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There were ideal sailing conditions off Kinsale today for the second day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup

Medium to heavy winds and sunshine delivered another racing programme, mostly incident-free. A turnout of 98 boats from around Ireland and further afield will enjoy two more days of racing for the Sovereign's Cup trophy, awarded to the best overall performance on IRC handicap. See Day Two Report here.

Bob Bateman captured the action today below: 

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Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club won both races of the first day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup in Division One, the largest fleet in the event with 18 entries, a result only matched elsewhere in the 98–boat fleet in the White Sails Division 2 fleet where Stephanie Ennis’ Club Shamrock Demelza also had two wins.

See Bob Bateman's full day one photo gallery here. Overall results are here.

At the Kinsale Yacht Club venue, fog gave way to light winds, broken sunshine and flat seas to allow for a full programme of yesterday's opening day races to be sailed on four course areas. At stake is the Sovereigns Cup for the best performing boat on IRC handicap alongside the Portcullis Trophy for the best boat on Progressive ECHO handicap.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleDemelza leads in the White Sails class at the Sovereigns Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleRob McConnell's Fools Gold scored two wins at the Sovereigns Cup off Kinsale Photo: Bob Bateman

At this early stage, few of the nine divisions racing have clear leaders and with the prospect of fresh to strong winds for the next two days, a full test in all conditions is likely to bring the final results down to the wire for Saturday’s finale. Afloat.ie has stuck its neck out and offered its predictions on the overall results here.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleHowth Yacht Club's 'The Big Picture' is lying in joint first place in Class Two. Photo: Bob Bateman

In Division 2, the second largest fleet on the course, the top three boats are within one point of each other while the chasing pack aren’t lagging too far behind either. Kieran Collins’ Coracle IV leads after winning the opening race before placing fifth in the second and lies level with Howth’s Richard Evans on The Big Picture.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleA fleet of six Half Tonners at the Sovereigns Cup is making class two very competitive Photo: Bob Bateman

“It’s a very competitive class, especially with six or seven half-tonners,” said Finbarr O’Regan, skipper of Artful Dodger of Kinsale YC. “There isn’t a bad boat in the class and it’s definitely going to a high-scoring event - a lot of people have had a good and a bad race.”

Sovereign's Cup Kinsale SailingGeorge Sisk's Wow, a former ICRA Boat of the Year, is competing in the coastal class. Photo: Bob Bateman

Although George Sisk’s Wow! from the Royal Irish Yacht Club led the Coastal Class fleet from the start, the Dun Laoghaire crew was unable to shake off the chasing pack and a finishing-line error ensured that Conor Doyle’s Freya took the first result of the series.

The opening day was shorter than the remainder of the series and the coastal course was more of an extended round the cans style race but with the full schedule planned for Thursday, a much longer course can be expected – dependent on weather.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleThe 1720 Sportsboat European Championships is being sailed as part of the Sovereign's Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

In the 1720 Sportsboat European Championships that is being sailed as part of the main regatta, a luffing match between father and son in race one saw Olympic sailor Peter O’Leary defeat his father Anthony to take first place. However, O’Leary senior was the more consistent over the three races and is the clear overnight leader.

In turn, the younger O’Leary holds second overall but only on tie-break from Tom Durcan’s T-Bone on level points. Ben Cooke’s Smile n ‘Wave doing well in the final race until they were inadvertently sailed off the course by another boat struggling to drop their kite and slipped down the rankings. Like Peter O’Leary, Cooke is counting a ninth place so far.

Published in Sovereign's Cup

Sunsine and wind greeted competitors for the first day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup today off Kinsale. A fleet of approximately 100 boats are in Kinsale for the four day regatta that started this afternoon.

Scroll down for our photos by Bob Bateman below

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With about 100–boats entered for the first races of O'Leary Life & Pensions Sovereigns Cup this afternoon, there are plenty of good boats capable of winning in each class in Kinsale's biennial Grand Prix Regatta.

