As Afloat previously reported Irish boats are expected to perform well in this weekend's Scottish Series on Loch Fyne. Now armed with a decidedly mixed weather forecast, Afloat takes another a closer look at the runners and riders and predicts some winners
Class 0 - El Gran Señor to Nick it?
Spirit of Jacana from Northern Ireland took a good win last year from Courier Recommende with Royal Cork yacht Jump Juice Third. This year Courier or Jump are not there so Spirit of Jacana will have to battle against Aurora and El Gran Señor from Last year plus Forty Licks from County Down. Forty Licks will be consistent as will El Gran Señor. If the breeze is up, Spirit of Jacana will romp around the course and be very likely to win, but you can expect John Anderson on El Gran Señor to nick it if conditions are otherwise. He has shown some great pace in his J122e last year at Cork Week and he knows the Lough well. Numbers are down from 9 to 6 in this class, this year.
RC 35 Class - Animal is the One to Watch
Likely the strongest fleet again this year. Pat Kelly's Storm took the Class and overall Scottish Series trophy last year for winning this class, but it went right down to the last race with Something else from DL, who pushed them very hard.
Something else is back, from Dun Laoghaire, along with Andrew Craig's Chimera (with pro-Maurice O'Connell from North Sails aboard), both J109s. Expect it not to be an all J109 affair though. Animal, the Beneteau 36.7 took the Honours a fortnight ago in the Kip Regatta from Storm and she is a potent performer, especially in light winds.
There are a number of other competitive entries in this 14 boat fleet, all very much around the same rating, including Stuart Cranston's Ker 32 Highjacker from Strangford Lough, with pro-Mark Mansfield from UK Sailmakers, calling tactics. This boat previously competed for Ireland in the 2006 Commodores Cup, under the name Checkmate, She is a sistership on the Ker 32 Voodoo Chile. She will favour the stronger conditions but is also expected to hang on in the lighter breeze. This will be a tightly contested fleet, with any one of the above boats likely taking the spoils, but Animal is likely the one to watch with her 2019 win at Kip regatta already under her belt.
IRC Class 3 - 'F'n Gr8', Mata or Harmony?
14 entries also in this one with likely 4 or 5 potential winners. Last year's Cork Week overall winner, Rory Fekkes highly modified First Class 8 From Carrickfergus, F'n Gr8, will be in the running, along with a similar sized Quarter Tonner, Phoenix, and if conditions are light, these two will be potent. However, in mixed conditions, the two half tonners, Mata from D and M Wright from Howth Yacht Club and Jonny Swan's Harmony will likely be the ones to beat. Mata is newly acquired by the Wrights and the core crew comes from top ex under–25 sailors from Howth. Expect them to give Harmony a good run for their money. Both the HYC Half tonners will sail with pros from North Sails Ireland, more here.
Racing starts tomorrow (Friday) and runs through to Monday.