Displaying items by tag: Anthony O'Leary
#RORC – Anthony O'Leary and his Royal Cork crew on the Ker 39 Antix have moved up to second overall in IRC 2 at the RORC Easter Challenge but South African Mike Bartholomew and his King 40 Tokoloshe had another solid day, scoring a 1-2-1 in IRC Two, where she is now easing away from O'Leary, the RORC Vice Commodore wirtes James Boyd of the Daily Sail.
Force of Olympic medals, America's Cups and Volvo Ocean Races among the all-star crew aboard Sir Keith Mills' TP52 5°West prevailed on day two of the RORC Easter Challenge. The fastest boat in the fleet, being steered by the TeamOrigin boss and creator of Air Miles, has taken the lead on handicap in IRC One, after today's three races on the central Solent. One around the cans, was followed by two windward-leewards, held in continued challenging conditions, spring tides and a freezing Arctic breeze from the northeast.
5°West now leads IRC One, three points ahead of Andrew Pearce's Magnum II, first of the trio of Ker 40s competing. Yesterday's leader, Simon Henning's Alice II, was over early in the opening race and followed this with a disappointing day dropping her to fourth overall, albeit tied on points with their Farr 45 sistership Kolga, crewed by the British Keelboat Academy crew.
Owned by former Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, Kolga is this year being skippered by 20 year old James French and at the RORC Easter Challenge this year she is the only entry crewed solely by British Keelboat Academy trainees, although their sailors are to be found on numerous other boats across the fleet.
Like Alice II, Kolga suffered an OCS today but in the second race. "It was super shifty and we got up to the mainland shore and it was snakes and ladders, but that makes the race pretty interesting," recounted French. "It's great racing this weekend between the three 45s, the team is gelling nicely and we are getting some good results. The Ker 40s are the same pace as us, so we are always racing someone."
French, who calls tactics confirmed it was a tough day with the tide turning around lunchtime, in the middle of racing and while the wind built to 15 knots in the first race in the second many of the boats were caught out with headsails that were too small as the breeze dropped to five knots off the mainland shore.
IRC Two is popular with officers of the RORC. Admiral of the Club, Andrew McIrvine and his First 40, La Réponse, are lying sixth in the 12-strong class. "It is very close boat for boat racing despite the big range of handicaps," said McIrvine, adding of today's racing: "There was loads of current. In every race the boats on the left found the lifts and bands of pressure. It was the old rule of 'if it's from the north, go north': If you stayed on the left of the fleet, you gained."
McIrvine, who was particularly proud of his port tack start in race three, added his crew was also improving in what is their first UK regatta of 2013. "Yesterday was a bit sloppy, but the boat handling today - we did some very good manoeuvres, last minute take downs and gybes in the middle and everything worked beautifully."
David Franks' JPK 1010, Strait Dealer, looks set to repeat her perfect score line from 2012, winning all five races held so far. Gunning hard for them is Peter Morton's crew on the second-placed Corby 33, Salvo, but this is proving hard. "They are sailing very well. They are spotting shifts and putting the boat in the right place all the time. We are marginally quicker upwind, but on each run they come through us again," said Morton, adding that the competition on the water is superb with very tight finishes in every race.
Trying for a similar record to Strait Dealer is Peter Schofield's team on the Lymington-based HOD35, Zarafa. Unfortunately her perfect scoreline was blemished when she finished third equal in today's second race, won by Neil Cash and Nick Haigh's Fist 34.7 Alutra & Steamy.
"Talk about up and down - it was very challenging and difficult," said Schofield, who admitted that the racing this Easter weekend is some of the coldest he can remember. "We were wearing so many clothes we could barely move."
Schofield is a big advocate of the coaching aspect of the RORC Easter Challenge. "The format is great. I find it staggering that people don't make more use of coaches sailing. You wouldn't have a cricket team or a rugby team, even a village team, without some coaching."
But perhaps most grateful for the on the water and post race tuition provided by the guru Jim Saltonstall and his team are the crews from the three Gosport-based Royal Engineers Yacht Club boats. Today a coach came on board their Elan 31 Ragna of Upnor for the second race.
Skipper of Ragna of Upnor is Lucy Allaway and her crew is all-female, save one. Allaway serves with the Adjutant General's Corps and is attempting to form the army's first all-female sailing team. "This is a great weekend because the amount of benefit we get back from the coaching is fantastic and the debriefs are brilliant. Particularly when you bring a crew which doesn't usually sail together, it is great to have that professional feedback."
Two races are scheduled today, the final day of the RORC Easter Challenge, with the first start due at 11.00.
Race results here
#corkweek – Racing Chairman, Anthony O'Leary has revealed that there are some 'enterprising' changes to the Harbour Course Race for Cork Week in two weeks time writes Louay Habib.
With less than two weeks to go until the start of Cork Week, the Royal Cork Yacht Club is a hive of activity, the club is bracing itself for the arrival of well over a thousand competitors and over the past few weeks, local sailors have been working hard preparing their yachts moored in the safe confines of marina. A steady stream of yachts from overseas has begun to arrive in Crosshaven to get ready for the big event, with the many more expected to arrive this coming weekend.
