The Optimist Munster Championships supported by Volvo Cars and CurraDinghy Sailing took place at the weekend on the 15th and 16th of May at the RCYC.
One of the most notable highlights of the event was the achievement of the Cournane brothers with Daire Cournane RCYC/KYC winning the Junior Gold title and his younger brother Ronan RCYC/KYC winning the Junior Silver. Not alone did Ronan win the Junior Silver but he also finished 3rd Junior overall for the event.
The Senior Division was won by Sean Donnelly from the National Yacht Club on a countback from Sophie Browne (TBSC/RCYC) with Seafra Guilfoyle only a point further back in third.
IODAI’s new racing schedule was being tried for the first time and first gun at 1.25 p.m. meant that sailors and parents could choose not to travel on the Friday night and make the journey to arrive in plenty of time for the Saturday start.
The first day of racing at Cuskinny was difficult for all concerned, most particularly for our long suffering OD, Richard Leonard, who had a task that nobody would envy. Light and shifty wind conditions combined with an incredibly strong tide made it very difficult for all, but marginally suited the lighter sailors. Conditions were such, that the second race was abandoned after the first Junior sailor had rounded the windward mark and then promptly came to a full stop, unable to make any progress at all against the tide.
Richard then moved the race area as far as he could out of the worst of the tide and a much shortened course then meant that he got a second race completed, in very trying conditions.
In the first Junior race Daire Cournane set out his stall for the event with a convincing win. However, the conditions were such that 31 of the Junior sailors were out of time.
The first Senior race was won by Adam Hyland (RStGYC), followed by Sean Donnelly (NYC) and then our own Philip Brownlow and Peter McCann in 3rd and 4th respectively. Sophie Browne TBSC/RCYC was 5th.
The second Junior race was won again convincingly by Daire Cournane but snapping at his heels was his brother Ronan in 4th place.
The Second Senior race was won in heroic fashion by our own Patrick Crosbie, with Cian Byrne snatching 3rd and Peter McCann in 6th
At the end of the first day the leader board showed that a huge effort was going to be required from the RCYC sailors on day 2.
With racing declared finished for the day, all rescue and support craft towed the entire fleets of 107 boats on the long haul home. We were all safely back on shore by circa 7.00 p.m.
The days racing was then put to the back of peoples minds, for a while at least, as the 8.00 p.m. kick off approached for the Leinster -v- Munster Magners league semi final. Unfortunately, that was another result that was as painful for us Munster supporters, as the days racing had been for some of the sailors.
Sunday dawned with a nice breeze and beautiful sunshine. Richard Leonard made the brave call of changing the race area from Cuskinny to the Curlane Bank. It proved to be a masterstroke with all four remaining races being successfully run off.
In the Junior Fleet, Daire Cournane continued where he had left off the previous day with a win in the first race. He then went on to win three of the four races coming second in the 5th race, which was won by his brother Ronan.
Daire Cournane was the outright and convincing winner of the Junior Gold Fleet.
In the Junior Silver fleet Ronan Cournane took first place and Claire O’Sullivan earned herself a very deserved 4th placed podium position.
Other notable RCYC results of the day in the Junior Fleet were, Mike Varnam’s 2nd place in the last race, Richard Thompson’s and Adam d’Arcy’s magnificent 3rd in the 4th and 6th races respectively, Jamie Tingle’s 4th and 9th finishes, Charley Breen’s 5th in the last race, Claire O’Sullivan’s 6th and two 10th finishes, Rebecca O’Shaughnessy’s 10th and one of the best results of all, was nine year old James McCann’s marvellous achievement of 8th finisher in the first race of the day.
In the Senior fleet, the tension started with the first race (Race 3) won by Sèafra Guilfoyle, followed by John Durcan 2nd, Sophie Browne 3rd and Cian Byrne 5th.
In Race 4 the RCYC charge was well and truly on. The race was won narrowly by Amy Lambert LDYC/NYC from John Durcan, Sean Donnelly NYC in third and the event leader, followed by an RCYC parade of PeterMcCann 4th, Seafra Guilfoyle 5th, Patrick Crosbie 6th, Philip Brownlow 7th and Cian Byrne 8th.
