The Uí Loingsigh Off Licence sponsorship of the Shorthanded Wine Race with the Royal Cork Yacht Club finally got off to a great start on the third attempt, the Weather Gods having been unkind on the previous two dates. The Gods still had not recovered their equilibrium but nonetheless they were prepared to allow racing to get under way.
A fine fleet of over twenty cruisers arrived for a grassy start with fog to the left of them and fog to the right of them lifting and descending. The fleet with race Officers James Fegan and Mark Bushe got a reaching start from grassy heading for the E2 Buoy and with an ebb tide under them they charged the line. The wind was somewhat flukey and it was Kieran and Liz O’Brien’s Magnet who seemed to carry their own private breeze for the early stages of the race. As the boats neared Roches Point the L.É. Emer appeared through the mist. No doubt the crew of the Emer must have thought they were under some form of attack from all the little green Martians appearing on their screen. The fleet then made for No. 14 and divided into two sections in an attempt to dodge the strong tide.
Light winds made it difficult for some of the white sail fleet to complete the course and with a time limit of 9 pm the only finisher in this fleet proved to be Paul O’Shea in Elegance. Vinny O’Shea’s Yanks and Ffrancs took honours for boats less then 30 feet, while for the larger boats Frank Doyle Endgame took ECHO with Stuart Nairn’s Maximum second. IRC went to Kieran Twomey’s Gloves Off with Kieran and Liz O’Brien second in Magnet.
Novelty prizes went to several skippers, Brian Heffernan in Aisling, Peter Webster on Thistle and Mark Mandell in Wicked showed his superior knowledge of wines to win the bar quiz and a bottle of Moet Champagne.
The club was honoured on the night with a private visit from ISAF President Goran Petersson of Sweden and his party who enjoyed an evening’s dining at the club and the following wine quiz and prizegiving for the Wine Race.
All in all an excellent start to the Uí Loingsigh Off Licence Sponsorship who were also celebrating 25 years in business on the night.
Pictures of the night can viewed on the Bateman Gallery.