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Ireland's Royal Cork Yacht Club moved up two places overall in the Rolex New York Invitational Cup yesterday after scoring 3,10 and 11 in the 22 boat fleet yesterday. The Anthony O'Leary skppered boat is just three points behind Japan who ties for fourth place after six races with the Newport harbour team on 48 points. Third place is Annapolis Yacht Club on 43 points.

Returning to upper Narragansett Bay for the second day of the fixture has proven beneficial for at least one of the 22 yacht club teams – Royal Canadian Yacht Club – which again displayed remarkable consistency on the race course. And in a repeat of yesterday's prevailing theme of tight competition, today's three races were won by three different clubs which means that there have been no duplicate winners thus far in the six-race series.

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A keen start yesterday. Royal Cork is bow number three. Photo:Dan Nerney/Rolex

"We were probably the biggest movers," said Peter McChesney, helm for the Annapolis Yacht Club team who has only sailed in Newport a handful of times previously, including the the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup U.S. Qualifying Series in 2010 in which the AYC team finished second to earn the opportunity to race in this event. AYC was 10th overall after yesterday's first day of racing, and moved up to third overall with 43 points after finishes of 6-1-3 today. "We just got off the line better today in every race, and gave our tactician [John Torgerson] the opportunity to make good decisions. If you get a good start it's easier to make those decisions. Our tactician took what we gave him and did a great job of calling tactics, and the crew work was essentially flawless. Everything just went our way."

The exciting conditions seen today on Narragansett Bay have also proven why Newport remains such a unique place to sail. "Where else can you sail in 20 knots of breeze and have the seas be this flat?," said Chip Whipple, timmer on the New York Yacht Club team. "It really is an anomaly. When you have as much breeze as this [in the Med] you're sailing in big seas and a lot of swell. And in northern Europe you have the cold water and big seas, breaking waves. Being as protected as we are here it's just an extremely fantastic place to sail, and the boats can't sail any faster because they are absolutely optimized for the conditions."

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) team has retained the overall lead position after adding finishes of 2-4-2 to yesterday's finishes of 2-1-4 for 15 points. When they won the second race on the first day of the contest, they were given the Rolex gold spinnaker to fly in the subsequent race. And, as overall standings leader, RCYC carried the golden chute for all of today's races, and will continue that way when racing resumes tomorrow.

"We had to bail on two starts," said RCYC helm Terry McLaughlin after racing today, explaining that the RCYC team was forced to tack in both instances but the moves wound up working in their favor. "It was good breeze most of the day and we were going well. We're trying to do all the fundamentals well and not make mistakes." With eleven races planned, and tough competition, McLaughlin knows all to well that the 13-point lead RCYC currently enjoys can disappear in a hurry. "We had a good battle with NYYC in the last race, caught up to them on the last leg. It was close, but they beat us by three boat lengths."

"The last race was a lot of fun," said Ken Colburn, skipper of the New York Yacht Club team when summing up their win of the final race of the day. NYYC now stands second overall with 28 points, 13 points behind RCYC. "We had a great start, found ourselves in a clean lane and just were able to get in the proper groove. RCYC was there every inch of the race. We stayed together . . . gapped the fleet . . . for both of us it was just a fabulous race." Emphasizing that there was still a lot of racing to come, Colburn noted that, as anticipated, the quality and depth of the competition is remarkable. "Six winners in six races is indicative of how strong this fleet is overall."

Racing resumes today Thursday, September 15, with the warning signal for the first race scheduled for 1100. Competitors leave NYYC's Harbour Court for the race course at approximately 0930 each morning. The winner of the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will be confirmed at the conclusion of racing on Saturday, September 17.

Published in Racing

Except for an opening race shocker, Royal Cork's Anthony OLeary is counting an excellent third and a fourth from yesterday's races two and three at New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup to lie eighth, one place ahead of the Royal Yacht Squadron in a fleet of 22 entries.

After several practice days spent familiarising themselves with the boats and local sailing conditions, the 22 yacht club teams were unleashed for the first day of racing in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. The event is hosted by the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court, their on-the-water clubhouse in Newport, Rhode Island.

