What they lacked in numbers – 14 boats, albeit representing seven different clubs – the Js made up for in competitiveness, illustrated best by the fact that usually only five minutes separated first from last in any of the seven races. That neither defending champion Stefan Hyde nor ICRA Class 3 champion Flor O’Driscoll could make it into the top two overall says something about the standard.
The first day was marked by light, shifting winds and Brian McDowell’s ‘Scandal’ from Malahide upset the odds a bit by winning the first two races. A black flag in the third race put paid to ‘Scandal’s’ overall standing on the Saturday night while Stefan Hyde notched wins in the third and fourth races. With winds swinging through 180 degrees, it was a race officer’s nightmare and the fleet was on the water for over eight hours to get the requisite number of races completed.
Sunday saw fresher, steadier winds and they clearly suited Michael Ennis and the crew of ‘TAZ’ from Carrickfergus who recorded two bullets and a fifth to take the overall title by three points from former champion Mickey McCalden (Lough Erne YC) on ‘Murder Picture’ who also had a storming second day. Hyde had to be content with the bronze medal position while local honour was upheld with Carlingford’s James Byrne finishing fourth in ‘Gossip’.
1st TAZ Michael Ennis Carrickfergus SC
2nd Murder Picture Mickey McCalden Lough Erne YC
3rd Carrabeg Stefan Hyde Royal St.George YC
Pictured below is J24 National Championship winning crew (l to r) Paul Barbour (co-owner), Steve Ferres, Michael Ennis (helm), Connor Brennan, Gordon Taylor, of TAZ from Carrickfergus SC