Dun Laoghaire – June 8, 2019
Winds gusting to more than 20 knots throughout the day upended the overall standings at the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships sponsored by Frank Keane BMW on Dublin Bay today (Saturday 8th June 2019) with a full programme completed and just Sunday’s races remaining.
Many boats amongst the 93-strong entry were hoping for a change in fortunes and the weather delivered the opportunity with new overnight leaders in all but two divisions under IRC rating. Meanwhile, the revamped ECHO handicap system is delivering its aim of a different set of leaders in each event.
Under IRC, three-times past champion John Maybury appeared to falter in Saturday’s opening race with a 13th in Division One on Joker II and his lead looked in doubt. But the event discard kicked in after the fifth race of the series and that score was dropped. A second and a race win followed and the Royal Irish Yacht Club boat retains the overnight lead.
A podium duel is now in prospect for the two remaining races with Pat Kelly’s Storm from Rush Sailing and Howth Yacht Club just one point ahead of Richard Colwell and John Murphys’ Outrajeous, also from Howth.
“It was very tight racing – again – and it was tough with 20 knots for all three races and good courses too,” said Richard Colwell who is also the Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association. “It’s very close in our class, one mistake and you pay heavily – the way it should be!”
After back to back wins on Friday, Johnny Swan’s half-tonner Harmony from Howth Yacht Club dropped to fourth overall as Nigel Biggs Checkmate XVIII from the Royal Irish Yacht Club rose to the breezy occasion with two wins and a fourth place for Saturday in Division Two. Darren and Michael Wrights’ Mata from Howth Yacht Club retains second overall while Ronan Downing’s Miss Whiplash from the Royal Cork Yacht Club has edged onto the podium in third.
“It’s an exceptional event with very close racing, just seconds between the boats only,” said Kieran O’Connell, Rear Admiral for Keel Boat Racing at the Royal Cork Yacht Club on Miss Whiplash. That comment was a reference in particular to the third race of the day, the windiest when six or seven half-tonners were lined-up on the downwind leg, almost close enough to walk across.
A hat-trick of wins for Anthony Gore-Grimes’ Dux from Howth Yacht Club helped the X302 depose F’n Gr8 owned by Rory Fekkes from Carrickfergus sailing Club from the overall lead of Division 3 where 22 boats are battling for the national title. However, the lead is down to a single point with a softer day once again expected for Sunday’s finale.
Amongst the four boats racing in Division 4, Peter Richardson’s Dubious of the host club, the Royal St. George Yacht Club has taken the lead from Philip O’Dwyer’s Supernova of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. In Division 5 White Sails competing for the ICRA Corinthian Trophy, Windsor Lauden and Steffi Ennis’ Demelza from Howth Yacht Club added three more wins to perfect their record for the series so far.
Finally, the biggest boats of the event in Division Zero competing on a single coastal race daily enjoyed a 40-nautical mile race in perfect conditions that saw Jay Colville’s Forty Licks from East Down Yacht Club move into first place with a single point clear of Paul O’Higgins’ Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.