OVERALL victory has escaped the strong Irish Mirror team competing at the European championships, but the 25 boat squad can take satisfaction in capturing eight of the top 10 places at the Swedish venue. Top ranked Irish pair Ross Killian and Alex Blayney of the National Yacht club, Dun Laoghaire, rounded off their 1996 campaign with a second overall. Shifting winds for the final race juggled the overall places for many of the top ranked Irish sailors but Killian and Blayney sailed a consistent series. There was an Irish duel for victory in the last race in the absence of overall winners David and Joshua Gebhard of England, who didn't need to sail the final race. Light, but gusting winds, that shifted between 135 and 180 degrees made for tricky windward work. Cross haven's Owen Hennessy and Chris Forristal outwitted their Dun Laoghaire team mates to win race six which secured fourth overall for the Royal Cork Yacht Club pair, but sadly left them out of the bronze medal position. Eight Irish crews, who established top 10 finishing positions in the 52 boat fleet early in the regatta, maintained their form despite the flukey conditions.
Fifth place was claimed by Max Treacy and Ronan McNamara on 24 points. They slipped from third overall in the last half of the regatta. Meanwhile, on the Irish east coast Zulieka, sailed by Derek Joyce, Des Tyrrell and David Herterich of Wexford Sailing Club won the Carlsberg Mermaid National championships with a race to spare yesterday. Zuleika sealed the championship with another win when race officer Peter Craig successfully sailed race three, postponed since Tuesday. Zuleika led at the first mark and stretched her lead on the reaches to win by over a minute. Past champion Joe Boylan, sailing This Is It, broke his mast in two places but managed to fit a replacement and compete, albeit late, in the second race yesterday afternoon. Joyce saw his winning margins whittled away as winds reached 20 knots for race five Roger Bannon, sailing Endeavour with his daughter Emily and Mark Fagan, was the first to spot the pin end bias and lead out of the start line. Endeavour, using a new Mylar jib established a clear lead over the first triangle and benefited further from a shortened course in the southwesterly breeze which gave the National Yacht Club trio their first victory. Endeavour, on 11.75 points, trails Vee (Jim Carthy) by three quarters of a point and Bannon will be pressing Carthy hard for the silver medal position to day. Local boat Elizabeth, sailed by Jim Dempsey, took third in both of yesterday's races and retains third overall on 12 points.
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