 

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A fleet start yesterday in New York. Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

For the first day of racing, the NYYC Race Committee opted to send the fleet "inside", up Narragansett Bay. The south-southwest breeze ranged from seven to eight knots, building to the higher teens by the afternoon, and providing perfect conditions for the three races contested. The prevailing wind against an ebbing current kept tacticians in check, though if local knowledge was key you couldn't tell from the results, with teams from the Japan Sailing Federation, Royal Canadian Yacht Club, and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia each taking a win today – and the Canadians at the top of the leaderboard at day's end.

But it was also kudos to the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup organizers for including several days of practice sailing to get teams up to speed on the Swan 42s, as this one-design given by the technical team, as well as local knowledge briefing provided by Sail Newport Executive Director, Brad Read.

Some teams put the information to use more effectively than others. Patrick Pender, helmsman on the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club entry which is standing 2nd overall after today said, "It was a great first day for us. I think what was a great thing for the series was that they had a lot of practice racing and allowed the people to really learn how to sail the boat. Often you go to regattas and by the end of the regatta you go, 'crikey, we're ready to go now'. They did a fabulous job yesterday of giving a really, really good explanation about how the tides work both inside (the Bay) and outside. Obviously outside is much more complicated, whereas I think it's probably more predictable up the bay."

Pender's team managed a 3-8-2 today and the helmsman was quick to credit his crew, "The crew's doing an awesome job, mechanically the guys are working very hard. We did a really difficult drop on the last race, coming in hot and fast to the left-hand gate. It was a hard maneuver and we got clear air, had a really good rounding. We sailed very well on the last short beat and protected a good second place finish."

The Japanese entry is one of several returning entries. Having posted a third overall in the 2009 event, the teams' tactician Elichiro Hamazaki, said they are focused on a top three finish again. With a race one win they were on track, but the subsequent 7-9 showed how tough the talent is here. Hamazaki recounted, "We had a good upwind beat, we had a good right-hand shift and kept first position from the top mark. In the second and third races as the wind picked up, the other boats were very consistent and close. Once we made a mistake, we fell behind."

He added, "Especially racing on the inside course, the area is surrounded by shore and the wind is tricky and has big effects of current.  It was difficult, but it is very exciting in this one-design class – it's really close, very competitive."

The on-the-water umpiring, introduced for this edition of the Invitational Cup, was put into play today with a half dozen calls made on the water, which served their purpose of eliminating the inevitable protest hearings back onshore.

Winning race three was the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's entry. Helmsman Hugo Van Kretschmar set his sights on a return to Newport, as his last time was 1983 when he competed in the America's Cup challenger trials onboard the Australian entry, Challenge 12.

Van Kretschmar is part of a group of friends who sail on CYCA Commodore Gary Linacre's and David Fuller's Corby 49. He heard that the CYCA had been invited to compete at the Invitational Cup and hatched a plan to make it happen. Van Kretschmar said "So five of us off the back of Gary's boat decided that we'd like to go and do this thing and we thought we'd like to combine it with the Youth Sailing Academy out of the CYCA.  So we have four 'kids' onboard, they're all graduates of the program so 22-, 23-, 24-year olds. So the group was five buddies and four kids out of the Academy. Most of us sailed together in different configurations on different boats and races before, but here in Newport was actually the first time we all sailed together as a team.

Commodore Gary Linacre, who's raced in numerous Rolex Sydney Hobart races, was an enthusiastic supporter of the team, and said, "We looked at the whole deal and I said I'd get behind it as Commodore and do what I could. The three of us (including Van Kretschmar and Fuller) have sailed together lot over the years and we and just decided it's such a wonderful event. The Corinthian nature of it was really worthwhile doing, and so we decided to come here."

Van Kretschmer has another reason for a return to this sailing mecca, " I never saw anything in Newport when I was here in '83. We were on strict lockdown and at the gym at something like five in the morning!"

Racing continues today Wednesday 14 September through Saturday 17 September. Tomorrow's first warning signal will be at 11:00 am.

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 22 entrants
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); Eastern Yacht Club, Annapolis Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club (USA).

