The ebb tide flowing out of the Eastern Bank in Cork Harbour and the opposing forces of the W/S.W wind gusting up to 26 knots made for difficult conditions for the ISA pathway sailors. Indeed so much so that the Laser 4.7s and Toppers had to make do with just one race before they were towed home. Meanwhile the Laser Radials and the 420s had an exhilarating day of racing but racing for the 420s was abandoned before Race 4 and the Laser Radials completed three races.
To quote Rory Fitzpatrick, Youth Performance and Development Manger: “I was out with the 420s and Laser Radials today and the whole fleet was incredibly impressive. The way they handled the exceptionally difficult conditions demonstrated clearly that these dedicated sailors have spent some considerable hours in their boats”. It also has to be said that it is to the credit of the Race Officer for these two fleets, Alan Crosbie, that great concern for all the competitors was his primary objective and to see that all who were retiring or capsized were accounted for. He had a mother ship and rescue standing by. He was also heard on radio instructing all rescue and support RIBS to be alert to the fact there was another squall on its way. It brings your scribe back to one day many moons ago when he was dealing with a fleet of bucking bronchos all being skittish at the start of a race and the dulcet tones came over the radio saying “I’m watching you, they are watching you from the pin end and God is watching you from above”. Today the dulcet tones came over the radio again to advise “this will be a black flag start as we have no time for messing today”.
On the Optimist course as one approached the fleet in the morning several competitors, prior to racing, went off on a reach and loud whoops of delight could be heard as the youngsters surfed the waves, here again under the watchful eye of the rescue RIBS. Once again, they sailed a longer day than any other fleet getting in another four races. One has to really admire the determined grit of these young sailors. Every inch of the Curlane Bank was utilised to day to give these youngsters the longest beat possible.
Forecast for tomorrow (Sunday) is for more strong wind and hopefully racing will be able to take place.