Race 5 and Sean Donnelly continued his stranglehold on the series with a 1st, he was followed by our own Graham Smith who sailed a fantastic race to take 2nd, the parade came next, with Patrick Crosbie in 4th, John Durcan 6th, Peter McCann 7th, Eoin Lyden 8th and Sèafra Guilfoyle 9th
Race 6 and now it looked as if all Sean Donnelly needed, was to finish in the top ten and the title was his. However, at this point the series was within reach of a number of sailors and it was all to play for. At the off, disaster struck, Donnelly was black flagged but unfortunately, so were John Durcan and Cian Byrne.
The race continued and Sèafra Guilfoyle held off Donagh O’Buachalla TBSC by literally a foot, to take first, followed by a re-arranged RCYC parade with Sophie Browne in 3rd, Harry Whitakker 4th, Eoin Leyden 5th, Peter McCann 7th and Philip Brownlow 9th.
It really had been down to the wire as the points were added and discards taken out, young Sean Donnelly, had held on by the narrowest of margins from Sophie Browne on 25 points each, with Sean taking the honours on a countback.
Sèafra Guilfoyle ended up one point off the pace at 26 points. With Peter McCann on 28 points and Patrick Crosbie on 29, it showed just how close they had all been during the final race.
In the Senior Silver fleet the RCYC girls put in a sterling performance. 1st place was won by Chloe Eggers of RstGYC. Then, in a well earned 2nd place came Eva Donworth, followed by Louise Shanahan in 3rd and Maeve O’Sullivan in 4th. A great result by all three RCYC girls.
The late charge of the RCYC’s Senior fleet brought results which did the Club proud and those positions were:
2nd 25 Sophie Browne
3rd 26 Sèafra Guilfoyle
4th 28 Peter McCann
5th 29 Patrick Crosbie
7th 37 John Durcan
8th 41 Philip Brownlow
10th 47 Eoin Leyden
12th 54 Cian Byrne
13th 56 Harry Whitaker
15th 82 Jill McGinley
19th 87 Graham Smith
27th 122 Eva Donworth
29th 123 Louise Shanahan
31st 126 Maeve O’Sullivan
38th 160 Rory Martin
51st 258 Arran Walsh
Jill McGinley also honoured the Club by finishing as the third placed girl overall.
In the Junior fleet the results were:
1st 5 Daire Cournane
3rd 30 Ronan Cournane
10th 57 Jamie Tingle
13th 74 Claire O’Sullivan
15th 85 Charley Breen
17th 88 Mike Varnam
18th 97 Criofan Guilfoyle
21st 114 Richard Thompson
26th 132 Adam D’arcy
29th 136 Rebecca O’Shaughnessy
30th 142 James McCann
33rd 144 Anna Kelly
37th 157 Matthew Kehoe
40th 183 Barry Shanahan
44th 194 Richard McGinley
49th 245 Harry Durcan
In the Regatta fleet, Tom Keal had a stunning event finishing in 2nd place. He was followed by Ronan Walsh in 6th place, Lucy Donworth in 10th place, Emily Whitaker in 15th place, Kelly Williams 16th, Conor O’Keeffe 18th, Juliet Nyhan 19th and Rachel Thompson 20th
The Club is understandably proud of the marvellous results of all the sailors and the commitment and effort put in by all sailors in preparation for the event. There are lots of photographs in the club gallery above which can be seen by clicking here.
Organising an event of this size is an onerous undertaking. The Optimist Class are particularly grateful for the efforts of the local organising committee headed up by Mark Whitaker. He was ably assisted by Damian Byrne, Tony Donworth, Melanie McGinley and Liz Shanahan.
Registration was conducted with exemplary efficiency by Clare Burke, Norma Byrne, Orla Palliser, Jacinta Smith and Liz Whitaker. We welcomed back beachmaster David Power.
The on the water the main fleet race organisation was headed up by Richard Leonard whose experience and efficiency allowed the fleet to get in all of he scheduled races in very difficult conditions. Richard was assisted by Lorna Browne, Jackie Harrington and his daughter Una. The substantial safety boat fleet was coordinated by Darren O’Keeffe. Dr Larrie Martin provided medical cover which thankfully was little used. The pulling and hauling of marks was done by Paul & Deirdre Tingle, Philip Brownlow and David Whitaker. Rory Fitzpatrick and Kevin Lane kindly lent their boats as committee boat and mothership respectively. Nick & Sue Walsh kindly gave of their time to run the regatta fleet racing.
Finally, Admiral Paddy McGlade, came to thank the competitors, parents, staff and organisers before presenting the prizes and giving each prizewinner an encouraging word or two while posing for photographs will each.
Thus the proud volunteer tradition of our club was continued and another hugely successful event concluded.