Published in Racing

Anthony O'Leary's crew are all set for tomorrow's start of the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup as sole Irish crew representing Royal Cork Yacht Club in the Big Apple.

The grounds of New York Yacht Club's renowned Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, Rhode Island, were filled with sailors from around the world, who are set to begin racing tomorrow in the second biennial Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.

The 22 teams, representing yacht clubs from 16 nations and six continents, have traveled far and wide to get to Newport. The teams, especially those less familiar with the Swan 42 class, enjoyed several perfect practice days with today's 12-14 knot southwesterly breeze, under sunshine and brilliant blue skies, appreciated by all competitors, especially those from some more sunshine-challenged locales

The Swan 42s, an ultra competitive one-design class, were conceived by the NYYC as the yacht club's ninth one-design class since its' founding in 1844. The New York Yacht Club Race Committee, led by John "Tinker" Myles, Jr. ran several practice starts today for the fleet.

Racing will run from Tuesday, 13 September through Saturday, 17 September. A total of eleven (windward-leeward) races are planned, with no throw-outs. Racing will take place off Newport, R.I. on Rhode Island Sound or in Narragansett Bay.

One of the first teams to arrive in Newport was Clube Naval de Cascais from Portugal, with skipper Patrick Moteiro de Barros. The team has been on-site for over a week practicing on their chartered Swan 42 Orbit, and making the most of coach Bill Shore's expertise and local knowledge. de Barros commented, "The goal is to do the best we can, and we're here to win. We may not win, but that's the motivation."

To that end de Barros, who is a four-time Olympian, has assembled a crew that at its' core are very competitive Dragon sailors. Included in this mix is tactician Henrique Anjos, a three-time Portuguese national champion in the class. With no Swan 42s available locally, the team came up with a clever alternative last spring, chartering a Dufour 40, and adding a bowsprit to it so they could fly an asymetrical spinnaker.

De Barros is no stranger to Newport, having sailed here in the 1980s when he was the helmsman on Magic, the trial horse for Dennis Conner's Freedom. The team had hoped to participate two years ago, but couldn't come, and the appeal of the event is clear to de Barros who added, "The Invitational Cup is totally Corinthian, and I think it's important to have events where the amateurs are recognized. This is one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, and I think events like this should carry on."

From further afield is the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club team with skipper Nick Burns. Sailing onboard is Jochim Isler, Vice Commodore of the club and a frequent competitor in the RHKYC's signature biennial Rolex China Sea Race. As with many of the other clubs, the teams experience is in a mix of big boats and one-designs, in this case Etchells. Burns and Isler often compete against each other, but they've solidified their strengths as well as recruited 10 of the top 20 sailors in the club for the team.

In the 2009 event, Royal Hong Kong finished 11th; but last summer they sailed in the Rolex Commodore's Cup and finished second, which Isler said gave them the confidence and motivation to give it a try again.

Burns added, "We came a long way for this, it's great. The event is tightening up (rules) year-by-year, which is what you need. They're doing a very equal job with the boats, it's a very good system. You have nothing to blame but yourself!"

One of the Southern hemisphere teams competing is the Yacht Club Argentino with Paolo Cosentino as helmsman. YCA Commodore Ricardo Galarce is racing onboard as trimmer, and the two were clearly delighted to be here, "This is our first visit and I tell you we are amazed, we want to live here, we're going to stay here."

Cosentino said, "We sail two boats that are similar (a Frers 44 and a Soto 43). We trained about 10 days in Buenos Aires (in the river) and Mar del Plata, where you can sail in the sea.  We feel comfortable, but need to train a little more – we've had these three days here, so we'll arrive tomorrow at about 80% of our standard.

"For us we are very proud of being invited by this club. We have a lot of tradition also, our club is almost 130 years old and for us being here is a very special situation – we are very proud."

For NYYC Invitational Cup Event Chairman, John Mendez tomorrow's start couldn't come soon enough, "I'm absolutely delighted. To be honest it's been a long build-up, it's been two years getting this going and to see all of the teams arrive and to meet with them – their excitement and enthusiasm -- has really set this off for me. I feel a lot more relaxed about the whole event!"

