Monday 16 December 2019

Ireland on course for historic Commodores' Cup at Cowes

Spinnakers in light winds on day one of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup at Cowes (David Branigan/Oceansport)
Spinnakers in light winds on day one of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup at Cowes (David Branigan/Oceansport)

James Hall

Ireland's team competing for the Commodores' Cup in Cowes stand on the brink of success this weekend as the 31 sailors have built an impressive 100-point overall lead.

Four of the other eight teams are contesting second place and all are hoping for a major slip by the Irish squad in the remaining two races.

Three races were completed yesterday despite fears that the light winds would again halt the racing programme.

Consistent top-10 places were achieved by Marc Glimcher's Catapult, Anthony O'Leary's Antix and Quokka 8, chartered specially for the event by Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling.

Fears that the leaderboard could be overturned are mainly hinged on today's highly unpredictable 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight.

With more light winds expected, plus strong tides, the race could last 12 hours in temperatures similar to yesterday topping 30 degrees celsius.

ANCHOR

If winds do drop completely, the fleet could be becalmed and may even have to kedge or anchor to avoid losing ground. Such an outcome would throw the race wide open.

Bonus points are also up for grabs in today's race, which could boost Ireland's lead further or hand an advantage back to the chasing pack.

Any erosion of the points cushion today will have a knock-on effect going into tomorrow's finale; a short-sharp race of less than one hour that itself counts for double-points.

Although other race observers have tipped Ireland to win, team-members remain cautiously optimistic at best, preferring to concentrate on one race at a time before tomorrow afternoon.

If all goes to plan, it will be Ireland's second time winning the Commodores' Cup after the historic 2010 victory that was the first major win at Cowes in decades of participation.

Irish Independent

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