With about 100–boats entered for the first races of O'Leary Life & Pensions Sovereigns Cup this afternoon, there are plenty of good boats capable of winning in each class in Kinsale's biennial Grand Prix Regatta.
Sticking its neck out, here are Afloat's class predictions for overall wins by Saturday.
Class 0 Only 4 boats in this class. Johnny Mordaunt's Mat design from the Solent has chosen to miss the UK IRC Nationals starting today and instead compete in Kinsale. He should be favourite but expect to see ICRA Class Zero Champion Dark Angel from Swansea also in the mix.
Class One 10 J109's are entered including Joker II, recently crowned ICRA champion for the third successive year. However with Joker's normal tactician Mark Mansfield not sailing on her this week, some might expect to see Pat Kelly's Scottish Series Champion Storm from Rush Sailing Club right up there, particularly in the windier conditions. Rob McConnell's Fools Gold will also be in contention as will Tim Goodbody's White Mischief. In a likely mixed wind regatta, we will put our money on Fools Gold by a hair.
Class Two includes a very broad range of boats including 5 half tonners working up towards the half ton worlds in August. It includes Nigel Biggs newly renovated Checkmate XVIII. In the lighter early week conditions the half tonners should have the edge and Mike and Richard Evans Big Picture, with Mark Mansfield as tactician should find the conditions to their liking but Harmony owned by Johnny Swann and Dave Cullen's Checkmate will have something to say about this. In heavier conditions, later in the week, Ross McDonald's Equinox should be to the fore. Overall, in the likely two days of lighter winds and two windier days, expect one of the half tonners to shade it and watch out for the newly launched Checkmate XVIII. He rarely finishes far down the pecking order.
Class Three Not a large class and expect one of the X302s to take this, likely Dux from Howth Yacht Club.
Class Four Will likely go to a quarter Tonner with three entered including Anchor Challenge recently crowned ICRA class 3 champion. In this event she is being sailed by Dave Dwyer and not her normal crew but she will be potent in lighter airs. Ken Lawless in Cartoon from Dublin Bay Sailing Club may just shade it however in mixed conditions.
1720 class –12 entered. This is the class European Championships. Expect an O'Leary (either Anthony or Peter) to take this. Peter is likely to have the edge in the lighter early week conditions and Anthony in the windier stuff. Expect Peter to hold out and take it by a slim margin.
See Day One Photo Gallery here