ONLY a gale has thwarted Maria Coleman's progress at Kiel Week, where' four top 10 results have put the Royal Cork helmswoman in fifth place overall and at the top of the biggest ever Irish attendance at an Olympic classes regatta. On the 49er course, Crosshaven clubmate Mel Collins had to pick up a new crew in the dinghy park after Owen Hennessy injured his shoulder. Collins, now sailing with a Kiwi 505 crew has made an impressive entrance to the twin-wire class and port tacked the fleet at the start of the third race. Collins now has an 18th and two fifths to his credit in the 55-boat, high performance class. Approaching the halfway stage there were other strong performances from the 10-boat Irish squad but strong winds gusting to gale force cut short racing yesterday. John Driscoll is lying in sixth overall with debutant David Burrows 15th in a fleet of 53 Finns.
Coleman is on eight nett points in the 102-boat Europe class with overall leader Shirley Robertson of England on four points with five races still left to sail. At home, gales also cut short the penultimate day's racing of the Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale where Anthony O'Leary still leads the 35-boat class searching for its first national champion, a title that looks certain to be decided today in a shortened inaugural series. Class one and two managed to race a coastal course in relatively flat seas in 40 knots of breeze. VSOP (John Godkin) leads overall with a margin of 9.5 points. In class two, Philip Watson's Pathfinder was third but still leads by 4.25 points over Sabre (Paddy O'Mahony). Outgoing Minister for the Marine Sean Barrett announced yesterday that £3 million has been secured from the Minister for Finance to develop the planned marina, at Dun Laoghaire. The funding is in addition to £1 million funding which has been negotiated through the EU maritime inter-regional fund. Both sums will become available should planning permission for the facility be granted.
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