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Displaying items by tag: Sligo

Well-wishers broke out the champagne to welcome home Elaine 'Shooter' Alexander as she completed her solo circumnavigation of Ireland by kayak yesterday.
The first woman from Northern Ireland to complete such a feat, Shooter landed at County Antrim Yacht Club 71 days after setting off from the same spot on her 1,000-mile challenge to raise funds for local charity SHARE.
Shooter's skills were regularly tested to the limit. On one occasion she suffered severe sea sickness after getting caught in a large swell during a 12-mile crossing near Brandon Bay.
“I was fully committed with a cliff face on one side and a long paddle to America on the other, so I had to continue despite being severely ill,” she said.
But the challenge wasn't all doom and gloom. One highlight was when Shooter was joined by a pod of six dolphins for over an hour near Easkey on the Sligo coast. And above all, the people she met along the way have left a lasting impression.
“The support from the kayaking community and local fisherman has been great," she said. "Kayakers have paddled stretches with me, met me with tea and biscuits, gave me warm beds and hot showers, shared invaluable local knowledge – I can’t thank them enough."

Well-wishers broke out the champagne to welcome home Elaine 'Shooter' Alexander as she completed her solo circumnavigation of Ireland by kayak yesterday.

The first woman from Northern Ireland to complete such a feat, Shooter landed at County Antrim Yacht Club 71 days after setting off from the same spot on her 1,000-mile challenge to raise funds for local charity SHARE.

Shooter's skills were regularly tested to the limit. On one occasion she suffered severe sea sickness after getting caught in a large swell during a 12-mile crossing near Brandon Bay.

“I was fully committed with a cliff face on one side and a long paddle to America on the other, so I had to continue despite being severely ill,” she said. 

But the challenge wasn't all doom and gloom. One highlight was when Shooter was joined by a pod of six dolphins for over an hour near Easkey on the Sligo coast. And above all, the people she met along the way have left a lasting impression. 

“The support from the kayaking community and local fisherman has been great," she said. "Kayakers have paddled stretches with me, met me with tea and biscuits, gave me warm beds and hot showers, shared invaluable local knowledge – I can’t thank them enough."

Published in Kayaking
From a wet and windy Fireball World Championships in Sligo, where another four races were sailed in a building SE wind, it became a case of the fittest having the most fun on the water. Granted there was a World title to be won but the weather took its toll on the fleet with many retrials before the day was done.

The role call of leaders at the first mark of each race was expanded today when Simon McGrotty & Tony Fitzgerald (IRL 14981), and Joerg Nolle & Roger Leeman (GER 14508) took the honours in Races 1 & 2 respectively.

The other races were lead around the weather mark by the "usual suspects".

The Provisional Results for the regatta have just been posted and the 1-2-3 reads as follows;

1. Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff 16pts
2. Tom Gillard & Sam Brearey 16pts
3. David Wade & Simon Potts 19pts.

Burge/Wagstaff thus take the title on countback.

Burge/Wagstaff scored a 6,2,1,4 to Gillard/Brearey's 1,3,2,3 with Wade/Potts scoring a 2,1,1,2.

Best of the Irish, in 10th overall is Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, followed by Kenny Rumball & Seamus Moore in 12th and Simon McGrotty & Tony Fitzgerald in 13th.

Leading lady is Derian Scott in 14th overall.


The new Fireball World Champions Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff


Best Irish boat (10th overall) - Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

Published in Fireball
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As another day at the Fireball World Championships is lost to the weather, the plan now is to stage four races on Thursday writes Cormac Bradley. 

Today's racing in Sligo has not taken the regatta any further forward in terms of determining who will be the 2011 Fireball World Champion! Yes, for the second day in a row, no races were completed, but in contrast to yesterday, none were started either.

Sligo was grey and drizzly this morning and combined with a forecast of 1 – 6 knots from a variety of directions on XC Weather, the omens for racing were not good. For some there was an earlier start as the Council Meeting for the Fireball Executive and NCA reps took place this morning and while this might normally cause an anxious eye to be cast the way of the weather outside for those in the meeting, this was not the case today. There was rain and very little wind.


Rainwear by Pinnell and Bax. Taking cover on Day three of the Fireball Worlds in Sligo. Photo: Gareth Craig

As the morning wore on the prospects for racing were put into limbo! Indeed the Council Meeting was asked to consider the implications of the weather in terms of determining a plan of action for the day. A suggestion was offered but almost immediately Numeral 0 and D flags were flown – go the outer race area, i.e. beyond the lighthouse.