About half of the yacht club teams that competed in 2009 are back again, including the top five. Mendez continued, "We still have a lot of interest from yacht clubs that are not here and as this has grown they'll be a lot more who'll want to participate next time. I see the competition this time being stiffer than last time – it has been raised to another level. I think we'll see some exciting racing.

"This is key to each one of these clubs – they all have the intention of taking the trophy back with them. I'm afraid we can't cut it into pieces! But, I could see the trophy leaving our shores at the end of the week."

This edition features a couple of significant changes including a move to all-amateur sailors (no professionals) and on-the-water umpiring. Of the latter Mendez points out, "That's a very big leap forward for fleet racing. We want people to sail safely and the umpiring is definitely going to help that."

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 22 entrants
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 (CHN); 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); Eastern Yacht Club, Annapolis Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club (USA)

Published in Racing

Another first place in the penultimate race for Italians Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini sealed their series-long domination and overall victory at the Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) at Dun Laoghaire yesterday. Irish Olympic campaigners Peter O'Leary and Dvid Burrows finished an impressive fourth overall in the 27-boat fleet.

Photos on the Afloat Gallery by Gareth Craig HERE.

Light and shifty conditions followed by a sea breeze completed the regatta that delivered a full range of conditions for the 27-boat fleet from 18 nations.

Negri and Voltolini kept their form for a fourth race win and typically enjoyed a comfortable lead at the finish of race seven. For the crews chasing the runner-up podium positions, the breeze proved as challenging as it has been all week, this time dying to a near calm on the final run before filling gently on the left hand-side side of the course catching the unwary, notably Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau who had been vying with the Italian leaders for first place.

A wait followed for the eighth and final race of the week but only after a long wait for the sea breeze to build and settle. This took the fleet away from the now familiar area off Dun Laoghaire's West Pier and southwards towards this historic Dalkey Island side of Dublin Bay. After starting in ideal conditions of 18 knots, halfway through the race the breeze died completely to be followed by a 90-degree wind-shift that saw 2008 World Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki emerge with a substantial lead on the water and, having led from the outset were confirmed as second overall runners-up. Negri and Voltolini had already retired as their position was no better than their already discarded eighth in race six and were busy packing their boat as the final ended.

Irish hopes of a podium result on home waters were denied to London 2012 Olympic contenders Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who placed fourth in the last race but a ninth earlier in the day left them fourth overall as Canada's Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn took third place.

Star European Championship 2011 at Royal St. George YC, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

(Final overall after eight races):

1st ITA Diego Negri & Enrico Voltolini
2nd POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki
3rd CAN Richard Clarke & Tyler Bjorn
4th IRL Peter O'Leary & David Burrow
5th NOR Eivind Melleby & Petter Morland Pedersen
6th POR Afonso Domingos & Frederico Melo

Published in Star
Colman Garvey and Martin Darrer's Projection 35 True Penance was the Class one IRC winner of the fourth sailing race in the Royal Cork YC O'Leary Insurances League. The race was held in sunshine and a nice breeze inside Cork Harbour last night. The breeze came from a S.E. direction at 10 to 15 knots. The start was about 2 and a half hours before Low Water. Race Officer Paul O'Shea set a nice course for all classes, all classes finishing before dark!

Results Summary:
1st in White Sail IRC Seamus Gilroy's Dufour 34 "Split Point"
1st in White Sail Echo Seamus Gilroy's Dufour 34 "Split Point"
1st in Class 3 IRC Paul Murray's Impala 28 "Prometheus"
1st in Class 3 Echo Paul Murray's Impala 28 "Prometheus"
1st in Class 2 IRC Ted Crosbie's X302 MK2 "No Excuse"
1st in Class 2 Echo Mark Mendell's Sun Fast 32 "Wicked"
1st in Class 1 IRC Colman Garvey & Martin Darrer's Projection 35 "True Penance"
1st in Class 1 Echo  Colman Garvey & Martin Darrer's Projection 35 "True Penance"

Published in Royal Cork YC

Ross O'Leary marked his return to Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) racing last night with a light air win in the PY/Laser class. The Dun Laoghaire based yacht broker has missed part of the dinghy season due to an ankle injury. Second home was Gary O'Hare. Full results for both DBSC Dinghy and Cruiser fleets are below:

