Meanwhile, back at the club outside on the patio area there was an impromptu carnival atmosphere in spite of the rain and wind. The Skippers and crews all kitted out in their sailing gear were like bucking broncos waiting for the off and enjoying coffees and exchanging banter while waiting for the bulletins from on high. Calls were being made regularly to the organisers at their look out stations but it was almost 1.30pm before the welcome news came through conditions had abated enough to commence racing and the charge to get to the line started. An amendment was made to the Sailing Instructions and with Admiral Paddy McGlade’s Sabrone as the only committee boat a line was set up off Spike.
The eight fleets were combined into three different starts sailing off the Spit all sailing in the same area. Classes Zero, 1 and 1720s were given a windward/leeward course between No. 8 and No. 11 buoys while the other fleets got a somewhat shorter course.
The conditions by this stage were such that wonderful racing was enjoyed. On asking David O’Brien about the racing and any surprises involved? The twinkling smile appeared and he said and I quote “There were many surprise wipeouts and a lot of dancing took place on the water”. Another description came from Michael Murphy of Shelly D, 1st in Class 4 ECHO and 2nd in IRC that the high pitched whine of the Class 3 Dorgan Sonar, No Half Measures, passing them under spinnaker was unbelievable and it would have been capable of towing a water skier at speed. In the end after such an exhilarating race, it left the competitors calling for another race but after such a late start it just was not possible.
Then came the evening and what an evening at the Royal Cork Yacht Club it turned out to be. There were certainly no late comers. There were people everywhere, the conversation was stimulating, the camaraderie was wonderful, the dining room was beautifully prepared, the bar was jammers while awaiting the call to dine and the Club rocked. Then it was time for dinner and the prize giving. There were gasps when the competitors saw the prizes on offer. The Sponsors, O’Flynn Exhams, had brought these wonderful nautical items in from the States from the hugely well known top of the range suppliers Weems & Plath. This again was typical of the panache and style which O’Flynn Exhams had shown as sponsors to the event and was enjoyed by the club for the past three years. Their sponsorship was outstanding and took in every minute detail. The Senior Partner in the firm Irene O’Donovan packed the delightful chocolate favours gracing the tables, tied in blue ribbons the O’Flynn Exham colour. Irene and her husband Pascal Healy had played a very active part in the Autumn Regatta as had OFE Partner Eamon Muldoon who was particularly gracious when presenting one of the earlier day prizes to 4 year old Oisin Dorgan representing his family’s win. A gesture not missed and very typical of the Sponsors’ attitude throughout the event.
During his speech before the prize giving the Admiral paid glowing tributes to the Sponsors and thanked them for their three years of support and also thanked the officials, helpers and those who had contributed to the success of the Autumn Regatta. Rear Admiral Ronan Enright also spoke and endorsed the Admiral’s sentiments in expressing thanks to the Sponsors and all connected with the event.
Apart from the forty five prizes presented by the Sponsor, trophies were also awarded – the Gibbons Family Trophy, The Rose Family Trophy and a new trophy the Heffernan Trophy presented by The Heffernan Family.