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Hard On Port keeps Flor on course to retain title

After a windy and damage-strewn opening day on Thursday, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta reached the halfway stage with more genteel conditions for the estimated 2,500 competitors.

As dark rain clouds skirted the edges of Dublin Bay, glorious sunshine bathed the seven race courses at sea, though light winds made for slow competition in some classes.

Picking clear leaders in most of the 25 classes is risky, though, as expected, there are straight winners in several divisions that are in contention for the overall regatta winner's trophy.

Defending that title falls to one of the smallest entries as Flor O'Driscoll, with his J24 one-design Hard On Port, is proving unbeatable in Class 3, where 20 boats are competing under IRC handicap.


The overall standings in O'Driscoll's class are starting to become predictable; while he is clicking off the wins, the quarter-tonner Super Nova from the Royal Irish Yacht Club has followed suit with three second places and Malahide's Brian McDowell on Scandal almost has a hat-trick of third places.

A former J24 champion is leading the Sigma 33 class to the surprise of few, as Tim Goodbody's White Mischief has three wins bagged already. The winning helm of Irish Independent in the 1987 Fastnet Race could be in the running for the overall win, though his class has a slightly smaller turn-out than O'Driscoll's.

After being dismasted in the opening day's choppy conditions, Anthony O'Leary, sailing his converted 1720 Antix Beag, managed to climb back into the regatta after sourcing a spare rig from the Irish National Sailing School.

After scoring maximum points for not finishing the first race, he scored two second places yesterday in Class One and was listed as seventh overall.

But the single event discard should come into force this morning and throwing away the weighty first-race points will bounce the Royal Cork Yacht Club skipper back into the overall lead of this 18-strong class that's currently being led by Paul Kirwan's Sigma 38 Errislannan.

O'Leary might normally have been seen in Class Zero with his bigger Ker 39-footer Antix, but with that class' national championship title secured last month for another year, the field has been left open.

Taking up the slack is Howth's Crazy Horse, owned by Nobby Reilly and Alan Chambers, that leads Class Zero narrowly from Scottish visitor Jamie McGarry on Grand Cru II.

Another national champion sailing out of class is Pat Kelly's Storm which won the Class One title in Cork last month, but is competing for the J109 prize this weekend. The jointly flagged Howth and Rush crew is currently third in the class, but should move to within a point of leader John Maybury on Joker 2 when the discard is applied later today.


Irish Independent