Friday 9 December 2016

Dwyer lands top honour after Solent heroics retain British Open

WM Nixon

Published 03/07/2010 | 05:00

Dave Dwyer of Cork is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month for June after his convincing retention of the British Open IRC Championship over three days' racing which concluded in the Solent on Sunday.

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A busy month of sailing had already produced several worthy contenders for the award, but Dwyer's performance on the final weekend with the 39ft Mariners-cove.ie (designed in 2006 by Sailor of the Year Mark Mills of Wicklow) was in a league of its own.

The boat has been regularly updated and optimised during four busy years at the sharp end of national and international fleets. But even in these recessionary times, there are completely new and decidedly hot contenders coming on the scene.

Thus even as the Dwyer team was shaping up for the Solent championship, right on Mills' own doorstep in Wicklow the overall winner of the Round Ireland Race 2010 was confirmed as the 46ft Tonnerre de Breskens, designed by Jason Ker in 2008.

To add to the pain, second place went to another 2008 Ker boat, the 39ft Inis Mor (Bernard Gouy, Clifden Boat Club). In fact, there wasn't a Mills design in the entire Round Ireland fleet.

But within four days, mariners-cove.ie had done the business and redressed the balance against an international line-up off Cowes, clinching it with four wins on the final day of racing, and catapulting Dwyer into Irish sailing's kingpin spot for June.

The Solent success is a welcome boost in the build up to the Irish team's challenge for the Commodore's Cup in late August. We have almost done it in past years, but in the cauldron of international sailing interaction which is the Solent area, new team formations have a way of developing and upsetting reasonable predictions of form.

So it may be a strategic error to peak too quickly, thereby showing the opposition the standard they have to be able to top. Still, some sort of performance level has to be reached at this early stage.

The three-boat Irish team may have got it about right with marinerscove's win and the highest-rated boat -- Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix -- took fourth in class, while the small boat, Rob Davis's Corby 36 Roxy 6, showed real promise.

There's certainly the potential for success in August. But before that, in a week's time, there's the biennial sailfest of Cork Week and then there's Cowes Week in early August.

Meanwhile, Dublin Bay is a panoply of sails today with 300 boats expected for the BMW George Regatta at Dun Laoghaire.

Irish Independent

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