Whilst the courses for Cork Week remain in the same likeable format there are some changes to the Harbour Course:
"For the last day of racing, we intend to have the whole fleet in Cork Harbour, which should be a fantastic spectacle." Commented O'Leary. "The Race Committee has also decided to award a long standing and very prestigious trophy at this year's event. The Carroll Cup dates back to 1858 and this year will be the prize for a Harbour Race Time Trial. The Moonduster Mark – Cobh Mark –No.18 buoy section is a distance of 1.8nm and it is our intention to time each boat in the Harbour Race over this distance and apply their IRC handicap, to find the winner of the Carroll Cup 2012. The particular part of the course passes an area known as The Holy Ground and is featured in song and verse and is very much part of the folklore of Cork Harbour."
The Royal Cork is the oldest yacht club in the world and a glittering array of silverware will be awarded at Cork Week. In addition, for 2012 all class winners will be also go home with a fine keepsake. The Belleek Group has been making fine china in Ireland for well over a century and overall class winners will receive a Belleek Living Trophy as a memento of their success.
This year, like many other regattas, the number of yachts attending is down on previous years. However well over one hundred yachts will be competing at Cork Week and the fun-factor looks like it could be at an all time high.
Dermot Cronin from the Malahide Yacht Club will be racing his First 40.7, Encore for the first time but this is not the first venture to Cork Week for Dermot and his crew, as he explains; "We enjoyed 2010 so much, even though we suffered a badly cracked mast with my old J/35. We did a pub-crawl to 'wake' our lost mast and loved the BBQ'd cod and black pudding served up by the local pubs. We'll definitely be setting out in search of that this year. I particularly like a smaller regatta at Cork. As after top class racing on the water, shoreside has a more laid back feel than past years. In the days of 600+ boats, getting to the bar was like wrestling through rush hour on the London underground!"
The ½ tonner Insatiable was built in 1985 and beautifully restored with the help of the Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth. The crew are all friends from Cornwall and include a National and European Laser 4000 champion, Jon Wilson. Skipper Tim Cunliffe explains why the team have decided to bring Insatiable to Cork Week for the first time. "Most of the crew have been to Cork Week before and what makes us come back is good racing and on shore entertainment, some provided by our own crew! All of us have sailed to a very high level and we see Cork Week as a major regatta that we hope to do well in and hopefully win. On top of that we are really looking forward to enjoying the excellent Irish hospitality."
From the Clyde, Christine and Robin Murray's First 40, Elf Too will be competing at Cork Week, Elf Too arrived safely in Crosshaven on the 24th June and Christine is really looking forward to Cork Week. "This is the fourth time, I have come for the regatta and I just love it, Crosshaven is where my husband and I confessed our undying love for each other. The racing is so well managed and we all just have such a great laugh. We are also looking for a crewmember for Cork Week to cover for maternity leave for our pit-girl, if you apply you will definitely need a sense of humour."
Elf Too's did supply an application form to join their crew but it does contain some expressions that are not suitable for family viewing!!
#rorc – Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix is second in class after three races at the IRC British National Championships in a breezy Cowes. Under grey skies with big breeze and frequent rain squalls, the fleet had a harsh introduction to the RORC IRC National Championship yesterday.
"We kept the sails above the boat today and to be honest I was too pre-occupied with that to notice those who didn't manage it. In those conditions, you keep your eyes on the road!" O'Leary said on coming ashore.
Shortly after the first start, the international fleet got a taste of the wicked conditions, as an angry 35-knot gust ripped through the racecourse. Thankfully, it was the biggest blast of the day but the wind rarely dropped below 20 knots and rain peppered the competitors throughout the three races. Spotting the huge gusts and nailing manoeuvres were vital to success. Some passed the test with flying colours, others returned to shore with shredded sails and dented pride.
In IRC One, Round Ireland race defender Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens started the series with a disappointing tenth, but came back firing on all cylinders to win the next two races and lead class one overnight. After racing, Piet Vroon commented: "It is a simple rule but he who makes the fewest mistakes usually gets the best results. We didn't break anything today, not even a sail batten and that is all down to the crew being careful and handling the boat well. I was especially happy with our results today, as on short courses we do not have a lot of time to make up our time handicap on other boats, it was great effort by the crew today, it really is all down to them."
Jan Persoons sailing Grand Soleil 43, Il Corvo had a consistent day to claim third overall in the big boat class. Mark Devereux's Swan 42, Brevity, started well but the crew will probably remember the day best for their über-Chinese gybe, caught on camera by Paul Wyeth.
It's tight at the top of IRC Two with just one point separating the top four yachts after three races. Jim Macgregor's Elan 410, Premier Flair, was in fine form today and they needed to be - a badly shredded kite threatened to put them out of contention in Race 2 but the team showed great tenacity to claw their way back to claim a second place finish in the race. Jim's daughter, Lucy Macgregor, was calling tactics, grinning from ear to ear and obviously enjoying a break from her build up to representing Great Britain at the upcoming Olympic Games. Past RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine's First 40, La Réponse, finished the day in fine style taking the gun in Race 3 by a substantial margin to claim second in class. However, La Réponse is tied on points with Marc de Saint Denis & Géry Trentesaux's MC34, Courrier Vintage and Sailing Logic's Reflex 38, Visit Malta Puma.