Sticking its neck out, here are Afloat's class predictions for overall wins by Saturday.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsale ICRA Class Zero Champion Dark Angel from Swansea Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleJohnny Mordaunt's Mat design from the Solent in today's first race of the Sovereign's Cup.  This is the latest Mark Mills Design MAT1180 Tschuss, originally from the US.Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 0 Only 4 boats in this class. Johnny Mordaunt's Mat design from the Solent has chosen to miss the UK IRC Nationals starting today and instead compete in Kinsale. He should be favourite but expect to see ICRA Class Zero Champion Dark Angel from Swansea also in the mix.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleTim Goodbody's J109 White Mischief from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin. Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleToday's Class One start at the Sovereigns Cup. Photo Bob Bateman

Class One 10 J109's are entered including Joker II, recently crowned ICRA champion for the third successive year. However with Joker's normal tactician Mark Mansfield not sailing on her this week, some might expect to see Pat Kelly's Scottish Series Champion Storm from Rush Sailing Club right up there, particularly in the windier conditions. Rob McConnell's Fools Gold will also be in contention as will Tim Goodbody's White Mischief. In a likely mixed wind regatta, we will put our money on Fools Gold by a hair.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleNigel Biggs newly renovated Checkmate XVIII made its Irish debut today at Kinsale. Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleMike and Richard Evans Half Tonner Big Picture from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Class Two includes a very broad range of boats including 5 half tonners working up towards the half ton worlds in August. It includes Nigel Biggs newly renovated Checkmate XVIII.  In the lighter early week conditions the half tonners should have the edge and Mike and Richard Evans Big Picture, with Mark Mansfield as tactician should find the conditions to their liking but Harmony owned by Johnny Swann and Dave Cullen's Checkmate will have something to say about this. In heavier conditions, later in the week, Ross McDonald's Equinox should be to the fore. Overall, in the likely two days of lighter winds and two windier days, expect one of the half tonners to shade it and watch out for the newly launched Checkmate XVIII. He rarely finishes far down the pecking order.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleX302 Dux from Howth

Class Three Not a large class and expect one of the X302s to take this, likely Dux from Howth Yacht Club.

Class Four Will likely go to a quarter Tonner with three entered including Anchor Challenge recently crowned ICRA class 3 champion. In this event she is being sailed by Dave Dwyer and not her normal crew but she will be potent in lighter airs. Ken Lawless in Cartoon from Dublin Bay Sailing Club may just shade it however in mixed conditions.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleAnthony O'Leary competing in the 1720 Wet'n'Ready in today's first Sovereign's Cup race. Photo: Bob Bateman

1720 class –12 entered. This is the class European Championships. Expect an O'Leary (either Anthony or Peter) to take this.  Peter is likely to have the edge in the lighter early week conditions and Anthony in the windier stuff. Expect Peter to hold out and take it by a slim margin.

See Day One Photo Gallery here

Published in Sovereign's Cup

The biennial O’Leary Life & Pensions Sovereigns Cup to be sailed at Kinsale on June 21st has extended today’s entry deadline until next week.

Regatta organiser Mike Walsh has confirmed a 91–boat entry so far for the popular four–day south coast event. The deadline extension should see the regatta top 100–boats, especially as the Dun Laoghaire–Dingle offshore race has attracted a large fleet of 45 that will finish on the south-west coast a week before the Sovereign's Cup begins.

A new Kinsale Yacht Club 'Family Boat Award' will be presented by the O'Leary Life and Pensions sponsors as part of the regatta.

Walsh recently signalled a later start time for the biennial event starting on June 21st. The first gun has been pushed back to 1355 hrs to make it easier for sailors travelling down to Kinsale on the Wednesday morning. 

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A new Kinsale Yacht Club award is to be presented at next month's O’Leary Life Sovereigns Cup 2017 will be a 'Family Boat Award'. As Afloat.ie reported yesterday, the brainchild of the title sponsors, O’Leary Life, the award will be made to the best placed boat with two or more direct family members sailing on board.

The prize, a 3D nautical chart of Kinsale Harbour, including the Sovereigns Rocks, was made by Bobby Nash of Latitude Kinsale. Unlike other perpetual trophies for the event, the winning skipper/owner of this award gets to keep it and, no doubt give it pride of place in their home or office.

