The Class 1 start of last Sunday’s Matthews Autumn League at Crosshaven was a tension filled period awaiting the start sequence with a strong ebb from the Spring tides pushing the boats onto the line and necessitating the Race Officer to admonish the fleet to “mind their manners”.
Despite this warning there was a massive charge to the line resulting in a general recall.
Jump’s tactician for the series was Olympic sailor Mark Mansfield and for the final race, such was the intensity of competition, the services of Olympic contender Maurice (Prof) O’Connell were also commandeered.
Richard Leonard, the Principal Race Officer for the series was once again in charge and sent the big boats on a Z type course, a beat to No. 8 buoy, a run across the harbour to No. 7 and a beat out to Ringabella, in the low cloud misty conditions 16-20 knots S.Westerly wind. Beating out the harbour Mariner’s Cove was ahead followed by the O’Mahony/Twomey Gloves off. They disappeared into the mist in that order but on remerging it was the red spinnaker of Jump Juice that was first to be seen and after that it was game set and match in Class 1 IRC for the League and the Rose Trophy to the Phelans’ Kerr 37.
Mariners Cove took second and Mike McCarthy’s Checkmate consolidated her improved performance by finishing in third place in IRC and taking first in ECHO overall for the series. Andrew Creighton’s Mustang Sally took second place in ECHO. In IRC 1 Restricted Class, sailed by the mainly cruiser racer type boats, the Waterford based Rob McConnell’s Surfarosa was the winner of the series. Helming her for the final race was Tom Fitzpatrick, former Olympic sailor, who was assessing this Archambault design boat as a possible contender for the small boat slot for one of the Irish teams in the 2008 Commodore’s Cup. Second was Conor Doyle’s majestic Freya followed in third place by former RCYC Admiral Ted Crosbie sailing Excuse me. In the 20 boat IRC 2 Class fleet competition was again extremely tense for the final race with any one of three boats in a position to take the overall title.
Colm Dunne’s Grin and Bear It had struggled in the one very light airs race but on Sunday last had no such problem and powered her way to complete her hat trick of wins to take the IRC 2 cup with three wins and one second. The two Corby 26 yachts had another ding-dong battle and it was David Rose helming Obsession V1 finally triumphed over Vinny O’Shea’s Yanks & Ffrancs.
O’Shea had come into the race ahead of Obsession V1 but slipped to eighth on the day and when the discard was taken into consideration Obsession V1 emerged ahead of Yanks & Ffrancs to take second in IRC 2.
In Class 2 ECHO Des Ellis’ Kodachi took first place on the day but this was not enough to prevent Kieran and Liz O’Brien’s Magnet taking the overall spoils with Tralee competitor Gary Fort’s KVector II in second place and Henry Kingston’s Quicksilver third in the series. In Class 3 IRC Jimmy Nyhan and Marita Buwalda’s Outrigger was the outright winner of the series without having to sail the final race. The Losty’s Woody was second overall with the O’Sullivan Bros. Running Wild third. This class was not without its dramatic moments as no less than three boats each had a crew member overboard, one before the start of racing at all when trying to grab a loose halyard, but all were safely retrieved.
In ECHO interestingly enough it was three timber boats all designed by David Thomas took the overall slots with Kieran Collins’ beautifully restored Tambourine in first place followed by Alan Mulcahy’s Sundancer second and the Losty’s prototype Bolero Woody third.
The White Sail fleet attended a protest hearing before racing. This was due to a misunderstanding about the need for an ECHO rating certificate as traditionally it was not a requirement but the S.I. (sailing instructions) stipulated this year it was a requirement. Following the disqualification of boats without such certificates a request for redress was made.
A protest meeting convened under Chairman Mike O’Connor, one of the national Judges, decided to reinstate those who could produce their certificates and those who did not could continue to race without a result being given and donate their entry fee to the RNLI if desired. Peace was once more restored and racing got underway. The fleet sailed a shorter in harbour course with Stephen McCarthy’s Nadie doing her usual horizon job on the rest of the fleet and this with her two previous wins and a third gave her the overall League trophy in White sail ECHO with Brian Cudmore’s AnneAgain posting a sixth on the day that was good enough to give him overall second in the League and Michael and Siobhan O’Donovan’s Swift was third overall without having to sail on the day.
Frank Murphy’s Dream Catcher was unlucky enough to lose her steering at No. 13 buoy and ended up going around in circles which effectively put paid to her chances. In IRC Pat Vaughan’s Aramis was second on the day but had done enough to take the overall with three wins and a second, followed by Nadie and Tom O’Mahony’s Rapparee was fourth on the day but managed third overall in the league. Racing commences next Sunday in the Matthews Winter League First gun will be at 12.25 pm.