Sailing: Bright start proves key ingredient for Kenefick
After a squally and rain-lashed series on Lough Derg at the weekend, George Kenefick of the Royal Cork Yacht Club lifted the overall trophy at the Waterways Ireland ISA Sailing Championship for 2011, defeating 15 of the country's class national champions.
Competing as the ICRA Class 3 champion, the 23-year-old started the eight-race contest on Saturday morning with two race wins plus a second to edge ahead of Olympic veteran Mark Mansfield in their flight of eight boats.
The afternoon flight saw their fellow RCYC clubmate Anthony O'Leary leave for home earlier than expected after the ICRA Class Zero national champion had a shaky start to the event, with a fifth and a disqualification too much to allow him progress to the final.
Hitting the ground running was the essential ingredient as both Mansfield and Kenefick began slugging out the final round of five races yesterday. Despite his first outing in the ISA Sailfleet J80 one-designs in use for the competition, the more experienced Mansfield gained a slight edge going into the final race.
However, he sailed too far to the left-hand side of the course while covering Kenefick and Howth YC's resident Kiwi sailor Ben Duncan, the SB3 class national champion, moved into second place at the finish.
Victory in the final race for Kenefick placed him level on points with Mansfield, but he could claim victory by having more race wins thanks to his strong opening show.
Kenefick returns to Crosshaven with his crew Mel Collins and John Downey as he turns his sights towards the Student Yachting World Cup in France next month.