HALF of the Olympic sailing team rejoined the domestic circuit at the weekend, racing over windward leeward courses on Dublin bay. On Saturday, the 1996 Carlsberg Royal Alfred YC season for ten keelboat classes concluded on Dublin bay. Sarah J emerged the class zero winner of the superleague despite a retrial in the penultimate race and a poor showing in the final light air race of the series on Scotsmans bay. In class one, Peter Beamish also produced the expected overall win on Channel handicap with an impressive debut season in the Mark Mills designed Aztec but in the ECHO division J Beam, steered by Andrew Mollard who won the final two races of the series, took the top prize. Tight racing on the One Design Shipman course saw the Dun Laoghaire husband and wife pairing, Malachy and Eithne Muldoon, take the upper hand in the 11 boat fleet and after eight races and three discards, Malindi was in an overall leading position with five net points. A win in the final race rounded off a consistent performance for the National YC boat.
Despite a low fifth placing in the final race, Glenluce, sailed by defending champion Donal O'Connor, retained his title in the three man keelboat class that boasts the biggest numbers in the RAYC fleet. Elsewhere on the bay, the first major showing of 1720 sportsboats occurred at a debut East Coast Championships under the burgee of the National YC, but winds, which never reached more than 10 knots, dampened the speed potential of the impressive five man keelboats. Olympic Star sailor Mark Mansfield had to be content with a second overall in the class despite a win on the water after being judged a premature starter in the final race which transferred the inaugural title to Dublin yacht Traders Wharf, helmed by Jamie Boag. Both Mansfield's crew David Burrows and the crew from the Olympic Soling keelboat Garrett Connolly and Dan O'Grady were also competing in the 13 boat class. In third place overall was Howth's skiff enthusiast Michael Evans sailing Yon-ka. Racing over the same course but with a separate weather mark, Olympic single hander Aisling Bowman, tenth at the Olympics, stamped her authority on the 17 boat Europe national championships taking five straight wins. In second place was Malahide's Daragh Peelo on 11 points, with Debbie Winstanley third on 23 points.
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