Sydney Harbour skiff sailor David Cummins' ability to mount a successful 49er campaign for Sydney 2000 will depend - in part - on his ability to locate a crew partner from the hundreds of sailors gathered in Crosshaven for Heineken Dinghy Week. The Sydney-based Dubliner returned to Ireland yesterday in search of a sailor prepared to team up in the double-handed skiff class and relocate to Australia for an intensive three-year Olympic campaign. Cummins, a double winner of the Irish Sailing Association's (ISA)helmsman's championship in the 1980s, will be based in Skerries next week for crew evaluation and a skiff coaching session under the auspice of the ISA's Olympic committee. "I have access to plenty of excellent skiff crews in Sydney but none are Irish I would prefer not to have to train up a crew but I have little option if I want to sail for Ireland," the former Irish Laser champion told The Irish Times from his parents' home in Howth yesterday. Cummins travels to Crosshaven today in search of a crew from the seven divisions at Dinghy Week, a regatta that has turned out to be the biggest dinghy sailing competition since the ISA dinghy weeks of the 1960s and 1970s.
On Belfast Lough, the resources of four local authorities have combined to host the final battleground of the 1997 Ultra 30 Circuit. A £45,000 venue sponsorship and the assistance of ferry companies has helped to move the skiff circus from the English south coast to Northern Ireland for this weekend's finale. The sponsorship secures a half-hour showcase package on the BBC's Grandstand programme for some of the top names in British sailing that will race at three locations on the lough. Lawrie Smith takes time out from the World campaign to defend his Ultra title in what is shaping up to be a repeat of last year's final. Russell Peters, who lost the title in the final race in 1996, is currently placed second to Smith but only by a single point. In third place, after three events is Eddie Warden Owen at the helm of Team Hoya. Racing is scheduled to begin on the lough-shore at Jordanstown, Newtownabbey at 2.30 p.m.tomorrow and moves to the Carrickfergus seafront on Sunday for a 3.00 p.m. start. The Grand Prix prizegiving will be held after the final race of the year at Bangor on Monday afternoon. Dublin Bay begins a double weekend of Cruiser class racing today with the Carlsberg Cruiser three championship hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Forty confirmed entries will compete for both individual and team prizes in the 12th year of the event. Meanwhile, Fintan Cairns of Dublin Bay Sailing Club has confirmed a strong Northern Ireland participation for the inaugural Stentor Irish Sea CHS championship next weekend and has a confirmed entry of 25 class zero, one and two boats. The entry is expected to double when local entries are received for the four race, no discard regatta. The event is designed to give a higher profile to the Bay's cruiser-racers and fits nicely between the final races of the RAYC superleague, which completed the penultimate race of the 10-race series at Howth last weekend. Damian Foxall on DHL Worldwide Express is currently in 13th position overall in the singlehanded La Solitaire du Figaro as they approach the end of the race and the 320 mile leg from Kinsale to Saint Quay-Portrieux. Just over thirty miles remained to the finish last night and the 49 boat fleet is being led by Alan Gautier. If Foxall maintains his position, he will be the best newcomer in the race and is already the first Irishman to take part.
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