Today's outstanding performance came from IRC Three. David Franks' JPK1010, Strait Dealer scored three bullets by some margin, exhibiting terrific boat handling, one of the smallest yachts at the regatta was fully under control in the feisty conditions. "I have to say that it was easier in our class to read the shifts because we had two starts in front of us to observe" admitted Strait Dealer's tactician, Graham Sunderland. "We concentrated on tactics upwind today and more on the boat handling downwind, which I think paid off. I was absolutely delighted for David (Franks), his Etchells racing has massively improved his driving skills, and he was top of his game today. Also I would like to add that the RORC race management team did a great job snapping off three races today in quick succession."
IRC Four had a different winner in each race today, Grant Gordon's J/97, Fever won the first rubber but rival J/97, Jika Jika, sailed by Mike and Jamie Holmes, fought back to take Race Two. Michael Kershaw's Chimp, was the last boat to finish in Race 3 but on corrected time the vintage Half Tonner enjoyed their first bullet of the regatta. Racing at the RORC IRC National Championship continues tomorrow with three races scheduled. However, it may be too early to put away the wet weather gear - the weather forecast is suggesting fresh to frightening conditions for the second day of the regatta.
#rorc –Fresh from success at last month's ICRA Nationals at Howth YC both the Irish Class zero and class two champions head for Cowes this weekend for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) British IRC Championships writes Louay Habib.
Anthony O'Leary's Zero champion, the Ker 39 Antix and the Class two champion Nigel Bigg's Checkmate IV will be looking for a British title too when well over 400 sailors from all over Europe gather in Cowes this weekend for the annual three day event on tight Solent courses. Close encounters are expected for four classes under tight rating bands.
Since the first edition in 2000, the annual RORC inshore championship has always attracted a highly competitive fleet and this year is no exception.
Also competing in Cowes is Round Ireland champion Piet Vroon from Holland who is heading back to defend his offshore crown in Wicklow in two weeks time.
The sizeable fleet boasts close to 20 yachts that are past or present competitors for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. Winning class at the RORC IRC National Championship is extremely tough and class victors will savour that moment for years to come.
IRC One has produced one of the most impressive fleets for many years. Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, should be the fastest boat around the track but there will be four Ker 40s nipping at the Dutch flyer's heels. Nigel Passmore's Apollo will be highly motivated to take a national title back to Plymouth. Whilst Andrew Pearce's Magnum III and Harmen de Graaf's Baraka GP will be racing each other for the first time, prior to representing Benelux and Great Britain in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. However, the depth of talent in this class is quite remarkable, including some notable proven winners: O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix, Michael Bartholomew's King 40, Tokoloshe, Andrew Williams' Mills 39, Dignity, and RORC Commodore, Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III.
"We expect some very challenging racing, which is exactly what is required if we are to continue to improve our performance," commentedMagnum III skipper, Andrew Pearce. "The championship will have some of the best competition from the South Coast and beyond, it will be a thorough test for all of us."
In IRC Two the UNCL President, Marc de Saint Denis, will be racing MC34 Courrier Vintage in good company. No doubt, former RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine, will give the Frenchman a warm welcome to Cowes but no quarter once they are out on the racecourse. McIrvine has been in fine form offshore this season but the class has many well-honed adversaries. Kirsty and David Apthorp's J/111 J-Dream came within a whisker of winning Spi Ouest this Easter and Nicolas Gaumont-Prat's First 40.7, Philosophie IV, and Jim Macgregor's Elan 410, Premier Flair, will both be representing Great Britain in next month's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. Philosophie IV was runner up in IRC Two last year and will be looking to go one better in 2012.
In IRC Three, Mike Bridges' Elan 37, Elaine, is back to defend their title but the class also boasts two teams representing Britain in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup: Peter Morton's Corby 33, Salvo, and the British Keelboat Academy's J/109, Yeoman of Wight, will both be looking to impress. From overseas, Philippe Bourgeois' A35, Dunkerque Plaisance is in fine form, having won their class earlier this month at Normandy Sailing Week and Dutch J/109, Captain Jack, skippered by Round the World racer Bert Visser, is relishing the event. "We cannot get this standard of competition in Holland," admits Visser. "It is well worth the effort to come over for the championship. It is an important event for us and we expect some very good racing."
In IRC Four, Nigel Biggs is a veteran of the championship and will be looking to come out on top with the beautifully prepared vintage Half Tonner, Checkmate XV. The small boat class also has a number of well-sailed modern bowsprit boats. Father and son team, Mike and Jamie Holmes racing J/97 Jika Jika, entered months ago, having identified the championship as a key event of their season.
