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Cummins facing challenge

13th June 1997
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CREWS from Dublin and Cork are to challenge Sydney-based David Cummins, a former Australian Skiff champion, for an Olympic place in the new 49er Skiff dinghy. Following the arrival of two of the 16.5-foot dinghies to Ireland the ISA have received notice of intent for both a Dublin and Royal Cork campaign, whilst the Australian-based Dubliner has both Skiff and Sydney harbour experience to his advantage. Thirty five-year-old Cummins, who signalled his intent to campaign for the Irish 49er slot last November, has announced little about his campaign since meeting with the Olympic committee chairman Richard Burrows during an ISA fact finding mission to the Olympic regatta venue last Christmas. GP 14 sailor, Donal Byrne (38), has returned from a career in Italy to take up the 49er challenge and is basing his campaign in Skerries. He will sail with John Higham, who has been campaigning a variety of Skiffs on the Italian professional skiff circuit over the past three seasons.
In Cork harbour, Mirror class champions Mel Collins (21) and Owen Hennessy (19) are engaged in a training routine in their Crosshaven-based 49er following delivery three weeks ago. It is likely that the Irish teams will first meet Cummins - currently in search of a crew - on the international circuit where the 49er now has competitors from a dozen countries and regular fleets of 30 boats. Collins and Hennessy have been allocated a C card by the ISA's Olympic committee for the purpose of competing in the Kiel regatta in Germany at the end of this month. The C card will allow them part-funding to attend international regattas.
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