O'Leary and Kelly claim top prizes at Crosshaven
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (current 'Club of the Year') had a neatly balanced national championship at Crosshaven. The weather may have been varied at first, but it hit the spot on the third and final day, "a peach" as Commodore Barry Rose put it.
Inevitably, the fleet was dominated in numbers by local boats, but the results had the required spread. For sure, Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix took Class 0 by a clear margin from another local, Kieran Twomey's Corby 38 Gloves Off. But in Class 1, Pat Kelly of Fingal -- he's claimed by both Howth and Rush SC -- did the business in a big way with his J/109 Storm winning by all of 11 points from Rob O'Leary, who won the tie-break for second with the modified 1720 Antix Beag against another J/109, Jelly Baby.
Class 2 saw Brian Goggin's Corby 25 Allure from Kinsale taking the title by just six points from Simon McGibney's Dehler Optima 101 Disarray from Foynes. But in Class 3 it was very much Royal Cork on top, with Neil and George Kenefick and Joxer O'Brien in Tiger notching six wins against Eamon Rohan's Anchor Challenge, Jamie McDowell's Black Fun from New Zealand taking third.
Black Fun has been brought halfway around the world for this summer's racing of the revived Quarter Ton class in Europe and is currently in the thick of the 101-boat Sovereign's Regatta at Kinsale, where there's an addition to the already impressive array of prizes. In memory of Michelle Dunne, who contributed so much to sailing administration both on the south coast and nationally, the new trophy is a Prix d'Elegance, but it's much more than just a prize for polishers.
After a couple of days of miserable conditions while the boats re-positioned themselves from Crosshaven, the Sovereigns opened with a perfect day on Wednesday and it proved a great day for visitors.
Neil White from Swansea with the Corby 40 Independent Bear won Class 0 from Antix by a few seconds, while Shane Statham's GK 34 Slack Alice from Dunmore East was on top in Class 2.
Up in Sligo, the pre-championship for the Fireball Worlds was totally global in its spread of results, with Ben Schulz and Phillip Bowley of Australia having a clear win, with four firsts, ahead of Andy & Derian Scott (GBR), with Joe Jospi and Tom Egli (Canada) third. Noel Butler and Stephen Oram were best of the Irish in fourth.
With barely four months to the start of the next Volvo Race, which will finish at Galway in June 2012, it has been confirmed that Ireland will be involved in a supporting role with the last-minute Chinese entry from the city of Sanya, which will be one of the stopover ports. Mike 'Moose' Sanderson -- winner of the 2005-06 race -- is skipper and the boat selected from the six or so 2008 Volvo 70s available will be announced shortly.
In Waterford, the final preparations are under way to welcome the Tall Ships, which will assemble next week from all over the world for the first race of their 2011 programme -- to Greenock in Scotland, starting July 3.
And for those who like their sailing as accessible as possible, tomorrow sees the first Waterways Ireland Inter-County championship on the Grand Canal Basin in the heart of Dublin. Racing gets under way from 11.0.