'It will be a testing event for us," predicted Jamie Holmes. "We are expecting some extremely close racing, I think that key reasons for the popularity of the event are that there is usually a good range of conditions and the races are always well run, which attracts impressive opposition. The IRC National Championship is an excellent event to hone our skills for the J/97 UK Nationals in Guernsey this summer."
Saturday proved a difficult one for both competitors and race officials alike at the RORC Easter Challenge Under a grey overcast sky, race three of the series got underway on time in light breeze, but on the second beat the wind turned inside out, causing the race to be shortened, finishing at the end of that leg. After this the wind resolutely failed to return, causing today's final two races to be cancelled.
In IRC One, 2010 Commodores' Cup winner Anthony O'Leary and his silver Ker 39 Antix won today's race. "We had a good start at the pin," the Irishman described it. "We got a little jump on our group of boats, we just rounded the top mark ahead of them. It just came and went all the way down the run and as we came around the bottom mark, the breeze had swung more to the west which hurt the guys ahead of us, while we were well ahead of our group anyway."
Dutchman Piet Vroon and his 2010 RORC Yacht of the Year, Tonnerre, were looking good at the end of the run, having overhauled the Farr 52 Toe in the Water. Unfortunately she and Toe In the Water lost out on the right side of the next beat as the breeze backed left. "At one stage, we were looking good, but we were nowhere at the finish," admitted Vroon. "It is not really representative of the sport to operate in such varying wind."
First to come in on the new breeze and hoist their kites upwind was the Farr 45 Espresso Martini (making up for her grounding yesterday) and she ended up being first home, followed in by Jonathan Goring's Ker 40 Keronimo, these two beating the two biggest boats in the RORC Easter Challenge fleet to the finish line on the water.
"When they [Espresso Martini] went around the leeward mark, the wind went left and they could reach to the finish," explained Brian Thompson, helmsman on Toe in The Water. "Anyone ahead of her was way off to leeward and hadn't made that much distance. The wind went maybe 90deg to the left. But it was good to get one race in and everyone was happy to come in early."
Overall leader in IRC One is now Michael Bartholomew's King 40 Tokoloshe, six points ahead of Keronimo.
In IRC Two Jim Macgregor and his Elan 410 Premier Flair have hung on to their overall lead after today's race, now just a point ahead of Niall Dowling's new J/111 Jazzband, although today's race was won by Joopster, Neil Kipling's J/122.
"The bias was swinging at the start and we were going for the pin end and then the bias went 10deg the other way, so we went back to the committee boat," Jim Macgregor described his start. "We weren't going fast at the gun, but we were going in the right direction and we spotted the pressure up on the left and those that went right lost on the first beat." Premier Flair led around the top mark and held on during the run.
On the second beat, matters were made all the more challenging for Premier Flair as there was a tide line just short of the weather mark. "There was east-going tide approaching and then for the last 50 yards, definite west-going tide," Macgregor continued. "What became a good layline suddenly became a bad layline...so another two tacks, but it was the same for everyone."
Finishing fourth today, Macgregor adds that he is finding the RORC Easter Challenge a good gauge of the competition lining up soon for the British team's trials for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.
Elsewhere Peter Morton on his Mat1010 won today's race in IRC Three to take the lead from the British Keelboat Academy squad sailing David Aisher's J/109, Yeoman of Wight. In IRC Four A Grant Gordon and his J/97 Fever continued her unbroken run of bullets as did Nigel Biggs' MG30 Checkmate XV in IRC Four B. However in the J/80 one design class, Rachel Woods' Jumblesail won today's race breaking Rob Larke's previously perfect scoreline on J2X.
Round the world navigator Steve Hayles, racing with the British Keelboat Academy on the Farr 45 Kolga, felt that the race committee had made the right call to send the fleet home mid-afternoon.
"It was a bit confusing," he said of today's situation. "It wasn't really a sea breeze, there just wasn't much gradient about, so a bit of breeze funnels up the western Solent at 270deg, it funnels down Southampton Water and it comes off the north shore, so all it takes is a slight change in balance..."
But it was really the tide turning that finally killed the wind altogether today. "In theory that should have built the breeze a little, but I think it just held it back. To can it was the right thing to do."
As to tomorrow, Hayles (who also runs the weather forecasting company GRIB.US) says: "We hope it will go southwesterly...I was hopeful yesterday, but I'm not today. There is a bit of southwesterly out there, it is just whether it pushes up here. It could be the same again. I am a little more hopeful tomorrow. If it starts more left it will pull left."
Two races are scheduled for tomorrow with the first start due at 1000.
#SAILING – The tenth Annual ICRA Conference took place in Dun Laoghaire for the first time on 26th November in the same year ICRA was awarded the Mitsubishi Club of the Year trophy writes ICRA Commdore Barry Rose. It was a well attended event by a very representative group of sailors and club representatives from all Coasts of Ireland.
Barry Rose Chaired the ICRA Conference in Dun Laoghaire
The format this year created an inter active discussion in the morning session on Class Bands and the promotion of participation in Cruiser Racing in general. A lively, frank discussion took place with strong views being expressed by most present highlighting the problem of attracting crews to enable boats to go racing and creating access to allow those interested to go sailing to participate in the sport.
