Class One entry Antix skippered by Team Captain Anthony O’Leary won both races, as did Rob Davies Roxy 6 in Class Three. Dave Dwyer’s marinerscove.ie won the first race by ten seconds and placed second in race two by ten seconds.
GBR Team Red have 23 points and are joint second with Team Hong Kong also on 23 points. Racing was very tight at the top with only seconds separating the boats at the top on corrected time. Conditions on the Solent for the opening two races improved gradually as winds freshened to a brisk 20-knot breeze. The tides in the area are the biggest of the year, running at up to four knots. Together with very shifty northerly winds tacticians had to be vigilant to maximise the changes.
Commented Anthony O’Leary owner of the Irish team’s ‘big boat’, the Ker 39, Antix. “We are delighted on a shifty day like today to make a start like that; you can’t ask for anything better.” “This is our third time doing it. I said to the guys yesterday – ‘we have never been as well prepared’.” In the Irish team Antix and Dwyer’s Marinerscove.ie are both well campaigned while the small boat, Robert Davies’ Corby 36, Roxy 6, was launched this year, but already has had much regatta experience. This year Antix for example has won the Irish IRC Nationals in Dublin and their class at the Scottish Series.
O’Leary, a Rear Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, says that they have been building up to this regatta all year and after so many strong, but ultimately unsuccessful Irish campaigns previously it would mean a lot to win this year. “But don’t be thinking that after one day of low points racing,” he warns.
“We are very pleased with the consistency of all three Irish boats and it’s obvious that the hard work and dedication of all involved is starting to pay off,” said Barry Rose, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association. “There is still a long way to go in the series and Tuesday’s overnight offshore race will be critical as it counts for one third of the points in the entire event.”
Tomorrow’s programme (Monday) sees two further inshore races with similar fresh conditions forecast.