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Fierce Pace at Royal Cork ICRA Nationals Day Two

10th June 2017
Find our Afloat.ie readers a hint of sun, and we’ll put you top of the page..... Ciaran White’s immaculately-maintained Scandal is one of the J/24s dominating Class 4, and she currently lies second overall Find our Afloat.ie readers a hint of sun, and we’ll put you top of the page..... Ciaran White’s immaculately-maintained Scandal is one of the J/24s dominating Class 4, and she currently lies second overall Photo: Bob Bateman

They’ve had a mighty busy day at Cork for Day 2 of the ICRA Nats 2017, with Race Officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley putting through a rapid-fire programme of three races to give them an event and a result even if the world is blown away tomorrow writes W M Nixon.

Five races already in the can. It’s good going. In fact, tomorrow will probably see a further freshening of the strong sou’sou’westerlies around midday, but then a veering and ultimately an easing. However, by that time, with all the joys of Monday morning beckoning, the fleet will be looking to have things done and dusted by early afternoon at the very latest.

dark angel jump juice2Maybe it’s just as well Bob Bateman’s pics come without sound....This is Dark Angel, helmed by Robert O’Leary, doing all she can to let Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice get back in front again. Photo Bob Bateman

“Dusted”, however, is scarcely the word, as the mixture of rain and wind washed away any dust long since. But these people are sportsmen, and whatever the conditions have thrown at them, they’ve gone out and got on with it, even if it needed the use of the big natural harbour’s shelter at times to push through some of the programme.

In Class 0 as far as numbers are concerned, the mantra is “small is beautiful”. The sinking of the Ker 39 Inis Mor while Crosshaven-bound from Scotland just one short week ago, and the withdrawal of another biggie, has led to a match-racing series between Conor Phelan’s Ker 36 Jump Juice and Robert O’Leary driving the Dubois 37 Dark Angel, an oldie which has been round the block and then some.

Oldie she may be, but with young O’Leary on top form, the Angel has been sailing like she’s new-born. Or maybe that should be Born Again. Halleluliah anyway. She has won all five races thus far, and even when she wasn’t in front on the water, a rating advantage of 0.008 points put her back on top.

In Class 1, John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II was having it all her own way with a row of three bullets until Race 4, when the Kelly family’s usually all-conquering J/109 Storm finally found her mojo again after some rather iffy results, and came up with the win, while in Race 5, Paul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI rounded out a 4,5,2,2 scoreline with the win.

joker bon exemple3John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II chasing Colin Byrne’s XP 33 Bon Exemple. Photo: Bob Bateman
ohiggins rockabill4Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI found improved form today, rounding it out with a win in Race 5. She’s a boat in a hurry – next Wednesday evening, she’s due on the start line at Dun Laoghaire for the 275-mile Dingle Race. Photo Bob Bateman

Meanwhile, with these interlopers filling her accustomed top slot, Joker II had to be content with a 5th and a 4th, but she still leads overall, with Rockabill second and Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold being anything but foolish for a steady third, with a scoreline in which she was never worse than fourth, but never better than second. Did somebody mention a bridesmaid?

slack alice harmony5Slack Alice from Dunmore East and Harmony from Howth battling it out in IRC 2. Photo: Bob Bateman

The two Howth boats battling for the overall lead in IRC 2 have seen Ross McDonald’s X-332 Equinox slip in front by just one point over Jonny Swan’s classic Half Tonner Harmony, all a bit weird as Equinox had a 6th and 2nd but then a first, while Harmony had two fourths and a second. It was local hero Finbar O’Regan’s day as he notched 2,1,3 with his Elan 333 Artful Dodger, enough to put him into third ahead of the Tingles in Alpaca.

jack roy6“If you want anything done, ask a busy man to do it”. ISA President Jack Roy has somehow carved out the time to be one of the Race Officers at the ICRA Nats – Peter Crowley is the other. Photo Bob Bateman

IRC 3 was almost boring, as it saw Paul Gibbons’ Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge log three more wins to give him five in all, while Anthony Gore-Grimes’ X-302 Dux had three seconds. But the Corby 25 Fusion (named today as sailed by Ronan Cobbe) enlivened things greatly by having two thirds, but then a fourth. Now there’s variety for you....... On the points table, those three are now out of sight in that order from the rest of the class.

