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Cork sailors show skill in blustery Dublin Bay

5th May 1997
THE sailors of Royal Cork YC showed their skills in heavy airs on Dublin Bay this weekend. Conditions became so blustery for the 100 boats in three series that yesterday afternoon's racing had to abandoned. At least three boats were dismasted, with one crew rescued by lifeboat yesterday. A broken mainsheet jammer block on Union Chandlery could have thwarted Mark Mansfield's assault on the 1720 East Coast crown on Saturday. However, a makeshift repair allowed the Crosshaven helmsman to start race one and begin his domination of the Category B event with three wins so far in the seven race, no discard series. Familiar with the Dublin Bay race line, Robert Dix, in Lemon, led half of the 22 boats to the right hand corner of the first beat in poor visibility. Ford Racing (Anthony O'Leary), Union Chandlery and Just Magic (Finn Lyden) sailed a more conservative centre right course in a building 12-15 knot southerly breeze, allowing Mansfield the boat lengths required to tack ahead onto the starboard hand layline. Despite the absence of tide, many of the top 10 boats were shy in their approach to the first weather mark and were forced to tack onto port, directly into a line of starboard hand boats. Amazingly, only one boat was holed but three boats threatened protests in the resulting raftup.
By concentrating on catching the first vital waves as spinnakers were hoisted, Mansfield's crew increased their lead as they gybed downwind to the leeward buoy in clear air. By the end of race two, Mansfield had not yet had to cross tacks with any of the opposition - an indication of his superior boat speed - but as the wind increased and Mansfield oted for a leeward end line start in race three, the wind backed 30 degrees on the opening beat and the Royal Cork leaders were relegated to eighth place. However, by the end of the race, they had sailed through the fleet to win by two minutes. In nearby Seapoint Bay, Royal Cork's Stefan Hyde also turned on the heavy air boat speed to win four of the weekend's five qualification races for the Irish Optimist world team at the National Yacht Club yesterday. Hyde, second overall at the Mirror World Championships two years' ago, moves into third place overall and cuts Daire O'Reilly's lead on him to 9.75 points in the 40 boat fleet. Howthbased O'Reilly still chases national champion Colin Lough's lead in the selection table. East Antrim's Lough, on 11.75 nett points after discard is sure of qualifying for the six boat team, with the remaining five selection races to be hosted by Wexford Harbour Boat Club in two weeks. The 24 boat Laser 2 fleet - it sailed over a similar course to the 720s - is being led by Robert Eason, on Malahide, while the Royal St George husband and wife team of Hillary and David Williams are second. Both 1720s and Laser 2s are scheduled to finish their series today. In Galway, the reigning national champion, Oisin Van Gelderen, leads overnight in round two of the Heineken Windsurfing tour in Galway. Van Gelderen, a big breeze specialist, made the most of Blackrock's eight foot waves and a northerly gale to lead universities' champion Joe Meehan in the first elimination series before a final sail off scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
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