TOM FITZPATRICK and David McHugh, who this month won the National Laser 2 title with a race - to spare, have made Irish sailing history this week by winning the European championship at a Dutch venue by a similar margin. Fitzpatrick from Howth and McHugh from Wicklow took the nine race series with a string of consistent results, never outside the top five in the 51 boat fleet. A scoreline of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2 and 15.75 points overall brought the European title in the international fleet that included 10 top British sailors as well as the German national champions, Dutch Olympic trialists and a six boat Irish team. Second and third overall were taken by England's Graeme Bristow and Bryan Mobbs on 26.5 points and Nigel Skudder and Keith Mills on 28 points. Dublin pair Ken Hoffman and Sean Doran of Sutton finished in fourth position. The regatta brought conditions throughout the wind range for racing over short trapezoid courses at Wokum, Holland. By the end of the week, with the Irish pair in a commanding position they put their superior boat handling to good use as winds hit 25 knots. "It's been a lot of hard work but we're absolutely delighted," McHugh said.
Five times J24 champion, Ward Woods will defend his title on Dublin Bay today as the three day Carlsberg sponsored Irish championships begin under the burgee of the National Yacht Club. Tenerife based Woods might find the Dublin Bay climate colder but the competition should be hot enough for him in this five man keelboat class. The 20 boat fleet includes recently crowned Laser 2 British national champion Sean Craig of the Royal St George YC. At least six teams of three boats each from Malahide, Howth and Dun Laoghaire will contest this weekend's Cruisers III East coast championship at Malahide with the four race series starting today. Bray Sailing Club host their annual open dinghy regatta tomorrow which incorporates the Enterprise class Murdoch trophy. There will be individual starts for Enterprises, Flying Fifteens and sundries. Registration takes place today and tomorrow. Further details from Mark Henderson on 01 281 0192.
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