Races within races
Overcast skies, mist and the forecast of rain greeted competitors for Race 4 of
the Masts & Rigging April Whitesail League at the Royal Cork on Saturday,
however the weather did not dampen their enthusiasm. In the modest southerly
breeze Race Officers Eamonn Rohan and Ian Travers opted for a made up
course featuring all points of sailing.
The race series had been sailed using the SCORA ECHO class handicaps for
boats which raced regularly and standard handicaps for those normally sailing
whitesail. This led to a situation whereby the racier boats outperformed their
cruiser counterparts in the early races but the use of progressive ECHO
was making this more and more difficult to achieve.
With Kieran and Liz O’Brien’s Magnet aiming to hold off the challenge from
Ria Lyden’s Ellida the front of the fleet was always going to be a race within a race.
The broad reach to Corkbeg made for congestion at the favoured Cage end
of the start line but also ensured the fleet had not separated much as they rounded Corkbeg.
While most of the cruisers settled for a dead run to 14, Ellida gybed frequently
to maintain her speed and rounded the mark just ahead of Magnet.
Both boats split with Magnet opting for a port tack down the centre of the harbour
with the now ebbing neap tide, with Ellida opting for a starboard tack towards Corkbeg
before gybing to make for No. 6. By this time however the mist had descended and visibility
was reduced to a few hundred yards so even finding the marks was a challenge.
Meanwhile at the back of the fleet Thistle, Callisto and Shelly D were in their own race!
A dogleg back to Corkbeg and a fetch to Cage for the finish completed the course.
In the end it was Ellida who fared best to take line honours with Magnet close behind and
only 15 minutes separated the entire fleet making this the closest race of the series. As
a result it was the tortoises who finally beat the hares with Peter Webster’s Thistle taking
ECHO just two seconds ahead of John & Fiona Murphy on Fast Buck with Michael Murphy’s ShellyD
in third. IRC went to Ellida with Magnet second and Fast Buck third. This competitive and well
supported race series has provided excellent baseline data for the refinement of whitesail
handicaps for the forthcoming Masts & Rigging Summer series.
Next cruiser racing at the Royal Cork Yacht Club for all classes is on Friday May 7th with
the start of the McWilliams Sailmakers May League and the Masts and Rigging Summer series for
Whitesail. See the club website www.royalcork.com for details.
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