The fleet launched under a postponement flag at 12:30 and was greeted almost immediately with a rain shower en route to the racing area. That brought some breeze but that died and what was left, in varying degrees of pressure went from SE to almost due N. The difficulty was that during this entire period the strength never stayed above the requisite 5 knots for long enough to consider a start. The consequence for the fleet was a 3.5hr sojourn on the water that ended when the N flag was flown under the postponement flag – abandoned – to be sailed at a later date.

Thus with three days gone, the regatta has two races completed! The plan how is to try and recover races on Thursday with a scheduled start of 10:00 and the prospect of four races on the day.

The perennial debate of using the lay-day to recover races has aired again here in Sligo – understandably – but the difficulty is that for the host club the volunteers may also have made plans for that day.

This evening Sligo is bright again. The Australians will be doing their bit to persuade us all to go to their Worlds in Mandurah, Western Australia, at the end of this year. Also here are Robin Olsen, Race Officer for the Mandurah Worlds and his wife Sue.

Tomorrow is a lay-day which may convince the competitors to rid themselves of the lack of racing frustrations this evening!

Published in Fireball
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Early signs from Sligo this morning indicate it may be another non-sailing day at the Fireball World Championships. Currently there's no wind on Sligo Bay and a heavy drizzle. The forecast only 3knots from the north-west.

It's frustrating for the 120 sailors especially after yesterday's race three abandonment but also because the forecast for tomorrow (Wednesday) is good but that is the scheduled lay day of the event.

A 100% majority of competitors would be needed to agree to change it from lay-day to race day, according to regatta rules.

The forecast for Thursday and Friday is much more positive with moderate winds from the northwest.

Published in Fireball
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Day 2 of the Fireball Worlds dawned sunny! However, the discussions of Sunday evening and this morning were of the forecast for the next few days writes Cormac Bradley. XCW was predicting 5 – 8 knots ESE, in stark contrast to a forecast that had been obtained by others that suggested as little as 1 knot the previous evening. However, as the morning progressed the wind there was disappeared prompting the flying of the postponement flag. Click HERE for Gareth Craig's pics before the wind died, some nice starting line shots too, showing a dip in the middle of the line.

The Race Management Team went afloat but permission for the fleet to do the same was withheld. They positioned themselves outside the lighthouse, probably in deference to the concerns expressed by many about the random shallow spots in yesterday's race area.

Permission to go afloat was given at around 12 noon, but the postponement was continued on the water. The day got greyer before a start was initiated at around 14:20 and aborted under General Recall. The Black Flag came out for the second start.

The Jury, on the water, also identified people transgressing Rule 42 on the start.

The left hand side of the beat appeared to be the preferred side, but a substantial queue of boats was coming in the starboard layline for the first mark. Out of the chaos came the usual suspects – Gillard/Brearey, McGovern/Capener and Wade/Potts who opened a gap on the balance of the fleet, who then provided a continuous stream of boats down the first reach. As the fleet worked their way round the course the wind initially dropped and then filled in from the left leaving a lopsided beat for round two. Of greater concern though must have been the fact that after the initial burst of energy the wind petered out. The downwind leg of the sausage was reduced to a crawl before three guns and blue and white coloured flags signalled a close to proceedings. Just as the call was made a slight breeze filled in from the East to provide everyone with an easy two-sail trip home!

For four combinations though, there was a final throw of the dice when they came ashore – as there had been a Black Flag start, there were transgressors; Ben Scallan & Dave Fitzgerald (IRL 14754), Diane Kissane & Finnbarr Bradley (IRL 14790), Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser (SUI 14799) and Martyn Lewis & Richard Byrne (GBR 15056). They miss the start of the next race.

With two races lost today, the provisional programme is to race three tomorrow with a 12 noon start – an hour ahead of the original programme.

Tonight's entertainment includes a presentation by Marine Archaeologist Auriel Robinson on the wrecks of the Spanish Armada in this part of Ireland's west coast. Who says sailing can't be cultural?