Des McWilliam spoke passionately about Irish sailing - Photo: Bob Bateman
Sailmaker Des McWilliam made a strong appeal that the future of the sport was threatened by difficulty in accessing getting afloat and sailing by the Club structures that were becoming more of a closed shop approach. Maurice O'Connell also spoke passionately on the same subject and examples were given of difficulties encountered both In Cork and Dublin in gaining access to participating in sailing and racing while boats were remaining tied up for lack of crews.
An understanding of the dilemma for the Clubs was also expressed by Flag Officers present in maintaining their facilities for those paying membership while encouraging new sailors to gain access at reasonable cost for a period.
It was agreed that all present would make every effort on a personal basis to encourage opportunities for those interested to go sailing to gain opportunities on boats and access to Club introductory offers.
ICRA will also explore creating an on line vehicle for available crews to register so boat owners gain opportunity to make contact.
There was also suggestions aired that bottom end of Class 1 should be included in Class 2 where all would have better racing.
Howth, the venue for the 2012 ICRA Champs
The Royal Cork Yacht Club was complimented for running a top Class ICRA National Championships in June. Howth Yacht Club gave an update that arrangements are well progressed for an exciting ICRA National Championships in Howth 25th to 27th May 2012. The previous weekend will host the Corby Cup which will encourage those travelling to participate in Nationals and ISORA will run a feeder Race from Wales. It is hoped to announce a Sponsor shortly. Howth plan the first Race for 1600 hrs on Friday to avoid necessity for those travelling to stay over on Thursday.
The main feature of the afternoon session was a similar open forum with Race Officers Jack Roy, Henry Leonard and Harry Gallagher joining the top table for an open discussion on course types that sailors wanted and communications sailors would like with Race Officers. This was also a lively session with frank constructive exchanges which was of benefit to sailors and Race Officers alike.
The feeling of the meeting was that in addition to windward /Leeward courses sailors wanted a good variety of course types both at National Championship level but also at Regional events. Also those present strongly requested that boats over the line at starts be informed whenever possible but on strict understanding in Sailing Instructions that there be no redress in any circumstances relating to same against Race Officers.
Both these forums provided an excellent opportunity for those attending to air their views on all matters relating to Cruiser Racing and to offer ideas and this will be developed further for future conferences.
Commodore's Cup Captain Anthony O'Leary. Photo: Bob Bateman
The Commodore reported on efforts to form a team to defend the Commodore's Cup in 2012 and Anthony O'Leary brought the meeting up to date in changes to the event format and expressed confidence that there would be a positive response to ICRA 's request for declarations of interest to form a credible team to defend the Cup as is Ireland's responsibility.
Denis Noonan of Wicklow Sailing Club expressed the Clubs upset and disappointment that an Irish Club would arrange a competing event The Round Rockall Race from Galway starting on the same day as their Iconic Round Ireland Race. They outlined their plans for the 2012 Round Ireland Race and received support for their efforts from those attending. The RORC has increased their points scoring for the Round Ireland Race as further recognition of its standing in World offshore racing. Both ICRA and the ISA confirmed their support for the Round Ireland Race.
Pat Kelly's Storm is ICRA's Boat of the Year. Photo: Bob Bateman
The Conference finished with the presentation of the magnificent crystal ICRA Boat Of The Year trophy for 2011 to Pat Kelly's J 109 Storm who won the ICRA Nationals in Cork in June, The Cruiser Challenge in Dublin in August, The Howth Autumn Series and also travelled to the Scottish Series and Sovereigns Week. It was felt she embodied the spirit of a well campaigned ICRA cruiser racer. A week later Kelly became Afloat's Sailor of the month for November.
Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary returns to New York's Invitational Cup next week for another crack at the Rolex event that has attracted 22 teams.
Despite no previous experience with the Swan 42, Anthony O'Leary's team from the Royal Cork Yacht Club got off to a blazing start at the 2009 Invitational Cup, scoring a third and two firsts in the opening three races. From there the team rode a bit of a roller coaster with three more top-five finishes, a 13th, and two 17ths. The end result was fifth, a bit disappointing given the quick start, but respectable, nonetheless. More importantly, it earned O'Leary and his team a return invitation.
When racing begins on Tuesday, September 13, at the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, most of the 22 participating yacht club teams will be fresh from racing at the peak of the sailing season in the northern hemisphere.Last year, O'Leary was named the Afloat Irish Independent Sailor of the Year for, in part, leading the Irish team to the win at the 2010 Rolex Commodore's Cup.
"We will continue to sail [the Ker 39] Antix up to mid-season in handicap fleets, as our boat is similar in characteristics to the Swan 42," says O'Leary of his preparations for the Invitational Cup. "Closer to September we will focus more on one-design sailing, which is really the ultimate challenge as shown in the Invitational Cup. Apart from our not finishing on the podium, there was not a single disappointing aspect of the 2009 regatta. The entire event was a great experience, superbly organized by a wonderful club."
