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Rare visitors create splash

SAILING: Dun Laoghaire welcomed thousands of spectators at the weekend for the first visit of a fleet of ocean-racing multihulls in almost 20 years. The five MOD 70-footers raced to Dublin Bay from Kiel in Germany last week before staging a six-race city series at the weekend.

Having dominated racing so far, offshore sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia had been pre-series favourite. But 'Le Prof' saw his overall leader's advantage whittled to just five points as Yann Guichard's Sprindrift Racing won the Dun Laoghaire series held on Friday and Saturday.

And there was further pressure on Desjoyeaux yesterday as the fleet departed Dublin Bay en route for Cascais in Portugal for the second stage of their European Tour.

A sail problem on Foncia saw the overall leader drop to the back of the fleet and trail the leaders on the journey southwards towards the Fastnet Rock off the west Cork coast, where they were expected to pass early this morning.

Meanwhile, there were rough conditions for the 60-boat fleet contesting the Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup at Kinsale.

World champion Lawrie Smith defeated class maestro Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen of Denmark after a three-hour race off the Old Head of Kinsale. Best of the Irish in seventh was Cameron Good, Commodore of the host Kinsale Yacht Club.

Irish Independent