Sail NoHelmCrewNationRace 1Race 2
15036 Matt Burge Richard Wagstaff GBR 1 1
14801 Jonny McGovern Max Capener GBR 2 2
15065 Tim Rush Richard Pepperdine GBR 5 6
14907 Guy Tipton Matt King CAN 9 8
14954 Alan Krailing Tim Saunders GBR 15 4
14809 Jaroslav Verner Jakub Napravniik CZE 10 11
14934 Andrew Boyle Brian Flahive IRL 4 18
14917 Remy Thuillier Loic Berthelot FRA 7 15
14941 Derian Scott Andy Scott GBR 12 10
15070 Phillip Popple Doug Shore GBR 16 7
15045 David Wade Simon Potts GBR 8 16
15058 Kenny Rumball Seamus Moore IRL 14 12
15056 Martyn Lewis Richard Byrne GBR 13 13
15061 Noel Butler Stephen Oram IRL 3 25
14820 Barry McCartin Conor Kinsella IRL 11 17
14430 Hannah Showell Barry Smith GBR 6 31
14977 Jonathon Carter Gareth Wilkinson GBR 19 23
14981 Simon McGrotty Tony Fitzgerald IRL 25 19
14976 Stuart Hydon Nigel Spurr GBR 20 24
14894 Chris Owen Steve Jobson GBR 24 22
14508 Joerg Nolle Roger Leeman GER 21 28
14973 Pascal Anselmo Jean Robillard FRA 26 27
14937 Mick Creighton Cillian Magee IRL 17 37
15024 Joe Jospe Tom Egli CAN 18 38
14807 Graeme Grant Hugh Butler IRL 23 33
14790 Diane Kissane Finnbarr Bradley IRL 30 26
15066 Mark Maskell Nigel Sheppard GBR 27 29
15041 Tom Gillard Sam Brearey GBR 60 3
14938 Niall McGrotty Neil Cramer IRL 43 20
14713 Frank Miller Grattan Donnelly IRL 22 42
14775 Neil Colin Margaret Casey IRL 29 35
14755 David Ryder Michelle Ryder GBR 32 32
15015 Martin Peculier Jean Francois Nouel FRA 60 5
14765 Gavin Doyle Richard Franck IRL 35 30
15031 Alex Taylor Richard Anderton GBR 60 9
14691 Louise McKenna Hermine O'Keeffe IRL 33 36
14939 Ben Malone Matthew Bennion IRL 37 34
14990 Owen Laverty Ed Butler IRL 28 44
15020 Vince Horey Andy Thompson GBR 60 14
14916 John Jerrard Dunne Matt Barnes IRL 34 40
15062 Ben Schulz Phillip Bowley AUS 60 21
14754 Ben Scallan David Fitzgerald IRL 42 39
15007 Louis Smyth Cormac Bradley IRL 31 54
14921 Maja Suter Thomas Boehm SUI 39 46
15063 Mianne Erne Clay Poulson SUI 45 41
14854 Cariosa Power Marie Barry IRL 36 51
14945 Steve Patten Brian Aldgate GBR 38 50
15022 John Manson Ivan Fraser SHE 41 52
14706 Patrick Hughes Aine O'Gara AUS 47 47
14877 Cearbhaill Daly Martina Michels IRL 52 43
14853 Ladislav Vomacko Jiri Gemperle CZE 40 56
14872 Barbara Newson Guy Newson GBR 51 45
14748 Jonathan Evans Aidan Caulfield IRL 50 48
14407/740 Ian O'Gorman Glen Fisher IRL 49 49
14865 Mary Chambers Brenda McGuire IRL 46 53
15060 Beth Armstrong Peter Armstrong IRL 44 57
14781 Jonathan Nicholson Vivian Bessler IRL 48 55
14595 Brian O'Neill Una l'Estrange IRL 60 60
14799 Claude Mermod Ruedi Moser SUI 60 60
Published in Fireball
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Daily Report: Day 1 Fireball Worlds: The saying goes that a difficult day on the race course still beats a great day at the office and on a day when the sun shone and the wind provided everyone with a challenge, it was infinitely easier to be racing Fireballs than contemplating work in the morning.

57 boats launched from Sligo Yacht Club’s slipway this morning en route to a 13:00 start. It was a great sight to see and must have provided the organisers of this event a hugh sense of relief. The sleepless nights, the speculation as to how many entries there would be evaporated in the sunshine of Ireland’s west coast.


Irish Fireballs competing in race one today of the Sligo World Championships. Photo: Gareth Craig. Gallery HERE.

