Yesterday (Sat) there were faces scorched by the sun and wind, the sun shone and the wind kept blowing, the showers came and went, and the wind kept blowing. What a day of exhilarating and exhausting sailing the competitors in all classes were enjoying. The band of happy campers coming ashore all had delighted smiles on their faces and nothing but good things to say about their day at sea as they set about getting their refreshments and the outdoor patio dining area was packed as was the clubhouse.
Classes Zero, One and Two sailed off the Harp Mark under Race Officer Richard Leonard. Classes Three, Four and Whitesail sailed at the mouth of the harbour under Race Officer Peter Crowley where they enjoyed slightly flatter water than the other fleets. Speaking with Denis Kiely the handicapping guru he said conditions could only be described as heavy with North Westerly winds steady at 20 knots and gusting to 30 knots although Cian Gallagher from Ruthless, Conor Ronan’s Corby 26 in Division 2, described how they were registering gusts of 37 knots.
Inevitably some damage was to result and the two casualties were Denis Hewitt’s Raptor who lost her mast on the second run of the second race without any apparent cause and David Scott’s EOS that limped home without any visible signs of a boom as it had been damaged at the gooseneck. Fortunately, as Fintan Cairns said of Raptor’s mast loss there were no injuries and that was what mattered.
In Class Three Quarter Ton the ding dong battle continued. In the second race of the day the Kenefick/O’Brien Tiger finished three seconds ahead of Eamonn Rohan’s Anchor Challenge with Jamie McDowell’s Blackfun following in third and leaving the scoring at the top with overall points of 5 and two 14s. Ian Travers helming Anchor Challenge described how in the first race of the day a squall hit them rounding the weather mark resulting in a Chinese gybe and they knew the game was over for that race. Here may I take the opportunity to be devil’s advocate and say it will be interesting to see how much local knowledge is involved in this battle between Tiger and Anchor Challenge when the two meet again during the Sovereign’s Cup at Kinsale next week.
In the Non Spinnaker class Billy Duane described the sailing as “fantastic but John Downing in Samba with two bullets had turned things around a bit today”. Racing is incredibly close in this class with Conor O’Donovan’s Xtension leading on 5 points followed by Samba, the wily Clive Doherty’s Phaeton, and Tom MacNeice’s Minx 111 with Billy Duane’s Expression on 9 points. It was fascinating to watch the O’Donovan crew studying the results and working out every possible computation that could result today.
It was good to meet John Twomey again sailing Shilleagh in Class Three. He was bringing me up to speed on his preparations for the IFDS Worlds in Weymouth next week and this event is also a qualifier for the 2012 paralympics. The heavy conditions were taking their toll as he was sailing short handed on the rail due to the unavoidable absence of one of the crew members. His crew members are Ian Costelloe and Anthony Hegarty all of KYC. They are using the ICRA Championships and the Sovereign’s Cup as work ups for Weymouth and we all wish them the very best of luck. Last time round in 2008 there were seven country spots available for the Paralympic Team and they just missed out by coming eighth so here’s hoping they make it this time round.
Finally, there was a nice little poignant story to be told about yesterday at the ICRAs . A number of sailors will no doubt remember Shane Wall who frequently sailed competitively from the Royal Cork with Andrew George. I believe the last time may have been in Cork Week 2006 when they sailed in King One. He also was a frequent visitor to Calves week. Sadly, Shane left this world, aged just 25, three years ago. His mother, Paula Archbold Wall, a member of Howth Yacht Club, told your scribe today how Shane had always said to her to visit the Royal Cork as he had enjoyed it so much himself on all the occasions he had been there. Today she fulfilled his wish and was very happy to find it so enjoyable and pretty well everything he had described. It was a nice little aside to all the sailing activity to find out how her visit to the club provided her with much solace and to see the type of camaraderie and social activity Shane would have enjoyed on his visits to the Royal Cork.
Racing continues today when the competition will intensify even more.
Full results available on the top menu bar of the ICRA site under “Results”
Enter ICRA on right hand side of this page.
All images by Robert Bateman with more BATEMAN GALLERY Images from the Championships HERE