GAS Calves Week 2016 started today with a final fleet of 73 cruisers in 6 fleets presenting for the racing arranged once again by Principal Race Officer Neil Prendiville and team. With an increased UK presence and new boats travelling from harbours around the Irish coast, the four–day Regatta, already an established event on many cruisers' annual calendar, has extended its reach.
After the heavy rain of the previous day, the conditions and visibility had improved considerably. Despite this, a number of the lead boats had to rely on GPS to locate the pre-positioned windward mark to the south of Long Island in the middle of Roaringwater Bay. The fleets started outside Copper Point and sent on a long windward beat and then around the Calf Islands once, twice or three times. Given the light wind conditions, varying between 6 and 14 knots, and between W and WNW as the race proceeded, a heavy swell and the flooding tide, tactical positioning counted heavily for those in a position to feature in the places. Honours were spread fairly evenly between clubs sending representatives.
Paul O'Higgins (RIYC) in his new JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI secured honours in both Class 0/1 IRC and ECHO in these difficult conditions, ahead of two Royal Cork boats, True Penance (Darrer/Garvey) in IRC and Altair (Dorgan/Losty) in ECHO. RCYC however swept honours in Class 2, with J80 Rioja (Baxter/Dillon) winning ECHO honours ahead of Galway Bay's Rob Allen on Smile, but losing out to fellow Crosshaven skipper Frank Desmond on his Sunfast 32, Bad Company.
RCYC also took IRC honours in Class 3 with the Lane/Enright partnership on J24 YouGottaWanna, edging out Tralee Bay's Boojum, the Sigma 33 of David Buckley. Local boats featured in the ECHO contest, with the Quinlan consortium on Quinsea (SHSC) winning the honours ahead of John Molloy's Holland 25, Manzanita. In Class 4 IRC, local boat, Sadler 32 Raffles (Tom Kirby/Sean Norris) was ahead of Kinsale Yacht Club Saoirse with Richard Hanley. In ECHO, however, Kirby and Norris had to settle for second place behind local rivals, O Buckley on Tete a Tete (SHSC).
In the hotly contested Whitesail categories, the conditions suited Bob Rendell's XC45 Samatom (HYC) ahead of Sean O'Riordan's YDream (KYC) in IRC. Brian Heffernan on Aisling (RCYC) took ECHO honours ahead of Dublin based Philip Smith on Just Jasmine (RIYC). In Whitesail 2, which is ECHO only, Kinsale Yacht Club shared the honours with Stephen Lysaght's Reavra ahead of John O'Regan on Main 4.