Arriving at the Royal Cork Yacht Club yesterday (Sun) for the final day of the O’Flynn Exhams Autumn League there wasn’t a puff of wind to be felt. The Club Burgee hung limply and the general consensus of competitors on the marina was that there wouldn’t be any wind.
However, lo and behold as the boats went out into the harbour wind was blowing from the south and spirits (not the Halloween Spooks) lifted immediately.
Race Officer David O’Brien in Admiral Paddy McGlade’s Sabrone anchored off Whitegate and set a course a course for the Red Fleet out to the mouth of the harbour starting Class Two first and this was great as they were followed by the 1720s and in turn by the higher rated boats of Classes Zero and 1. This made for a great intermingling of the fleets in the harbour. Starting just after the top of the tide and with a southerly breeze this was a help to the boats on the beat as they tacked to and frow some favouring the western shore but the majority favouring the eastern shore. Conditions got a bit lumpy with the wind over tide and steeped up by a ground swell. There were a couple of showers but considering the summer like conditions that had been enjoyed for the series nobody was going to bother about this. After each shower cleared there was the most amazing light on the fleets and rainbows added more punch to the colour of the spinnakers.
In race 2 there was an incident on the line in Class 1 when there was a coming together of Mary O’Keeffe’s Tux and Wan and Eric Waterman’s Saxon Senator resulting in Senator’s retiral. Also in the Red Fleet there were six boats disqualified for sailing the wrong way through the finish line – perhaps more reading of the Sailing Instructions required!!
Race Officer Richard Leonard in Pascal Healy’s Capta Ventum anchored off Cuskinny to sail the Green Fleet on the laid courses. Richard, perfectionist that he is, complained bitterly that the wind had shifted some 20 degrees after the start of Race 2 and when sailing multi fleets particularly on a short course it would be extremely difficult to shift the marks. Nevertheless he got in two good races.
In Class 3 there was very keen competition between Ian Travers in Bandit and the Kenefick O’Brien favourite Tiger and they shared a first and second each on the day. However, Tiger triumphed overall by a winning margin of 2 points after 10 races. Newcomer to racing Fergus Coughlan in Whyte Knight had two wins on the day in Class 3 ECHO ensuring his overall andpopular win in this class.
In Class 4 ECHO Michael Murphy in Shelly D created his own bit of sailing history when sailed his boat to victory in this class. He had sailed Shelly D in the October League for 31 consecutive years and received a a tremendous ovation for his efforts. However, in Class 4 IRC there was no stopping Alan Mulcahy in Sundancer from taking the overall prize with 7 wins and 2 seconds.
In White Sail 1 IRC Tom and Conor McNeice in Minx 111 had two thirds yesterday and this was enough to give them the overall win in the class. The Carroll Bros. In Chancer had two wins yesterday but ended up seond overall.
In White Sail 2 IRC Clive Doherty’s Phaeton made a late challenge winning both races and this was enough for overall victory over Roy Hanan’s Plumbat.
The prizegiving took place in a packed dining room after a very enjoyable meal. The prizes were magnificent, and were presented by Richard Neville, Managing Partner from the excellent sponsor O’Flynn Exhams Solicitors, aided by Admiral Paddy McGlade and Regatta Director, Rear Admiral Ronan Enright. Irene O’Donovan also a partner from the sponsor company, was present with her husband Pascal Healy who had provided the committee boat for the laid course and who were both on board for the series.
A most successful series was enjoyed by all and sundry and not forgotten in the acknowledgements were the club volunteers who had given freely of their time and effort to make the event the memorable Autumn League that it was.