Ben Duncan has today been crowned the 66th ISA All Ireland Sailing Champion after an exciting seven race regatta in changeable conditions at Howth Yacht Club. The invitational event is Ireland’s most prestigious annual national sailing regatta and up for grabs was the coveted ISA Helmsman’s Trophy.
The day began with the 16 class representatives and their crew being split in to two eight boat fleets. Due to the forecast weather conditions for Sunday, the decision was made to sail two races in each fleet in the morning with the top four teams from each progressing to the Final Series which would take place in the afternoon. Sailing in the Irish Sailing Association’s J80 keelboats, the first eight teams took to the water for a 10.30am start in a 15 knot south-westerly. Leading the fleet in the first race was SB20 champion Ben Duncan who took the bullet followed by Ian Matthews from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire and John McGuinness from Moville in Donegal. It was local Howth Yacht Club sailor Cillian Dickson who took the win in the second race followed by Ben Duncan with Ian Matthews in third. On a total of 3 points, Ben Duncan and crew Joe Turner and Davie Taylor were the overall winners of the first fleet earning their place in the afternoon’s Final Series. Also progressing to the Final were Ian Matthews (5 points), Cillian Dickson (6 points) and John McGuinness (8 points).
Facilitated by an on-the-water changeover, the second eight teams began racing almost immediately as strong winds were forecast for the early afternoon. Fireball sailor Noel Butler took the first win followed by a third in the second race, securing his place in the final. Also moving forward was Colin Byrne from Dun Laoghaire with two second place finishes and tied on 4 points with Noel Butler. Finishing third overall in the fleet on 5 points was teenager Séafra Guilfoyle who was invited to the championships upon winning the Junior event last month in Cork. And the sailor taking the last place in the Final Series was Trevor Kirkpatrick from Carrickfergus with a total of 8 points.
All sailors returned to the shore after the fleet racing had finished as the wind had picked up to almost 30 knots. After a two hour break and the boat draw racing resumed at 3.55pm. Three final races were successfully completed in 8 knots but after the second race Ben Duncan had the championship in the bag. He went on to win two of the three races and placed second in the other winning the event on a total of 5 points with a four point lead. In second place was young Séafra Guilfoyle who won the last race of the regatta and finished on a total of 9 points. Séafra also had the youngest crew member of the event on his team, Dylan O’Grady who is only 11 years old. Bronze went to Ian Matthews ho finished on 12 points.[button link=”http://www.sailing.ie/ISANews/tabid/115/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/58658/ISA-All-Ireland-Championship.aspx” color=”black”] Continue reading @ISA[/button]