As ever, Trials 2018 provided excitement, disappointment, thrills, spills, and no end of drama – there’s probably a movie in it somewhere.
PRO John Leech and his team did an amazing job in the face of some very adverse forecasts – from too much breeze to virtually none. Thursday saw the three scheduled races completed, but in very cold and difficult sea conditions. Friday was spent sitting around the bar of the host club (Royal St. George) drinking coffee and staring at Windguru, Windfinder, Windy, met.ie, @DublinBayBuoy and any other weather sources available! However it was to no avail and at 1400 N over A flew from the flagmast signalling all racing abandoned for the day. It was the right call as the gusts didn’t drop to below 30kts until 1700 that evening, and the sea conditions took a lot longer to ease.
Saturday and Sunday brought much lighter conditions, and even a small peek of sunshine on day 4. It nearly felt warm through my 17 layers… There was barely enough breeze for 3 races on Saturday despite 4 scheduled, and Sunday’s breeze was only marginally better. Despite it swinging wildly, from barely a zephyr to about 8 knots across 150 degrees of the compass, the PRO managed to relay the course and get the 10th race away with minutes to spare to the 1400 cutoff. This brought a second discard into play, causing snakes and ladders up and down the scoreboard.
So with that full range of conditions, it was a really good test of sailor’s ability. With 22 sailors representing the Royal Cork, the club as ever acquitted itself very well. Justin Lucas retained his title, but not with the runaway victory of 2017. He squeaked through by a point, and his three bullets on day one were extremely hard fought. James Dwyer Matthews was a reasonably comfortable 3rd, and Michael Crosbie took 4th on countback. Harry Twomey overcame a U Flag DSQ to finish 6th. Next club sailor was Ben O’Shaughnessy in 18th making his trials debut, with one race win in the bag. Harry Pritchard completed the club boats in the top 20, in 20th.
7 places separated the next 5 club sailors. Patrick Bruen missed out on a race win by about 2 inches in the tightest finish of the regatta and closed out in 23rd overall, one ahead of George Pritchard. Skipping one place saw Alana Twomey (26th) edging out Eoin Horgan, himself 2 places ahead of Jamie Venner in 29th. Other results included Richard McSweeney 33rd, Simon Pritchard 36th, Anna Keal 39th, Emmet Lucas 40th, James Murphy 43rd, Kate Horgan 44th, Darragh Collins 53rd, George O’Keeffe 57th, Rian Collins 67th and David McSweeney 74th.
These results mean that an amazing 11 of our sailors made teams. The Royal Cork will have 4 out of 5 sailors at the worlds in Cyprus (Justin, James, Michael and Harry), no presence on the European team; Ben, Patrick and George on the IDT France team, with Alana, Eoin, Richard and Simon part of the IDT Poland squad.
All of our sailors did the club proud, both in the hard hours training for the event and the very challenging conditions over the regatta.
There’s a bit of a gap now to recharge the batteries, destress the bodies and look ahead to the May Leagues – by which time hopefully Spring will have arrived!