DUBLIN PORT Dublin Bay Sailing Club Results for 23 AUGUST 2011

BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Magic (D.O'Sullivan/D.Espey)

BENETEAU 31.7 - 1. Magic (D.O'Sullivan/D.Espey)

CRUISERS 2 - 1. Red Rhum (J Nicholson), 2. Free Spirit (John O'Reilly)

CRUISERS 3 - 1. Asterix (Counihan/Meredith/Bushell), 2. Upd8 (Whelan/McCabe/Carey)

Ensign - 1. NYC 2 (Helen Cooney)

FIREBALL - 1. Goodness Gracious (Louise McKenna), 2. Blind Squirrel (Frank Miller), 3. No Name (B McGuire)

IDRA 14 FOOT - 1. Dart (Pierre Long), 2. Doody (J.Fitzgerald/J.Byrne), 3. Dunmoanin (Frank Hamilton)

MERMAID - 1. Tiller Girl (J.O'Rourke), 2. Jill (P.Smith/P.Mangan), 3. Kim (D Cassidy)

PY CLASS - 1. Ross O'Leary (Laser), 2. Gary O'Hare (Laser), 3. P Keane (Laser 1)

Published in DBSC

In an impressive show of speed and strength that may yet produce one of the top Irish Olympic campaign performances of all time, Peter O'Leary and David Burrows notched up two more top six results in the Star Class yesterday to be second overall - by a margin of 11 points - at the Weymouth Pre-Olympic regatta.

The Stars, who were abandoned on Wednesday, continued with Race 7 and 8 yesterday. Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) continue to lead on 12 points. The day's race wins went to Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in Race 7 and Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria in Race 8.

O'Leary and Burrows have a very solid score line of  6 5 4 4 1 3 2 6 to give them 25 nett points in their 21-boat fleet  Third is current Olympic gold medallists Percy and Simpson on 36 points.

The Stars have a further two scheduled races today before tomorrow's medal race.

Only two races were possible in the 49er class  After 13 races Iker Martinez and Xabier Hernandez (ESP) lead Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen by a single point. In Race 12 the Australians finished a second ahead of the Spaniards to take the bullet but both teams finished out of the top three in Race 13 as Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) took the bullet and sit in third place on 48 points trailing the Spaniards by six.

Ireland's Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton are 14th. Listen to the video interview here.

No racing was possible in the Finn class and they will race today as will the 49er and Star fleets.

The Laser, Laser Radial and Men's and Women's 470 will take place today with the first race scheduled to start at 12:00 local time.

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under

Royal Cork's Antix skippered by Anthony O'Leary has finished as runner up in the IRC 1 division at a heavy weather staging of the British IRC Championships this afternoon.

With eight bullets in eight races, Peter Rutter and the crew of the Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, comfortably secured the 2011 IRC National Championship title as well as victory within IRC 2.

"I am incredibly proud - my crew have really worked their hearts off," said Rutter. "I have never been able to win this regatta before and I said to them 'we have to nail it this time' and they have worked their cotton socks off. So I am very very pleased and it is nice to have got this one finally put away. The boat is going well, the sails are good and the crew work has been stunning."

Matters were made no easier for the crew after Quokka 8's skipper unwisely chose light and moderate weather kites for this regatta, which has typically seen the wind rarely drop below 20 knots. Rutter paid his respects to the RORC race committee for laying on a good series, also admitted that being one of the fastest boats in Class 2 also helped. "It was the place to be, in winds of this strength - it helped you get clear wind. But keeping the boat under the rig was the important thing in this regatta!"

One of the favourites in IRC1, Jonathan Goring's new Ker 40, Keronimo, put this to the test today when on the final run of the second and final race, she was nailed by a squall, causing her to re-enact the famous pitchpole of Silk II (as captured on camera by Beken of Cowes). Tactician Simon Shaw recounted what occurred: "A big black cloud was chasing us down the run and we'd just changed on to the no4 and gybed to come into the mark when the front of the gust hit and the wind went from 26 to pretty much 40 knots...