Division 4 continues to be dominated by J/24s in the first seven positions, but Flor O’Driscoll must have over-celebrated yesterday’s success last night, as he’s now back in fourth overall after a 3rd, 13th (whoops) and 5th today. It’s Daragh McCormack who has a good points lead after the old 2,1,2 today, while Ciaran White is into second OA in Scandal with a 4,2,1, and Mark Usher is third.

ya gotta wanna7The boat whose name sums it all up down in Crosser tonight. A rush of J/24s is led by Ya Gotta Wanna (Dave Lane & Sinead Enright). Photo Bob Bateman

Non-spinnaker Division A continues to see Denis & AnneMarie Murphy’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo making her stately way round the course with a string of wins, while the Dillon/Baxter J/80 Rioja has a similar string of seconds, but the unlikely scoreline of 9,9,3 and 3 has seen Wan & Eric Waterman’s X37 Saxon Senator take over third slot overall.

grand soleil nieulargo8Classy. The Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Denis & AnneMarie Murhy) dominates non-spinnaker Division A. Photo Bob Bateman

And finally in Non-Spinnaker Div B, Clodagh O’Donovan;s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties is doing that very thing, roaring along with even greater vigour. While that class had only two races today, she won them both, with a clear lead of 5 points over second finisher Pat Vaughan with the Contessa 33 Aramis, while Tom O’Mahony’s Hanse 31 Loch Greine has taken over third slot overall with a fourth, and then a second in the final race of the day.

ICRA adds: 

For many crews on Day 2 of the ICRA National Championships at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the weather conditions seemed determined to merge Sailing with Mixed Martial Arts, such was the range of gear damage and minor bodily injuries throughout the 43 boat fleet.

Yet despite the gale force gusts throughout the day, three races were sailed resulting in a championship with the final day still on the cards though subject to similar or heavier weather conditions.

Both A and B fleets were started inside the shelter of Cork Harbour with just brief forays outside to Ringabella and Harp buoys for the bigger boats to test the conditions in the morning.

Only two of the five divisions have runaway leaders and a raft of mostly new national champions is likely tomorrow.

Although Conor Phelan's Division Zero title on Jump Juice looks set to fall to Robert O'Leary on Tony Ackland Welsh visitor Dark Angel, straight wins for the visiting boat belies the nip and tuck match race sailed over the past two days. The defending title holder hasn't been able to open up distance on the lower-rated challenger in racing where the smallest handling error determines the result.

In Division One, John Maybury's hopes for a third consecutive national title on Joker 2 are under pressure from Paul O'Higgins Rockabill VI who enjoyed resurgent form ending top boat for the day and coming within two points of Maybury in first place. By contrast, after winning the opening race of the day Joker 2 placed out the top three for the next two races and faces a decisive final day.

A broken spinnaker pole for Division 2 title holder David Cullen on Checkmate XV ended his title hopes as he retired after the opening race of the day. Howth YC clubmates Ross McDonald on Equinox in first overall and Johnny Swan on Harmony in second now lead the hunt for the national title.

Paul Gibbons' Anchor Challenge is the only other class leader to match Dark Angel's straight run of bullets in Division Three and appears unstoppable going into the final day.

Amongst the J24 battle that dominates the leading boats of Division Four, Darragh McCormack's Foynes entry Stouche has risen steadily to top the leaderboard overnight after two second places and a win for the day. Previous leader Flor O'Driscoll with Hard On Port from the Royal St. George YC had a good start to the day with a second but then had an On-Course Side starting disqualification in race two followed by redress in the final race after a Port and Starboard incident resulted in a series-ending collision.

Meanwhile, amongst the two White Sails Divisions, two races were sailed for the day inside Cork Harbour where it was relatively flat-water but winds still funneled to Gale Force making for tricky racing. Denis and Anne-Marie Murphys’ Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo topped Division A under ECHO handicap with two wins while Clodagh O'Donavan’s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties leads Division B with a win and a second place for the day.

"I want to pay tribute to the many crews who displayed great stamina and maintained a very high standard in the most demanding conditions today," said ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney of Foynes SC. "All week it seemed certain that we would have a memorable regatta and today is proof positive of this."

With three races completed for Day 2, a championship series has been achieved plus a single event discard also came into force after race five. As with Saturday's schedule, race officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley will decide on options for Sunday's final races in the morning though with more high winds forecast, availing of the shelter of Cork Harbour appears likely.

ICRA National Championships (overall after day two) at Royal Cork Yacht Club: 

icra Day 2 results

See Bob Bateman's Day Two Photo Gallery Here

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