Family Boat awardThe new 'Family Boat' award at the Sovereign's Cup is a a 3D nautical chart of Kinsale Harbour

Commenting at the launch of the new award at the O’Leary Life offices in Cork, managing director Ronan Goggin noted, “For us, family is the mainstay of our business, essentially looking after people and corporates through all life stages. We therefore wanted to reflect our family ethos within our sponsorship of the event and acknowledge family members sailing together”

Regatta Director Mike Walsh added “For us Sovereigns Cup is very much about family too. We encourage competitors to bring their families to Kinsale and enjoy our magnificent town. That is why we put such an emphasis on the day time and social shore side activities”

With over 100 boats expected, the organisers are very much looking forward to welcoming competitors and their families to Kinsale and would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet entered to do so as soon as possible here.

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A new 'Family Boat Award' will be presented to the best placed boat with two or more direct family members sailing on board at June's Sovereign's Cup off Kinsale. 

Kinsale Yacht Club Regatta Director Mike Walsh, announcing the award said 'We encourage competitors to bring their families to Kinsale and enjoy our magnificent town. That is why we put such an emphasis on the day time and social shore side activities of the event'.

Up to 100 boats are expected to compete in the biennial event that runs from June 21st. More on the event here.

Published in Sovereign's Cup

Over 100 boats are expected to enjoy four days racing in the open waters of Kinsale Harbour when the Sovereign’s Cup 2017 takes place at Kinsale Yacht Club from 21st-24th June, 2017.

The O’Leary Life & Pensions sponsored event was launched at Kinsale Yacht Club today by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. 

Minister Coveney praised the co-operation between all the stakeholders and cited Sovereign’s Cup as a prime example of what can be achieved to bring benefits to whole communities when clubs and associations work closely with business groups and local authorities to organise world class events.

Soverigns Cup 2017Jack Roy at his first official event as President of the ISA, Carrie Dunne, Ronan Goggin, O’Leary Life & Pensions, Minister Simon Coveney, Susan Horgan, Rear Commodore KYC, Cllr Kevin Murphy, Cork Co Council, Dave O’Sullivan, Vice Commodore KYC.

Some of the entries to the Sovereign’s Cup 2017 to date include 2015 Champions, Equinox the X-333 from Howth YC, skippered by Ross McDonald.

Also returning to Kinsale are WOW, the Farr 42 sailed by George Sisk, DUX, the X302 sailed by Anthony Gore-Grimes, Fool’s Gold the Archambault 35 sailed by Robert McConnell and Jump Juice, the Ker 37 sailed by Conor Phelan.

The J-109s are represented by Jump The Gun, sailed by John Kelly and Michael Monaghan, White Mischief, sailed by Tim & Richard Goodbody, Powder Monkey, sailed by Mark Byrne and Chris Moore and Indecision sailed by Declan Hayes.

IMG 0414J109, Jump The Gun,  sailed by John Kelly and Michael Monaghan is heading for Kinsale

Half Tonners, Checkmate XVIII, sailed by Nigel Biggs, The Big Picture, sailed by Michael Evans and Checkmake XV sailed by David Cullen will enjoy great racing in advance of the Half Ton Classic Cup that also takes place in KYC from 14th-18th August.

There are a number of 1720 sportsboats including Antix, sailed by Anthony O’Leary, Dutch Gold, sailed by Peter O’Leary, T-Bone, sailed by Clive O’Shea and Tom Durcan, Déjà vu, sailed by Rory and Ross Johnson, Aquatack, by Denis Murphy and 1601 sailed by Michael Walsh.

Kinsale YC is well represented by Meridien, skippered by KYC Commodore, Tom Roche, Freya, sailed by Conor Doyle, Artful Dodger sailed by Finbarr O’Regan and Cimarron VI, sailed by Vice Commodore Dave O’Sullivan.

Published in Sovereign's Cup

With just over six weeks to the Sherry Fitzgerald sponsored Dublin Bay Sailing Club season the stand–out class of the year looks like Cruisers One where a 20–boat fleet has 13 J/109s among its number. It's an impressive result that bodes well for a very competitive season but in the neighbouring big boat class should something be done to assist falling numbers in Cruisers Zero?

A story this week on Afloat.ie shows George Sisk's Wow from the Royal Irish Yacht Club is on the market. With only four other entries presently in DBSC Cruisers Zero is it now time to dispense with a Cruisers Zero class on Dublin Bay and rearrange the bands to take some lower–rated Cruisers One boats back into Cruisers Two?

