The 2016 ISA All-Ireland Championship in the first weekend of October was one of the closest-fought ever seen, with at least four helms in with a chance in the final stages on the second day, as a good sailing breeze settled in to banish memories of the morning’s frustrating calm.
The historic Crosshaven venue at the Royal Cork YC was appropriate to the concluding drama of the event, and the sense of something very special being under way was heightened by the boats of the day being the Ultra, the new Phil Morrison designed take on the classic National 18 design.
This is a class development in which the Royal Cork Yacht Club has played a generous supporting role, and while the boats were raced without use of spinnakers, nevertheless it provided a useful opportunity to showcase one of the most exciting recent developments in Irish dinghy racing.
As for the outcome, it was if anything too exciting, with all sorts of permutation in countback being required to declare who really was the overall winner after an entire raft of races for a fascinating selection of superstar sailors from a wide variety of boat backgrounds. But finally the nod was given to RS 400 champion Alex Barry, whom the Royal Cork can claim as one of their own, but he is also a leading member of Monkstown Bay SC further up the harbour.
Alex Barry is the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month (Inshore)” for October. And a year hence, he will be defending champion in the 70th Anniversary ISA All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship, which already promises to be something truly historic.