"The boat instantly jumped into the wave we were following. The rudder was fully out of the water. It was a bit like watching one of those Extreme 40 capsizes - you are on top of the world looking down at the boat, holding on to the runners with your legs dangling down into the cockpit going 'hang on I thought this only happened on catamarans!'"

Keronimo teetered in her pitchpoled position for what seemed like 10 seconds, her bow buried so deeply into the water that the instrument displays on her mast were submerged, until eventually the fitting at the end of her bowsprit exploded and the chute roared aft destroying all the stanchions along her starboard side. "We lost one guy off each side and one off the bow," continued Shaw. "So we scooped everyone back in, wrestled the chute down over the back, pulled the jib up, bore away and carried on with the race." Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident.

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Royal Cork's Antix finished second in Cowes this afternoon. Photo: Paul Wyeth

Victory in the hard fought IRC 1 was deservedly scooped up by the winner of both today's two races, Piet Vroon's Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3, also winner of the Jackdaw Trophy for coming second overall under IRC. Anthony O'Leary's Antix finished just a point adrift in second in IRC 1, ahead of third placed Keronimo.

Another equally unusual incident occurred prior to the start of today's first race on board Peter Morton's MAT 1010, one of the contenders in IRC 3, when her port cabintop window imploded. The exact reasons for this remain a mystery. but Morton believes the window was weakened by a barber hauler block repeatedly rapping against it and broken terminally when the weight of one of the crew was applied to it. In the brisk conditions they were forced to retire.

In IRC3 today's winner, claiming both races, was Michael Brough's Bavaria Match 38 Steady Barker, but even this fine show left them three points adrift of Mike Bridges' Elan 37, Elaine, the class victor.

Brough, who has been toughing it out since he twisted his knee during racing yesterday, says Steady Barker enjoys light or heavy airs and in this regatta they have seen more than their fair share of the latter.

Their racing today was also not without incident. "Before the start of the second race our mainsail ripped luff to leech," said Brough. "We just got it down, put some duck tape over it and it managed to make it all the way." Fortunately when the squall hit on the last race they were sailing upwind and the most they saw was 32 knots. Even so they decided to play it safe on the final run and chose not to hoist the kite. "We thought we'd see if anyone blinked before we put the kite up," admitted Brough. "Fatjax tried it and went over on her side. Even so we were doing 10.5-11 knots without the kite."

IRC 4 saw Adam Gosling's Corby 30 Yes! claim two bullets to win their class overall, albeit just three points ahead of Michael Kershaw's Half Tonner, Chimp.

Generally of this RORC IRC Nationals Brough observed: "The races have been great. Everyone is absolutely shattered on the boat, including the bowman. It has been hard racing and I'm glad RORC stuck with it rather than just canning it."

Published in RORC

Afloat opinion: The recent results in World Cup sailing regattas will give rise to considerable optimism in Irish sailing circles that David Wilkins and Jamie Wilkinson's successful performance in the boycott affected 1980 Olympics may be repeated. There have been pretenders to the throne in intervening years – O'Hara, both Lyttles, Mansfield and Burrows are among the names that have quickened the pulses only to be found wanting in the pressure cooker that is the Olympic regatta.

In the previous era there was talk of saving performances for key events – peaking so to say. Nowadays the leading sailors bring their "A" game to every regatta and the consistent nature of the performances being recorded by Annalise Murphy and Peter O'Leary, notwithstanding the changes of crew in the Star class, suggests that this summit has been reached.

olearystar

Peter O'Leary (left) wins Gold in 2010. Photo: OnEdition

annalisemedal

Annalise Murphy (right) wins bronze in 2011. Photo: OnEdition

Murphy's progression in the last few years has been extremely impressive. An eighth place at the Laser Radial Worlds in 2009 preceded a successful period on the Australian circuit with a subsequent progression into the world's top ten. In her last two world cup regattas she has finished fifteen times in the top ten and has won ten races. Her win rate at the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta on the Olympic course was matched only by Ben Ainslie. Inconsistency prevented her from taking first place in both events.