Such a scenario is unlikely with the news that Sisk's WOW will be campaigned fully this season and a new Sisk forty footer is in the wings. In fact, there is also the possibility that Cruisers Zero could reach six boats this season with another new boat – yet to be announced – coming into the Bay. 

There is also talk of DBSC moving the Cruisers One band lower to move some Cruisers One boats into Cruisers Zero but is that the answer?

Cruisers Zero was never that particularly strong in Dublin Bay and generally came about to ensure they got decent length races as the Cruisers One boats were considerably slower. However with the ever increasing speed of Cruisers One boats the gap in elapsed time between Cruisers Zero and Cruisers One has been reducing considerably.

WOW Farr 42Cruisers Zero Farr 42 Wow is for sale but will be replaced with a similar sized boat Photo: Afloat.ie

Cruisers One, spearheaded by the J109 designs, is clearly the strongest class in DBSC and likely in the country. Since the J109 class moved to non–overlapping jibs and consistently updated their sail wardrobes with the latest in sail technologies, they have been getting quicker and quicker.

Joker 2 J109ICRA Boat of the Year, Joker 2, a J109 from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Three of the last four ICRA championships in Cruisers One have been won by J109’s including the last two years (Joker II) and the 2016 ICRA Boat of the Year is also a J109 (Joker II). A J109 also was a class winner in the Round Ireland race 2016 (Storm). The J109 class has pushed others in Cruisers One to up their game and now we see both the Archambault 35s Gringo and Adrenalin becoming much more competitive, along with the XP33 Bon Exemple that has gone through many changes over the last few year (symmetric to Asymmetric and back again, lowering their rating). Add to this Paul O'Higgins mighty Rockabill VI, the JPK 10.80, and Cruisers One is the strongest it has ever been.

Rockabill VI JPK10.80Paul O'Higgins mighty Rockabill VI, the JPK 10.80 design will be unstoppable in heavy airs. Photo: Afloat.ie

At the start of last season Tim Goodbody brought in the J109 White Mischief and two further J109’s have entered the fleet in the last six months, Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot and Andrew Craig's Chimeara. All three are seasoned campaigners and will surely drive the fleet further.

White Mischief J109Recent arrival – Tim Goodbody's White Mischief J109 was immediately competitive Photo: Afloat.ie

Gringo A35The A35 Gringo has a flatter stern and quick dead downwind. Photo: Afloat.ie

So who will be on the DBSC podiums this year in Cruisers One and also Cruisers One at ICRAs? With 13 J109’s competing surely the podium will be stacked with these 15–year–old designs? They are extremely competitive in lighter airs and can hold their own when the breeze gets up. Their only weakness is running in stronger winds where the lighter, and flatter sterned modern designs, like the A 35’s and XP 33’s can pull their poles back and go straight downwind, whereas the asymmetric J109’s have to do higher angles.

Bon Exemple XP33XP33 Bon Exemple – different spinnaker configurations. Photo: Afloat.ie

If, however, the winds stay stronger for a whole series, like ICRA's 2015, it will be very hard to beat Rockabill VI. This boat is extremely powerful and will go upwind and downwind much faster than the rest of the fleet in a breeze, even taking into account her higher handicap. However it appears she has a weakness in light airs and one day of these conditions in a series might be a problem for her.

Three in a Row for Joker II at ICRAs?

Among the J109’s the top performer from 2016, John Maybury's Joker 2 is going for three in a row at ICRA's having won in 2015 and 2016. She will not have it all her own way however as Tim Goodbody's White Mischief and Pat Kelly's Storm are always very competitive. The newly arrived Chimeara and Juggerknot might also have something to say. The A35 Gringo has shown a lot of form as has Bon Exemple. At ICRAs you will also likely be seeing the A35 Fools Gold of Rob O'Connell in contention as he has done in the last two events.

Packed Season

2017 is set to be a very interesting year for this ever strengthening class with 3 large events in Ireland for them to battle it out. The ICRA Championships in Cork Harbour in June, ten days later, Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale, and a few weeks after that Dun Laoghaire Regatta Some may also venture to Tarbert in Late May, Calves Week in Early August and Abersoch week in Late August. There are plenty of good events available and some great racing ahead. Allied to all of this a great regular racing scene in Cruisers One in the DBSC series.

