The sun shone down on Villierstown Boating Club on September 6th for the inaugural VB250 pursuit race for 25 dinghy sailing crews sponsored by Union Chandlery. Competitors arrived from the local club, Youghal SC, Dungarvan Harbour SC and Greystones SC in wicklow. The fleet prepared for challenging light winds and the ebb and flow of the picturesque river Blackwater. The race got underway promptly at 12pm with the Topaz UNOs setting the pace. Hot on their transoms came the Topaz DUOs, a Gaff rigged Sailing Cob, the beautiful Dublin Bay Mermaid Akita, GP14s, Wayfarer's and the Laser 16 of Gareth Higgins. By 12:25pm the entire fleet was underway and the chase had begun.
Half an hour of racing passed before two of the GP14s crewed by Adrian Lee and Ed Coyne and Jordan Lupton and Norman Lee managed to battle through the fleet and overhaul the Topaz UNO of Barry Morrissey to take the race lead close to the first mark near to Dromana House. These two highly experienced GP14 crews, who have honed their skills at national and international events, gradually pulled out an unassailable lead. The only question for the crowds on Villierstown quay: Who will win? Never more than 3 boat lengths separated the two GP14s and the lead changed many times. It was nail-biting stuff!
The racing amongst the rest of the competitors remained tight too. The boats and crews were well matched and the concentration to eek out every knot of speed to get the edge was intense. For most at least! It was noted by the race committee that a number of competitors decided to focus on family fun and picnics were concealed on-board several boats, which were enjoyed as the fleet glided to the mark off Strancally Castle.
After 3 hours of great racing and family entertainment, the finishing line was laid and the race positions determined. After a great battle between the GP14s a dramatic moment right on the finishing line nearly cost Adrian Lee the race. However, some fine sportsman ship from Jordan Lupton and Norman Lee enabled Adrian Lee and Ed Coyne to secure 1st place and become the first winners of the first VB250 pursuit race.
To round off a fabulous day VBC laid on a BBQ for all the competitors and families. Then prizes, kindly sponsored by Union Chandlery, were awarded by the Union Chandlery supremo, Peter Burke, also a competitor in the race. Awards were:
1st Adrian Lee & Ed Coyne - GP14
2nd Jordan Lupton & Norman Lee - GP14
3rd Barry Morrissey - Topaz UNO
4th Alex Ballot - Sailing Cob
5th Eugene Burke, Eoghan Burke, Shane Buckley - Dublin Bay Mermaid
1st Helm U18 - Jordan Lupton
1st Lady - Ella Crowe
Best family effort - Maisie and Pippa Burke
Best Juniors - Aidan and Eabha Higgins
Fastest Rigging - Tiernan Beresford"