Three of our laser radial sailors made the long trek North to County Antrim Yacht Club for the 2012 Ulster Laser Championships. Royal Cork’s Cian Byrne, one of the youngest sailors on view, served notice of his potential, finishing 3rd place overall in a highly competitive radial fleet. The former UK Optimist Champion put in a solid and impressive performance in difficult conditions with a great win in the very last race of the series to secure a podium finish.
The wind, forecast to be light for the event, instead provided a cocktail of conditons, gusting at times and then dropping away completely mid races. On the opening day a north easterly breeze made launching quite difficult, but the men of Antrim coped admirably, with four to five men chest deep in the water, they ably assisted the smooth launching of the three laser fleets.
During the course of a difficult day, the race officer managed to run off the regulation three races.
Sunday saw the three fleets back on the water and after some time, the race officer got all three fleets away for the first race. In the radial fleet, there was very little distance between the top sailors and with the wind dropping on the last lap it was going to be a race to the finish that would be a test of their skill and patience. Cian Byrne passed that test with flying colours and hung on with remarkable perseverance to cross the finish line in first place, leaving the next four sailors in a fight for what was a second place photo finish.
Then came the waiting and the prospect of getting two more races became more and more doubtful as the wind shifted and then dropped, rose, shifted and then dropped again. Finally, the race officer got the standard fleet away and the radial fleet queued up on the start line but unfortunately, a general recall was the last action they were to see, as conditions prevented any further racing. The race officer called a halt to proceedings in mid afternoon.
Seafra Guilfoyle in 4th place overall and Dermot Lyden in 20th completed a solid performance by the Royal Cork team. A strong performance was also put in by our Kinsale neighbours with Daragh O’Sullivan 8th, Daragh O’Shea 10th and Conor Murphy 11th.
Erica Ruigrok of Rush Sailing Club was a very impressive winner of the 4.7 Championship. The standard fleet was won by Chris Penney, East Antrim BC followed closely in second place by that well known coaching figure, Thomas Chaix of Kinsale Yacht Club.