O'Leary was still assembling his crew, but it will surely include some family members. Son Peter O'Leary sailed in the 2008 Olympics in the Star class while Nicholas O'Leary, a three-time All-Ireland sailing champion, served as the team's tactician during the 2009 Invitational Cup.
Three teams though – the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Cape Yacht Club and Yacht Club Argentino – which hail from below the equator, will be coming from winter to summer to race in Swan 42s for the championship title. "It is an honor for the Yacht Club Argentino (YCA) to participate this coming September," said Commodore Ricardo Galarce. "We are proud of sharing such an important regatta with well-known clubs from different parts of the world.
Besides, it is nice to share with all of them the same objective of competing with fair play and sailing which is what we love doing. We will go to New York Yacht Club's Harbour Court ready to have fun, but we will be doing our best effort to take the cup back to our beloved YCA in Buenos Aires." Galarce explained that even though it is winter in Argentina, the weather is not so cold and the sailors are used to sailing in this season. After the invitation to the event was published in the YCA magazine, any club member who wanted to join the team was encouraged to do so. A team selection was then made taking into account sailing resumes, technical skills and personalities, in order to form a complete, competitive and compatible crew.
Because there was a boat similar to the Swan 42 available for their use in Mar del Plata, the YCA team traveled 400 km to spend a weekend there performing intensive training, "with very good results and lots of learning as regards each of the crew members' functions and movements," said Galarce. "We then carried on our training in Buenos Aires, always trying to sail in boats similar to the Swan 42, which we know is an excellent boat, which demands a lot from its crew." With only two of the crew having previously sailed in Newport – Santiago Braun and Francisco Billoch who each sailed the Onion Patch Series in 1972 – the YCA team is studying the weather forecasts, tides and winds, in order to gain some local knowledge. And the team hopes to become familiar with the Swan 42 in the short time between their arrival and the start of the Invitational Cup. "We know it won't be an easy regatta," concluded Galarce. "We are proud of being able to sail alongside sailors who belong to the most distinguished sailing clubs in the world. We wish them all good luck, and we hope to share great fun on the water."
In Australia where the average sailing temperature for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's (CYCA) winter series is 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), sailing is a year-round activity, and all of the CYCA team members race throughout the year in various club events. Most of the CYCA crew that will travel to Rhode Island sailed together for the first time in April on the Corby 49 Vamp in the New South Wales IRC championships, finishing third overall. Vamp then finished second in Division 1 in the recently concluded CYCA Winter series. "None of us have experience in the Swan 42s although most have sailed in similarly equipped and designed yachts over a range of sizes up to the TP52 class," said David Fuller, CYCA Team Manager. "Whereas we have not had many opportunities to sail together, most of our crew have continued to sharpen their skills on other boats in the various races and regattas along the Australian coast and overseas." CYCA tactician Evan Walker is one of those who have been away from Sydney, having recently been at Weymouth, England, to coach an Elliot 6m team at the 2012 Olympic test event.
Before coming to Newport, however, Walker will be racing as tactician in the Cartagena round of the Audi MedCup with an Australian Soto 40 team. "Hopefully the week of sailing as tactician in Spain will have me hitting my straps by the time I arrive in Newport," said Walker, a CYCA Youth Academy graduate who has seen success as a match racing skipper. "I'm very excited to be competing in the Invitational Cup and I'm sure we'll have an enthusiastic team bonding session on our arrival in Newport." David Hudson, skipper of the team from the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC) in South Africa was also at the Olympic test event. "Regarding our preparation for the Invitational Cup, it's obviously not as convenient for us as it would be if the event took place towards the end of our racing season," said Hudson. "However, winter training in Cape Town is perfectly feasible from a weather point of view. At 34 degrees south we have a Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and cold wet winters, and although we have recently had some snow on the mountains just to the east of our sailing waters, Cape Town seldom gets really cold."
And while none of the RCYC team has any experience racing Swan 42s, they too have been training on a variety of boats of similar size. "We are all looking forward to the challenge," said Hudson. John Martin, RCYC's Commodore and team manager, lived on yachts from the age of eight and cut his teeth in 1971 aboard a new Swan 37 imported to South Africa specifically to do the Cape to Rio race, starting as bowman and working his way back. So it is very apt for him to be sailing a Swan 42 in this regatta, all these years later.
Not only is Martin the most famous yachtsman in South Africa but also he is well-known internationally. "Newport has great memories for me," said Martin. "During my single- and double-handed sailing career, 1981–1991, I had the honor of winning a few races, most importantly, winning the last leg of the 1986/87 BOC Singlehanded Round the World Race which finished in Newport. It is with great delight that I return with a very competent and competitive sailing team to represent the club of which I have been Commodore for the past three years."
An official practice for the 22 yacht club teams will take place on Monday, September 12, from 1300-1700, followed by the opening ceremony for the Invitational Cup. Five days of racing will ensue, with the first warning signal scheduled for 1100 each day.
