It’s the peak of the best of the sailing season in the Caribbean, and key Irish crews are making a major impact at the sharp end of the fleet writes W M Nixon. Former All-Ireland Sailing Champion Nin O’Leary of Crosshaven, skippering the 60m sloop Perseus3 of Mark Byrne (a Royal Cork YC overseas member), has recorded a convincing class win at the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, an event so discreet that the precise location is really known only to the participants on the 23 superyachts taking part.
Cork interest in Perseus3 goes beyond the owner and crew, as she is a classic Ron Holland design, a Perini Navi 60. She’s a soncey big animal, even by superyacht standards. Those comfort-loving sailors who get their kicks out of being competitive with a properly-tuned standard cruiser in handicap racing will be fascinated by what’s needed to keep Perseus’s many tonnes of luxury sailing at optimum performance. But Nin O’Leary clearly has what it takes, as this is the first time Perseus has recorded wins.
It takes rare skill, very fine judgement in tight situations where a mistake could cost the equivalent of a small nation’s annual GDP, and a very large crew who know what they are doing, for with the enormous loads that you get on rigging, halyards and sheets on a boat this size, the slightest mistake can result in serious injury or worse.
But when it goes right, this is very rewarding sailing indeed, and the crew of Perseus – whose Cork complement also included RCYC members Clive Higgins and James Fagan – overcame problems to with one of the roller-furling systems during one contest to record a clean scoresheet of three wins.