At the ICRA National Championships at Howth, clouds cleared to allow a perfect sea breeze to develop with four races completed on all three course areas today (Saturday 9th September 2023).

None of the five divisions contesting their national titles have runaway leaders and much depends on Sunday’s final day and whether weather conditions allow completion of the full programme of races.

“Today worked out as it should have done, it was just slow to come in,” said David Lovegrove, International Race Officer. “I have two forecasts for tomorrow and I would hope to get two races in but if a third is possible then that would complete the series.”

With 27 clubs represented throughout the 70 strong fleet from all coasts of Ireland, there is a wide representation amongst the overnight leaders with just one class held by a Dublin boat.

Amongst the big boats of Class Zero, Brian Jones Jelly Baby (Royal Cork YC) had a consistent day with two races wins and two third places opening the prospect of an overall win to make the trip from Crosshaven all the more worthwhile.

It’s a similar story for clubmate James Dwyer on the classic half-tonner Swuzzlebubble leading Class 2 with Johnny Swan of the host club close behind on Harmony.

Courtown Sailing Club’s Joanne Hall and Martin Mahon on Snoopy are leading Class 3, again with a Howth boat in pursuit as Nico and Caroline Gore-Grimes’ Dux who are in second place in this, the largest IRC class with 13 boats.

Of all four classes competing on the IRC rating system, Howth’s John and Suzie Murphy’s J109 Outrajeous has the strongest lead by six points in Class 1 over John Minnis’ Final Call II from the Royal Ulster YC.

Meanwhile, in the J24 national championship where 20 boats are competing, Bray Sailing Club’s Hard On Port has a narrow lead after some very close racing. The one-design class was the only fleet to get a single race completed on Friday so now has five results with any of six boats all in the hunt for the title.

“We were all delighted to see the breeze arrive – eventually – though we didn’t have to wait too long,” commented David Cullen, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association. “The race officers made a very good decision to run four races and we’re looking at a lot of sunburnt and smiley faces ashore so a great success.”

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