Checks ensure Lambay Lady goes home with right man
When you've been staging a race annually since 1899 or thereabouts, it's something that has have acquired its own momentum, with a significant amount of baggage in the nostalgia stakes.
Its enduring popularity means anyone minded to donate a trophy to the hosting club will want to get aboard the bandwagon of the big one.
Today's annual ITC Lambay Race at Howth looks to have everything going for it, not least an improvement in the ghastly weather. The race's prestige is such that it seems to have accumulated more silverware through its various divisions and classes than any other single race on the east coast -- and perhaps the entire country.
Taking in courses round the handsome Lambay and its quirky little sister island of Ireland's Eye, the Lambay Race is a celebration of the coast of Fingal which -- during the ICRA National Championship a fortnight ago -- showed it can provide good sailing breezes when Dublin Bay is serving up windless frustration.
The supreme award is the Lambay Lady, and it goes to whichever winning boat in any class has the greatest margin ahead of the runner-up.
Last year, Dun Laoghaire's Ken Lawless with his upgraded vintage Quarter Tonner Supernova was initially declared the winner. The Lawless crew were well on their way back across Dublin Bay with their boat groaning under a load of silverware when some enthusiast ran a computer check on all the results and came up with the news that the host club's David Clark with his Puppeteer 22 Harlequin should have been awarded the Lambay Lady.
This just had to be put right, and Howth YC handled it with some style. They do have experience of being on the receiving end of this kind of error.
Five years ago, Howth's Roy Dickson with the Corby 36 Rosie was announced as the initial overall winner of the British IRC Championship.
The trophy had been back in Howth for 24 hours when Royal Ocean Racing Club CEO Eddie Warden-Owen made a sheepish phone call asking for their cup back -- Rosie had actually been beaten by a fraction of a point.
So HYC's Brian Turvey handled the Supernova imbroglio with exemplary diplomacy, offering Lawless dinner for two in Howth YC if he could just see his way to bringing the Lambay Lady over with him.
Today, expect a double run on the results before making the final award, and it will be interesting to see if this year's new star, the 22ft Team Toy Yot from Malahide, can turn in another blinder. But even then, if the Lambay Lady is won but subsequently has to be given it back again, don't mess about -- hold out for free dinner for all the crew.
The Irish squad in the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta at the Olympic venue off England's Dorset coast have been turning in some good race results with just two months to the main event.
It all moves up a gear today with the Medal Races, meanwhile in addition to race wins by Peter O'Leary and David Burrows, northern crew Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton in the 49er notched three wins, while Annalise Murphy in the Women's Laser Radials also got a first. 470 crew Ger Owen and Scott Flanigan were staying in contention despite a DSQ early in the series, while James Espey was 52nd in the 95-boat Laser fleet.