more broadly than Irish eyes after a golden start by the Emerald Isle team in the Rolex Commodores' Cup.

Of the 10 three-boat teams which have come to play in the Solent for the tenth edition of this biennial international event the Irish had always promised most, despite there being four teams from France, three from Britain.

The frenzy of Cowes Week has been left far behind, the tension of last week's Olympic pressure in Weymouth is over, but the racing conditions have been tricky, which suited the Irish fine.

Anthony O'Leary's 39-foot Antix, David Dwyer's 39-foot Marinerscove.ie, and the 36-foot Roxy, jointly owned by Robert Davies and Andrew Creighton, have notched up six wins out of a possible 12 in the first two days. They lead the best of the British, Michael Wiliamson's 40-foot White Heat, Peter Rutter's 43-foot Quokka 8, and Jim Macgregor's 40-foot Premier Flair by an impressive 20 points.

Macgregor's daughter Kate, who was crewing with Annie Lush for sister Lucy at the match racing in Weymouth is on board to try and halt the Irish marauders.

With four inshore races under their belt already, and breeze if less sunshine, in the forecast the fleet sets off Tuesday for an offshore in the Channel of between 24 and 36 hours followed by an inshore race on Thursday, a race around the Isle of Wight on Friday, and a final inshore race in he Solent on Saturday.

Before that, Frenchman Sydney Gavignet will set off from Cornwall in the 105-foot trimaran Oman Air on a bid to set a new, anti-clockwise record for sailing non-stop round Britain. And, on Monday, starting from eastward from Cowes but then turning right, a 29-boat fleet, including two former Volvo round the world boats, one from Telefonica, the other now owned by Groupama, will race non-stop clockwise in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Sevenstars Round Britain and Ireland Race.

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