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Maybury's Joker II Out in Front As Dun Laoghaire Regatta Kicks off in Style

6th July 2017
Not hangin' around – The SB20 Sea Biscuit (Marty Cuppage) is racing for Southern Championship honours as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Not hangin' around – The SB20 Sea Biscuit (Marty Cuppage) is racing for Southern Championship honours as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Afloat.ie

It was business as usual for John Maybury's J109 Joker II in this afternoon's opening races of the 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. The triple class one ICRA national champion has moved to the top of the leaderboard in Ireland's biggest sailing event after scoring a first and second to be five points ahead in an extremely competitive class one fleet.

From a forecast for a dubious six–knots from the west, Dublin Bay instead produced a solid sea–breeze up to eight knots from the south–east for the first races in a total schedule of 290 races in 35 classes by Sunday.

2,500 sailors are racing in the four day regatta that has attracted sailors from across Ireland and the UK but also from Europe, America and Australia.

Naval shipThe Navy patrol vessel LE Orla was on hand to take Yacht Club Commodores and invited guests on a tour of the six race courses. Tea and scones were served on deck during the round Dublin Bay trip. Photo: Afloat.ie

A near–record breaking fleet of 475 boats took to the water this afternoon for a 3pm start with some classes still racing well after 6pm.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 10Race officer David Lovegrove 'named and shamed' premature starters in the 29–boat class one today. The RO claimed some boats were over the line by as much as 11 seconds in one start that was recalled. Photo: Afloat.ie

Class zero VDLR....but there were no such problems for the five boat class zero fleet

A 29–boat class one – one of the most competitive of the regatta – could not resist the temptation of an early start on the North Course and race officer David Lovegrove was forced to signal a general recall in the unruly fleet.

Dear prudenceJay Bourke's Dear Prudence (foreground) and Paul O'Higgins Rockabill VI at the pin end of the second start of the first race for class one. Photo: Afloat.ie

With a 150–degree wind direction and an ebbing tide, Maybury, with tactician Mark Mansfield onboard, made sure of an early advantage off the start line in race one when he tacked inshore out of the tide to be in contention at the windward mark.

The ICRA champion from the Royal Irish Yacht Club leads Scottish entry Banshee Charlie Frize. Third is June's Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race winner Paul O'Higgins in the JPK 10.80, Rockabill VI.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 12Gently does it – there are no sudden movements on Joker II. Crew are positioned on the leeward rail as skipper John Maybury gets up to speed at the start of race one. Photo: Afloat.ie

Joker rockabillAt the top mark, Dear Prudence lead with Rockabill VI (to leeward) and Joker II in hot pursuit downwind Photo: Afloat.ie

In class two, Afloat.ie's prediction of an early lead for the Andreau Half Tonner Trastada from Fairlye Yacht Club is bearing fruit. The Roddy Angus skippered vintage yacht has a four point lead over Johnny Swan's Half Tonner Harmony with club–mate Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV Half Tonner third. 

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 TrastadaMaking light work of light airs. The Scottish Half–Tonner Trastada leads class two. Photo: Afloat.ie

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 10This cracking pin end start for Dave Cullen's Checkmate produced a second for the half–tonner in race one. Photo: Afloat.ie

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 10Class two start on the northern course in race one. Photo: Afloat.ie

In Class three, Richard Colwell's Fusion of Howth Yacht Club took an early lead when he won both races in IRC Class three. The Corby 25 opened up a five–point lead over the X-302 GP Online-Viking Kevin Darmody on the southern course. Eight are competing.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 10An immaculate leeward mark rounding from Richard Colwell's Corby 25 that leads class three. Photo: Afloat.ie

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 10Class three X302s give chase to Colwell's Fusion (above). Photo: Afloat.ie

Conditions could not have been more different than the first race this time two years ago when strong winds and big seas opened the biennial event.

Today was equally as testing but for completely different reasons as sailors dealt with light winds and tricky start lines that demanded a clear lane to get top boat speed.

Cri cri Quarter tonnerUnder a minute to the start of race two, Quarter tonner Cri Cri (silver hull) protects her weather

In a 15–boat class four, Paul Colton's Quarter Tonner Cri Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club has opened up a four point lead from the Wicklow Sailing Club Modified Formula 28, Flash (Jonathan Flood).

Racing is being staged over six separate courses for a combined fleet of 480 boats, with over 180 visiting yachts from 70 different yacht clubs.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 FlashbackPaddy Gregory's Flashback heads for the VDLR harbour finish line in today's coastal race for the buoyant offshore class

In the offshore class, the biggest of the regatta at 32–boats, Peter Dunlop's J/109 Mojito, the overall ISORA leader from Pwllheli Sailing Club, took a win in today's coastal race that featured a harbour finish off the Royal St. George Yacht Club. Second was Steve Haye's Beneteau First 34.7 Magic Touch from Bray Sailing Club with Paddy Gregory's sistership from Howth Yacht Club third.

In the Flying Fifteen one design keelboats, Neil Coleman from the National Yacht Club leads David Gorman's Betty. Niall Meagher's Ffantastic Mr Ffox is third in a fine 23-boat turnout that race today on the Salthill course.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 10Raft up – Judging the layline for the weather mark with a tide running was tricky on the Salthill course. Photo: Afloat.ie

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 mixed sportboatA Backman 21 is racing in Dun Laoghaire Regatta's mixed sportsboat class. Photo: Afloat.ie

In a debut Mixed Sportsboat class, 1720s are top of the 16–boat fleet. David Ryan's Big Bad Wolf from the Royal Irish Yacht Club leads Royal Cork's Heroes and Villians (Gary Rhodes. Third is Declan Curtin's J80 from the National Yacht Club.

Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 10Today's classic boat fleet that have gathered to celebrate Dun Laoghaire Harbour's 200th anniversary had a coastal race with a Harbour finish

Results are provisional and subject to protest. Full results in all 35 classes are available here.

Racing continues tomorrow (Friday). More light westerly airs are forecast with sea breezes also a possibility.

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