Round 1 went to the Race Officer who, after two aborted starts, signalled by General Recall, brought out the Black Flag. 4 boats went over the finish line to silence and for Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (GBR 15041) it must have been particular disappointing as they led for most, if not all, of the race. The front three of Gillard/Brearey, Jonny McGovern & Max Capener (GBR 14801) and Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff (GBR 15036) seemed to have their own race such was their lead on the rest of the fleet. Behind them the chasing pack consisted of Tim Rush and Richard Pepperdine (GBR 15065), Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (IRL 15061) and Andy Boyle & Brian Flahive (IRL 14934) among others. An ebbing tide made course selection very important and right side of the beat seemed to pay in that respect.

Others to fall foul of the Black Flag were Martin Peculier & Jean-Francois Nouel (FRA 15015), Alex Taylor & Richard Anderton (GBR 15031) and Vince Horey & Andy Thompson. Winners from last week, Ben Schulz & Phillip Bowley had a horror first race eventually retiring to reset their rigging and sails.

Race 1 was thus claimed by Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff, followed by McGovern/Capener, Butler/Oram, Boyle/Flahive, Rush/Pepperdine, Hannah Showell & Barry Smith (GBR14430), Remy Thuillier/Loic Berthelot (FRA14917), David Wade & Simon Potts (GBR15045), Guy Tipton & Matt King (CAN 14907) and Jaroslav Werner & Jakob Napravnik (CZE14809).

Race 2 saw the committee boat relocated to a more westerly location for two reasons – a wind switch and too much shallow water in the vicinity of the race track. The wind was also in decline, from an early morning high of 9 knots, it would eventually drop to 5 knots – in accordance it must be said with the website forecast that this scribe looked at this morning!

There was a 60/40 split between the right and left hand sides of the beat with those on the left being lifted around the outside of the course to their detriment and the advantage of those who had gone right. The leading bunch were the same as Race 1 – Gillard, McGovern and Burge – but others who were well up included the French (FRA15015), Taylor/Anderton, the Scotts, Andy and Derian, the No.1 Czech Team, Tipton & King, Rush & Pepperdine, Phil Popple & Doug Shore (GBR15070). The right side continued to be the favoured side of the beat. Due to the dying breeze, the significant switch in its direction and probably the lateness of the proceedings saw the Race Management Team shorten course to the 3rd weather mark.

Burge/Wagstaff took line honours, followed by McGovern/Capener and Gillard/Brearey. Alan Krailing & Tim Saunders (GBR14954) claimed fourth, the French 5th, and Rush/Pepperdine 6th. First of the Irish boats was Kenny Rumball and Seamus Moore in 12th place, followed by Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella & Boyle/Flahive.

Thus with two races down, the top ten reads as follows;


Sail No.




Race 1

Race 2





M. Burge

R. Wagstaff







J. McGovern

M. Capener







T. Rush

R. Pepperdine







G. Tipton

M. King







A. Krailing

T. Saunders







J. Verner

J. Napravnik







A. Boyle

B. Flahive







R. Thuillier

L. Berthelot







D. Scott

A. Scott







P. Popple

D. Shore





For the home fleet, the pecking order in Boyle/Flahive, Rumball/Moore, Butler/Oram, McCartin/KInsella and Simon McGrotty & Tony Fitzgerald (IRL 14981)

Among the ladies, Derian Scott (Helm/9th) leads, followed by Hannah Showell (Helm/16th) and Diane Kissane (Helm/26th).


Published in Fireball
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With just hours to go until the first race of the 2011 Fireball Worlds, hosted by Sligo Yacht Club and the Irish Fireball Class Association, Cormac Bradley speculates on the riders and runners for this regatta. However, unlike most other forms of sport where there is the benefit of bookies to give some indication of what might happen, sailing doesn't allow one to go to the form book.....or does it?

 So, in an almost Who's Who of this regatta, lets speculate on who might be on the winners podium by Friday evening.

The least difficult part of this exercise is to identify those who had form during International Week. Ben Schulz and Phillip Bowley won four of the six races sailed, scored a second in another and deliberately didn't sail one race. In a small fleet they were able to sail low and fast to get to the front of the fleet. They have also had the benefit of three days of racing at the venue. Derian and Andy Scott won a race and were generally at the front end of the fleet, their worst score being a fourth place. Joe Jospe & Tom Egli took third last week and the last race of the regatta was won by Alex Taylor and Richard Anderton. Richard was a to finisher in Barbados last year so clearly their race win last week was no fluke. Of the Irish, Noel Butler and Stephen Oram, Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella had a good week. So there are six combinations who will have had the benefit of time on the race track.