The Star class is studded with achievers, and the top of the fleet is currently littered with Olympic Medallists and World Champions in a number of classes. That the Irish team can compete at this level is beyond doubt, winning at Skandia Sail for Gold last year and finishing 2nd by one point at the Bacardi Cup.

That all three athletes are outstanding sailors may have something to do with their sailing steeped DNA. Additionally, the Star pairing have Olympic experience, although not together. While it may be paradoxical to suggest that in certain circumstances such background and experience might not be 100% positive, the sailing team management will need to set out their stall in an early and positive plan which has buy in from all the connections, clearly defining roles and responsibilities.

The plan must also identify the work necessary to eliminate the inconsistencies that have prevented regular and frequent podium performances. Whether it is course management, tactical decision-making or boat speed (not a problem in certain conditions), it is not a time to be faint hearted in regard to ensuring that the best possible specialist coaches are employed to work on these areas. The ISA management team will need to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, using all the resources available, particularly those provided through the Institute of Sport, so that two medals can be a realistic achievement in Weymouth. Peter, David and Annalise deserve no less.

Comment on this article by writing to us HERE.

Olympic Sailing coverage HERE.

Published in Water Rat
Relief may be promised tomorrow, Monday, when the strong winds which have prevailed on Loch Fyne through most of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series are expected to drop. But with gusts to over 45knots and testing conditions once more it was the crews who managed to minimise the mistakes, keeping their masts closest to vertical for longest, who made the best results today.

In the strong conditions on Loch Fyne from early morning, prudence prevailed in many classes where a large number of crews decided to forego racing today, while for others finishing in itself became a problem.

Among the damage the X332 Equinox lost its mast whilst on the way out to the start line, while owner-skipper Charles Frize was thrown into the water from his Class 1 Mills 36 Prime Suspect when it was knocked flat by a huge gust whilst under spinnaker. He was picked out of the water by another competing yacht unharmed but decidedly chilly.

"I don't really know what happened but the bow of the boat dug in all the way to the mast and we seemed to trip over. I went out one side of the boat and came up on the other so I think it more or less went over me," recalled Frize. Prime Suspect was one of three boats which did not finish in the 10 boat class.

As the regatta moved into its penultimate day of racing there is now no boat in any of the classes still bearing a full hand of aces. Having won their first two races in CYCA Class 6, going into yesterday's 16 miles windward-leeward round the buoys race in the north of Loch Fyne, Alan Dunnet and crew on their Gourock based Swan 36 Valhalla of Ashton had to settle for a second place. After just over two hours and 10 minutes of racing and winds between 25kt and 44 kts only nine seconds separated the top three boats with Cara of Kip, Graham Goudie's powerful Moody 336, triumphed with Valhalla of Ashton.

"I don't think we really did anything wrong so it is difficult to know where we lost out, but it was certainly an exciting day," commented Dunnet.

The IRC Handicap classes, which were limited to one short race, saw a wrong spinnaker selection and some ill-timed luck let the south coast of England based Mills' designed King 40 footer Tokoloshe get the better of double Scottish Series Trophy winner Anthony O'Leary and his crew on Antix.

"We got to the windward mark and set an asymmetric kite and the next five minutes were the lightest of the day and we were going nowhere fast," recalled O'Leary later. The win for Michael Bartholomew's King 40 today eases them one point clear of the Cork crew on Antix. Three times Scottish Series Trophy winner Jonathan Anderson on Playing FTSE is top Scots skipper but suffered today when a their headsail halyard failed and the sail came tumbling to the deck.

In IRC Class 3 Steve Goacher, another past Scottish Series winner, is closing on the current top trophy holding crew of Salamander XX. John Corson's crew on Salamander XX lost control a couple of times on the downwinds and finished seventh today, while Goacher, steering Keith Lord's A35 Acrewed Interest finished fifth and now lies only two points behind Salamander XX on the overall standings.

And in IRC Class 4 it was the Forth based crew on Hops, the evergreen Davidson 36 IOR design which won ahead of Jackaroo, Hamish MacKay and crew on the class leading J97.

But with a second place today, now counting two first places and two second places, Jackaroo already leads their 14 boat division by nine clear points.

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