Published in DBSC

#Joker2 - John Maybury's Joker 2 has had an impressive run of form since June, with big wins in both the ICRA Nationals/Sovereign's Cup week and more recently in the J/109 Nationals at the Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

The first of these victories for the Royal Irish YC boat came on Saturday 27 June in the hotly contested Class 1 at Kinsale, with Joker 2 squaring off against Ian Nagle's Jelly Baby – off the back of a win at the UK J/109 Nationals, and with Olympian Killian Collins on tactics, no less – and Pat Kelly's Storm from Rush.

In addition to the J109s, there were other very well-prepared boats such as Rockabill (Paul O'Higgins, with Mel Collins steering and Mark Pettitt calling tactics), Bon Exemple (with Ben Duncan calling the shots) and Fools Gold (Rob McConnell), which had just won the Scottish Series overall.

On the lighter first day, Jelly Baby, sporting a larger jib than the other J/109s, excelled with a first and a second, but Joker 2 kept in touch with a 1,3 scoreline. On the Archambault 35, Rob McConnell and crew found the lighter conditions less to their liking with a 7,2 scoreline, but they were to improve as the wind increased on later days.

Indeed, days 2 and 3 had much stronger conditions, with winds around 20 knots, and Joker 2 started to take control with a 2,1,4,1 scoreline. Fools Gold also showed strong with a score of 2,1,3,1 to keep them just just three points off the lead after discard, with Jelly Baby a further two points behind.

Roll on the final day at Kinsale, and Joker 2 took control of the first race to win by over a minute on corrected time, giving Maybury and crew (including Olympic sailor Mark Mansfield) the championship with a race to spare. Fools Gold would later take a win in the final race to end up second overall, with Jelly Baby taking third – meaning two J/109s placed in the top three. 

Joker 2 and Storm would also dominate next big event for the J/109s, their Nationals as part of the Dun Laoghaire Regatta – racing as a separate class but with the same courses in most races as Class 1.

What's more, a glance at the finishing times would have had the J/109s winning most of the Div 1 races had they sailed as a single group.

IMG_0249.jpg

This race was abandoned at VDLR after a starting sequence error

After a faltering start on the Thursday (9 July), with racing abandoned after an early starting gun, the boats were flying in strong winds on day 2, held mainly in and around Howth.

IMG_0287.jpg

Storm won both heavy air races on Day two of VDLR

Pat Kelly's Storm was the star of the show here, excelling in the conditions to win both races, though Joker 2 was a close second, with Something Else taking third overall.

Day 3 was sailed in 15 to 17 knots, and ended with a 1,2 scoreline for Joker 2 and a 1,4 for Storm, putting the latter ahead after discard by two points.

The next day would be the decider, and going in fleet was unsure whether the race committee would field a restart of Thursday's abandoned race as well as the final.

If there was just the one race, Joker 2 needed a win – and needed Storm no better than fourth place – to clinch the title. Two races would give Maybury a better opportunity to make up the deficit.

Sunday came and brought lighter winds. Joker 2 had the better of the start and tacked on Storm a number of times up the first beat, before breaking through to lead on the first downwind, with Storm yo-yoing between fifth and sixth.

However, that lead evaporated after the bottom mark when a left-degree shift with extra pressure brought Jigamaree, Something Else  and Jalapeno into the top three, with Joker 2 now fourth.

IMG_0703.jpg

Close racing in the J109s

It took until the very final mark for Maybury and company to overhaul that trio, taking the gun from Jalapeno by 30 seconds. With Storm coming in fifth and trailing by a point, with Joker 2 also having the better discard, the RIYC boat had done the necessary, provided no more racing was in order. 

With the wind disappearing, race officer Jack Roy decided there was insufficient breeze to complete another race, and that was that: Joker 2 took the overall win and the J/109 National title for 2015 from Storm, with Jalapeno taking third on countback from Something Else due to her fine second place in the last race. 

Continuing to grow in Dublin and elsewhere, J/109s have shown that they are not only a very well constructed and designed cruiser racer, they are also extremely competitive in IRC and have now won the last 2 IRC Nationals in Class 1.

Published in Racing
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The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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