The winning team will be confirmed at the conclusion of racing on Saturday, September 17. In addition to Rolex, which for 2011 and 2013 is the presenting sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor's Swan have also returned, and are joined by Atlantis WeatherGear, as sponsors to enhance the experience of competitors as well as those who will be following the races.
The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex NYYC's Harbour Court will host 22 yacht club teams – representing 16 nations from six different continents – with racing on NYYC Swan 42s on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay from September 10-17, 2011. By country, the roster of participating teams is: Yacht Club Argentino (ARG); Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (AUS); Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (BER); Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN); Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (HKG); Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP); Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN); Itchenor Sailing Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR); Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (GER); Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL); Yacht Club Capri and Yacht Club Punta Ala (ITA); Japan Sailing Federation (JPN); Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (NOR); Clube Naval de Cascais (POR); Royal Cape Yacht Club (RSA); and Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.); Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, Md.); Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.); and New York Yacht Club (Newport, R.I.) from the USA.
After triumphing twice, back to back in 2001 and 2002, Mackay becomes only the second skipper or helm to win the overall top trophy three times in the 36 year history of the regatta.
Steering Humberside father and son duo Jim and Steve Dick's J97 Jackaroo, Mackay and crew scored no worse than second and won four times over their six races which were sailed in predominantly strong winds over the four day series. They finished nine points clear of an identical J97, Jaywalker, owned and steered by Clyde helm Iain Laidlaw.
"I have never been up here before but I will certainly be back. It has been such a fun, friendly regatta and winning overall just adds to it. Hamish and the crew have done us a great job. We only got the boat last year and have been learning about it all the time," commented Jackaroo's owner Jim Dick.
"I loved the sailing and the social side of it, it has been just wonderful. Seeing the boat go well and having fun at the same time has been a really good combination. The sailing is hosted in such a fantastic, beautiful location. I am half Scot myself with a father from Anstruther where my uncle had a shoe repair shop."
Dick, who retired four years ago, started and runs a charity in Hull, Cat Zero, which provides sail training and experience for young people who are unemployed.
"It is always a surprise to win. All you can do is win your class and get yourself on to the short list and see what happens. The Class 1 boat Tokoloshe put together a good series but all we could do was win our own fleet. The boat is excellent and we had some excellent people on the boat and that really made the difference. I don't think I can really remember when it was last it was as windy here as it was over the weekend, certainly not racing in a consistent 35 knots, but I was surprised that the race officers started us but I was pleased they did, did a good job getting us going," said Mackay, past chairman of the Royal Yachting Association in Scotland and former Olympic trialist.
"Every year is challenging. Today faired typically difficult Tarbert conditions, with the breezes coming down off the land. So we were keen to be on top of it today and to get two firsts to get ourselves on the short list, which we did. So we are all very pleased. It is a premier regatta, I'm happy we did it."
After a weekend of very testing strong winds today, Monday, Loch Fyne delivered crews a final reminder of how good conditions can be for the north of Britain's premier annual regatta.
Though there was still a chill in the air and the very early morning was punctuated by a heavy hail storm, the sun shone through both races which were completed and the moderate westerly breezes averaged 12 knots but varied from 7-18 knots up and down the three course areas set.
The Jackaroo crew, Mackay, Peter Cameron, George Purves, Billy Russell Jr, Jon Fitzgerald and Roddy Anderson, all native Scots, along with owner Dick, were pushed hard in the overall decision for the 107 boat regatta's top trophy. South African Mike Bartholomew and his team on the King 40 Tokoloshe overcame the challenge from double Scottish Series winner Anthony O'Leary to win IRC Class 1. In CYCA Class 7 Valhalla of Ashton, a Gourock based Swan 36 of Alan Dunnet, won overall with three first places and two second place finishes.The Class 1 title was down to a duel between rivals Antix and Tokoloshe. The South African flagged boat, on owner Mike Bartholomew's first visit to Loch Fyne had a one point lead to protect ahead of Anthony O'Leary's Irish crew across today's two races. The first contest started with an immediate dilemma for the Series leaders. Antix crossed the start line early and had to restart.
But Tokoloshe's tactician Mike Richards may be from the very south of England but has enough experience of Loch Fyne to know to stick close to your rival rather than try to go off and win the race. That proved crucial as they were able to stay close enough to Antix to ensure they had the better of them in the first race and then secured the class title by winning the final race by 16 seconds ahead of the Cork crew on Antix.
Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary, who has won the Scottish Series award twice, is in Tarbert bidding to win for a third time 30 years exactly since the Trophy first went to Ireland when it was won by Frank Woods on the Castro designed One Tonner Justine III. This year Irish travellers to Scotland are down as is the overall attendance for tomorrow's event.
For all that the total entry may have compacted down in recent years due largely to the pressures of the global economy and the net consequence of more carefully allocated holiday or leisure times, the core entry for the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series is as richly laden with high quality talent and past winners as ever.
The north of Britain's most prestigious annual sailing regatta starts Friday morning and the 107 crews look like they are in for more breezy weather on Loch Fyne. Of course over more than 30 years of racing on the loch, strong winds are nothing new.
