Lough Ree Yacht Club in Co. Westmeath was the beautiful setting for the Optimist Connaught Championship this past weekend. 125 sailors arrived, many with tents, with tentative hope for enough breeze to complete the regatta. The RCYC was represented by 20 sailors. In Main Fleet we had 9 seniors and 8 juniors, with 3 competitors in Regatta Fleet.
Although the weather seemed ideal (for those who like the sun) ashore: it was far from ideal weather for sailing. Light breeze dominated: posing a challenge to the PRO to complete the minimum three-race series. Day 1 brought a northerly light breeze for the first main fleet race but for race two the direction and force altered, the race had to be shortened, and racing finished for the day. These were demanding conditions for the sailors: where the opportunity of a discard could be particularly welcome. The first race on the second day again had to be shortened, but the breeze picked up and the PRO managed to secure a further 2 races. The conditions suited the Regatta fleet better and they secured four races on day 1 and two on day 2 in an ideal race area for them in front of the yacht club.
In senior fleet Cillian Twomey of Howth Yacht Club was the overall winner of the event. RCYC ranked very well with Oisin Pierse in 9th followed by Joseph O’Leary in 10th (3rd Silver), Harry Moynan placed 14th with JP Curtin in 17th followed by Ellen Bruen in 18th. Isha Duggan and Ethel Bateman came 23rd and 24th, with Caoimhe Corkery in 26th and Fionn Hayes in 28th.
Conor Cronin of Malahide Yacht Club was the first Junior Sailor. Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Lucy Moynan came second (1st Gold) with Andrew O’Neill in 3rd (2nd gold) and Olin Bateman in 5th (3rd Gold). Daniel Copithorne came 6th (3rd Silver), Rian O’Neill 13th, Dougie Venner 14th, Matt Mapplebeck 18th and Ayda Bruen 23rd (3rd Bronze).
In Regatta Fleet Abigail O’Sullivan came 4th and Eoin Pierse 10th, and the youngest sailor (at 7 years old) Dylan O’Sullivan finished 34th.
Well done to all who competed! Sailors enjoyed what seemed like almost as much time IN the water as on it due to the high temperatures and beautiful setting of the yacht club. Thank you to LRYC, IODAI, and our own parents, and coaches: Ben, James and Frances, for helping to make it an enjoyable and memorable event.