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All fired up at PWC Optimist Championships

18th May 2009

One-hundred and fifty enthusiastic Optimist sailors from the four corners of Ireland arrived at Kinsale Yacht Club on Saturday to take part in the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Munster Optimist Championships. Gold, Silver and Regatta fleet racing was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Blustery conditions prevailed on Saturday and race officer Richard Leonard (RCYC), having considered the conditions, decided to race the Gold senior and junior fleets in the outer harbour, writes Claire Bateman.

The Silver fleet seniors and juniors were stood down, as were the Regatta fleet who were scheduled to race outside the marina at KYC. In the Senior Gold fleet Amy Harrington (RCYC), after a poor start, worked her way through the fleet showing good boat speed to hold off the challenge presented by fellow club members Patrick Crosbie and Brendan Lyden to take the winning gun. In the Junior Gold Fleet Peter McCann (RCYC), who has been showing great promise this season, won the pin end to take an early lead. However, several other sailors were enabled to get back into the race due to the blustery conditions and, after a tremendous battle, McCann pipped Cian Byrne (RCYC) to take the bullet, with Sean Gambier Ross of KYC in third place. Before a second race could commence, the wind speed increased and racing was cancelled for the day.

Sunday saw much improved weather conditions – Richard Leonard and his team were able to get in three good races in the outer harbour for all sailors in both divisions with an ideal 10 to 15 knots of breeze. The senior division was a very tight fight, with only five points separating the first five competitors, and it was a female competitor, Fiona Daly from Tralee, who took the winning gun in race two, guaranteeing her fourth overall in the Senior Gold division. The third race of the series produced a win for Seafra Guilfoyle of RCYC and this, with two other consistent results of third and fourth, was enough to secure the championship for him. He was followed in second place overall by John Durcan (RCYC) who had a first in race four and also counted a second and sixth. In third place overall counting two thirds and a fourth was Patrick Crosbie (RCYC).

The Junior division was won by Peter McCann (RCYC) who counted two wins and a fourth to win from Cian Byrne (RCYC). Cliodhna O’Regan of the host club Kinsale was next best by a whisker from Sophie Browne (TBSC/RCYC).

Silver fleet division prizes were awarded in the senior division to William Potterton (WHSC), Peter Quelly (WHSC) and Peter Moore (Skerries). In the junior silver division the prizes went to Donal Collins of GBSC, Graham Smith (RCYC) and Scot Levie of Lough Derg.

The regatta fleet for 12 years and under was won by 10-year-old Scott O’Sullivan (KYC) with Aiden Carroll (Dingle) in second and Harry Dobbs (Royal North of Ireland) third. This fleet was under the able supervision of Bruce Matthews of Kinsale Yacht Club.

Competing in the Senior Division of the event were four of the five top winners in the recent countrywide Optimist trials for team placings at the Optimist World and European Championships. The top five in order of placings were Patrick Crosbie RCYC, Colm O’Regan KYC, Seafra Guilfoyle RCYC, Alexander Rumball RStGYC and John Durcan RCYC. The Association has decided that the top sailors should represent Ireland at the European Championships only but the opportunity was open to travel to the Worlds in Brazil if anyone wished to do so.

RESULTS – Senior Gold: Seafra Guilfoyle, RCYC; John Durcan, RCYC; Patrick Crosbie, RCYC. Junior Gold: Peter McCann, RCYC; Cian Byrne, RCYC; Cliodhna O’Regan, KYC. Senior Silver: William Potterton, WHSC; Peter Quelly, WHSC; Peter Moore, Skerries. Junior Silver: Donal Collins, GBSC; Graham Smith, RCYC; Scot Levie, Lough Derg. Regatta Fleet: Scott O’Sullivan, KYC; Aiden Carroll, Dingle; Harry Dobbs, Royal North of Ireland.

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