Of the late arrivals who missed out on any racing last week, the stand-out candidates for this week have to be Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey, the 2010 (and thus reigning) European Champions. They have enjoyed success this year on the domestic Fireball circuit in the UK which in numbers at least is the most competitive circuit in the World.

The Pinnell & Bax stable will also boast candidates who can win this regatta in Dave Wade & Simon Potts and Vince Horey and Andy Thompson. Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaffe were runners up in Barbados and are therefore no strangers to podium positions.

Tim Rush, sailing with Richard Pepperdine is a past World Champion and reports from the UK show that Martyn Lewis, sailing with Richard Byrne is enjoying Open Regatta success with a new boat and a 3DL Main from North.

Jaroslav Werner was the runner-up in the 2010 Europeans and brings a different crew in Jakub Napravnik to Sligo. Granted offshore Sligo is not the same as an inland venue in the Czech Republic, but success breeds confidence. Kenny Rumbal and Seamus Moore of the Irish fleet are a "newish" combination who got together at the end of last season and they will be pushing to be at the front end of the Irish fleet.

Of course there are other combinations that might consider that they should be included in this analysis, but as an avid reader of regatta reports from the UK, I can't think of any immediate candidates that need to be included. Of course there are names on the entry list that I know in their individual capacities but I don't know how they will fare in tandem with their crew/helm. This of course may mean I have set myself up for a substantial portion of humble pie later in the week. But rather than write nothing at all, I have decided to put my neck on the block! To candidates in this category I offer my apologies in adavnace and will be delighted to correct the record in subsequent reports.

Sligo is bright, sunny with a slight amount of cloud. The XCW website for wind is suggesting 8 – 10 knots of WNW winds, but as I have indicted in previous reports, Sligo weather only makes up its mind by about 11am!

Regatta briefing is 15 minutes away!

Published in Fireball
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DAY 4: An early halt to Fireball International Week was called when Mother Nature was unable to provide enough wind power to let the fleet go afloat. In essence we had a tide of maybe four knots going one way and wind of two knots going the other. Friday morning had dawned bright and sunny with only a few wisps of cloud. At 10:00 a postponement was signaled as there was so little wind in parts of the race area it was mirror-like. The experience this past week has been that the wind in Sligo seems to declare its hand at around 11am. Yesterday at 11am there was no wind – thus in that respect it was to be consistent because by 12 noon the signal to close the regatta was given and thoughts then turned to measurement and preparation of boats for scrutiny.

The regatta measuring team were assembled and a further ten boats were measured in for the regatta in a two hour period. As this scribe was part of that team, this report was postponed!

Thus the podium had a distinctly international appeal to it: In first place were Ben Schulz and Phillip Bowley (AUS 15062) who counted four race wins and a second place for their regatta total. In second place were Andy & Derian Scott (GBR 14941) with a 1,2,2,3,3 score line to trail the Aussies by 5pts. In third place, from Canada, were Joe Jospe and Tom Egli (CAN 15024) with a score line of 2,2,4,4,5.

Thereafter there were four Irish boats led home by Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (IRL 15061), Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella (IRL 14820), Graeme Grant & Hugh Butler (IRL 14807) and Frank Miller and Susie Mulligan (IRL 14713).

A variety of wind conditions had been enjoyed by the fleet over the week with Thursday's racing being the most physically challenging.

The later arrivals in Sligo must have been disappointed at not getting out on the water yesterday but "that's the way the cookie crumbles!"

The assembled fleet was then treated in the evening to a spit roast and a variety of traditional musical groups as part of the coincident Sea Shanty Festival, hosted by the Irish Fireball Class Association as part of the regatta social programme. Next week will see presentations by the Australians for the Mandurah Worlds in December/January and the Italians for the 2012 Europeans. The evening was a great opportunity for friends to catch up as Fireballers from the Shetland Islands, the Czech Republic, France and Germany and the UK arrived at this west coast location on the edge of Europe – Cead Mille Failte (Gaelic for a hundred thousand welcomes)!

Published in Fireball
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DAILY REPORT: Day 3 saw the race team take the International Week Fireball fleet outside Sligo's famous lighthouse and into the Atlantic proper. The result was lumpy seas that make the upwind legs awkward and hard work for crew and helm alike. The records will show that the wind strength varied during the day from 9 to 14 knots but it felt a lot stronger than that.

