Speed-king Kenny breezes to Sailor of the Month award
John Kenny of Ringsend in Dublin, is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month for January after the 37-year-old pushed the bounds of water-borne, wind-powered speed in Ireland during winter's big breezes.
Previously our Sailor of the Month in October 2008, when he set a new Irish record in Dungarvan, Kenny was disappointed with his showing in the final series of the Worlds at the same West Waterford venue last autumn. He was in the frame, but not on top.
But then, as the rest of the country subsided into Yuletide torpor, he was back on form, this time in the almost suburban setting of the Burrow Beach at Sutton, where ideal conditions can develop in the inshore stretch of water between Portmarnock Golf Links and Howth Harbour.
Though it's ultimately a case of working with elemental forces of nature, speed sailors on their boards rely on the best technology that can be provided by satellite navigation on GPS. For most folk, GPS is useful for telling you where you are. But for the speed freaks, it can be tweaked to tell you how quickly you went getting there.
Kenny achieved a personal best of a burst of 45.3 knots (84 kph) and averaged 42.52 for the 500 metres. For those of technical bent, he was on a Starboard Isonic Speed Special W49 board, with a Severne Code Red 5.9 sail.
Having shone on the east coast, the New Year has found him on the west coast, in the first event of the 2010 at the popular setting of Elly Bay in Belmullet.
In such pre-set events, you have to make the best of conditions as found, but Kenny was tops with an average of 34.74, three knots clear of the next contender.
But, though 45.3-plus is now the target, for now, the fact that John Kenny has hit that speed under sail power gets the New Year off to a fine start.
Anyone who thinks that they understand what the state of play is in the 33rd America's Cup is under a delusion. After all the legal wrangling over two years, it all comes down to a couple of giant multihulls having three very fast races off Valencia in Spain in a short week in the shortest month of the year.
The first race is on February 8, the second on the 10th and the third on the 12th.
Meanwhile, at the first major regatta of the year -- Key West in Florida -- designer Mark Mills has been scoring well again with one of his Summit 40s (formerly the King 40) winning the main IRC class, while a Mills 43 was third.
In the PHRF Division (for which they were not designed), two of the new Summit 35s took second and fourth, with Dave Dwyer and Anthony O'Leary of Cork taking second with marinercove.ie, and Act One, part-owned by Tom Roche of Dun Laoghaire, taking fourth. Under IRC, they'd have been first and second.