Regulars who year in year out set aside the May Bank Holiday weekend to race on the spectacular waters of the sea loch, have returned to work each Tuesday as often with sunburn as they have borne the obvious effects of four days in unrelenting wind and chilly temperatures.
But the majority of these next few days seem set to be given over to the latter.
It will matter little to the hard core. Four skippers will be looking to match Jonathan Anderson's record of three overall Scottish Series wins. Perhaps the best chance of achieving this hallowed hat-trick rests again with Hamish Mackay who won in consecutive years 2001 and 2002.
Ten years on from that last win Mackay, past Chairman of the Royal Yachting Association will be helping campaign a J97 Jackaroo in IRC Class 4, which recently dominated at the warm-up Savills Regatta on the Clyde winning the overall top trophy.
Clyde sailmaker John Highcock is also bidding for a third win of the overall top award, after helping veteran John Corson to secure the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series Trophy last year with his Corby 33 Salamander XX. The same team which won last year remains intact, with the boat unchanged from victory last May.
Chris Bonar, who won in 1985 and 1997, returns with his crew on Bateleur 97, a BH36 which competes in IRC Class 1 up against Anthony O'Leary, from Royal Cork YC, who has also won the top award twice.
Racing starts Friday for all classes and concludes Monday.
"It looks like it will be a nice compact regatta during which we can maximise our ability to run good racing, and the amenity values of Tarbert will be at their highest. It is gratifying to see that the IRC and the CYCA Handicap classes' entries have stood up well. And after the event we will look a little closer at why the entries for some of the sporstboat and smaller one design classes are down," said John Readman, chair of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series organisers the Clyde Cruising Club.
There were mid fleet performances from Irish boats at RORC's Easter Sailing Challenge on the Solent where competitors not only head home wiser after three days of coaching, but also with suntans...so the July-like conditions continued for Easter Sunday, the final day of competition.
Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary was fifth from ten starters in IRC one and Niall Dowling's new J111 Arabella finished the same in IRC 2. Both boats moved up from sixth overall in yesterday's final day of racing.
Racing got underway in the morning with just enough northwesterly gradient coming out of Southampton Water for the race committee to set courses to the north of Ryde Sands. The first race was held in 5-10 knots while in the second, the breeze dropped off after the second start.
Despite a protest over their start in today's second race that might have cost them the top spot, Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw's Farr 52, Bob, won IRC 1 by a comfortable four points, the biggest boat in the RORC Easter Challenge fleet benefitting from clear air in the light winds.
Mike Bartholomew's King 40, Tokoloshe, had a disappointing day posting two fourths, dropping them to second. "It was thoroughly enjoyable, a great regatta, although it was a pity the wind got a bit fickle at times," said the South African skipper. "I think it was quite funny that we are one of the lowest rating boats in our class and we ended up second while the top rating boat won. There has been a lot of criticism of the IRC, so maybe it works! And the weather was beautiful. I don't live here all the time, but I have never seen England so good."
Mark Devereux's Club Swan 42, Brevity, slipped into third today after the British Keelboat Academy's Farr 45, Kolga, was OCS in today's second race. Kolga has British Keelboat Academy crew with RYA Youth Match Racing National Champion Mark Lees, 19, steering.
"For us it was a case of our making sure that all the fundamentals we've been working on in the manoeuvres and the communications on board were all clicking," commented British Keelboat Academy Head Coach, Luke McCarthy. "In the first race today it all came together and it was nice to get second on corrected in a pretty competitive IRC fleet."
In IRC 2, RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine was in his stride, scoring two wins aboard his First 40, La Rèponse. This left him tied in first with Andrew Williams' Prima 38, Max 'Ed Out! which won having one more bullet.
The scorers also had to resort to countback in IRC3 where Chris and Hannah Neve's First 35, No Chance, was pipped at the post by Louise Morton's MAT 1010, which had two wins today to gain the all-female crew (apart from Volvo Ocean Race winner navigator Jules Salter) the overall prize on countback.
No Chance's tactician Phil Lawrence, grumbling that his match racer daughter Charlotte aboard MAT 1010 had beaten him, said that in the second race their chances were scuppered when they got gassed by the J/109, Toe in the Water, led by round the world sailing legend, Brian Thompson. "There was much less breeze and we are not so quick in that and Toe In the Water, which has been sailed really well, got past us and dropped us back into the pack. We could just never catch them."
The regatta's only run-away leader was Grant Gordon's J/97 Fever. She finished 16 points ahead of Robert Baker's X-332, Brightwork, despite losing today's final race to Alistair Evans' immaculate Swan 37, Alvine XV, winner of the Prix d'Elegance (as chosen by the ladies on the committee boat).
Following on from Gordon's Swan 45 of the same name, the J/97 is being sailed by a new team that has been together since last Cowes Week.
"It has been very well organised by the RORC," continued Gordon. "They have done a good job and it is great to get feedback from the coaches. We got some good input on trimming the sails from Eddie Warden Owen, and being so light, the starts were quite challenging. It is a great way to start the season and it is much better to do it when there is a heat wave. Last year, we were sweeping snow off the deck!"