The Canadians, Jospe & Egli rounded the first weather mark of the day in first place and seemed to enjoy a growing lead as the race wore on, however, at the end the rampant Aussies stole the show again with another win. It seems that on the third beat the Canadian went right, the Aussies went left and left paid. GBR's Alex Taylor and Richard Anderton (15031) joined the fleet this morning and were rewarded with a third place in this race. Derian and Andy Scott were to sail their discard in this race - a 4th – while behind them, another addition to the fleet Ireland's Kenny Rumball and Seamus Moore took 5th, ahead of McCartin/Kinsella and Butler/Oram, the latter combination having spinnaker problems on the downwind leg of the sausage. Elsewhere in the fleet the rivalry between the Ryders, David & Michelle, and Frank Miller/Susie Mulligan went the way of the British couple who scored a 10th to Miller's 18th.Tipton and King (CAN 14907) also had a better race scoring a 9th.

Fortunately the rain showers that had battered the fleet on the way out to the race area at the start of the day were not repeated and the sun decided to shine a bit of the fleet which now boasted 21 boats.

Team Scott led the fleet round the first weather mark in the company of the Aussies, Taylor & Anderton and team Canada. However, on the second reach of the first triangle, Taylor/Anderton took over the lead and proceeded to build a big distance between themselves and the rest of the fleet. Schulz/Bowley took 2nd place, followed by Derian/Andy, Jospe/Egli, Butler/Oram & McCartin/Kinsella. Miller/Mulligan beat the Ryders by a place to leave the pair tied on 45 points each after discard which kicked in on completion of the second race.

The consensus of the fleet was that it had been a very hard day at the office – hardly surprising as we were taking on the Atlantic proper. Today we had rain out on the course a first for this regatta and as per usual the wind had the final throw of the dice as it came ashore.

Today there was the additional attraction of sailing with dolphins and a member of the international jury delayed his return to shore in order to watch them frolic in the water.

Team P&B have now arrived in Sligo as have others who are racing next week – the dinghy park is growing that bit more crowded!

OverallHelmCrewSail No
1Ben SchulzPhillip BowleyAUS 15062
2Derian ScottAndy ScottGBR 14941
3Joe JospeTom EgliCAN 15024
4Noel ButlerStephen OramIRL 15061
5Barry McCartinConor KinsellaIRL 14820
6Graeme GrantHugh ButlerIRL 14807
7Frank MillerSusie MulliganIRL 14713
8David RyderMichelle RyderGBR 14755
9Cearbhaill DalyMartina MichelsIRL 14877
10Jonathan EvansAidan CaulfieldIRL 14748
11Louis SmythCormac BradleyIRL 15007
12Guy TiptonMatt KingCAN 14907
13Alex TaylorRichard AndertonGBR 15031
14Louise McKennaHermine O'KeeffeIRL 14691
15Ben Scallan David FitzgeraldIRL 14754
16Kenny RumballSeamus MooreIRL 15058
17Patrick HughesAine O'GaraAUS 14706
18Ben MaloneMatthew BennionIRL14939
19Maja SuterFrancois SchlucterSUI 14921
20David ColemanGlen FisherIRL 14623
21Beth ArmstrongPeter ArmstrongIRL 15060
Published in Fireball
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The grey skies above Sligo this morning will not deter the Fireballs who will start this year's International Week preamble to the Class World Championship hosted by Sligo Yacht Club at Rosses Point writes our Fireball Correspondent.
In a sad note for the SYC community, Ann Henry, wife of Gus and mother to current Commodore Niall, passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning - a stalwart and rock in the establishment and development of this west coast club. However, in a measure of the contribution the Henry family have made here, both Gus and Niall were present for last night's official opening ceremony.
Pipes and drums from the 26th Infantry Battalion opened proceedings while the flags of the competing countries fluttered in the breeze. Regatta Chairman Brendan Healy welcomed the visitors and members to the Club and introduced the various speakers, Niall Henry, Club Commodore, Niamh McCutcheon, President ISA (National Sailing Authority), Francois Schlucter, Fireball International Commodore and John McClune of Bord Failte who declared the regatta open.
Due thanks were paid to the people who have put in the hours to get the regatta organised and to the sponsors who have made it possible - Dubarry (title sponsors), Marlin Waters, Bord Failte, ISA, Interreg and others.
Once the speeches were over the competitors and officials alike renewed old or made new acquaintances with participants from Australia, Canada, Switzerland, UK and Ireland. The balance of the 9 countries entered for the Worlds will make their way here during the week.
Today will see a small fleet take to the water but the three latest boats in the fleet 15061, 15062 and 15063 are here and ready for action.
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