Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club won both races of the first day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup in Division One, the largest fleet in the event with 18 entries, a result only matched elsewhere in the 98–boat fleet in the White Sails Division 2 fleet where Stephanie Ennis’ Club Shamrock Demelza also had two wins.
At the Kinsale Yacht Club venue, fog gave way to light winds, broken sunshine and flat seas to allow for a full programme of yesterday's opening day races to be sailed on four course areas. At stake is the Sovereigns Cup for the best performing boat on IRC handicap alongside the Portcullis Trophy for the best boat on Progressive ECHO handicap.
At this early stage, few of the nine divisions racing have clear leaders and with the prospect of fresh to strong winds for the next two days, a full test in all conditions is likely to bring the final results down to the wire for Saturday’s finale. Afloat.ie has stuck its neck out and offered its predictions on the overall results here.
In Division 2, the second largest fleet on the course, the top three boats are within one point of each other while the chasing pack aren’t lagging too far behind either. Kieran Collins’ Coracle IV leads after winning the opening race before placing fifth in the second and lies level with Howth’s Richard Evans on The Big Picture.
“It’s a very competitive class, especially with six or seven half-tonners,” said Finbarr O’Regan, skipper of Artful Dodger of Kinsale YC. “There isn’t a bad boat in the class and it’s definitely going to a high-scoring event - a lot of people have had a good and a bad race.”
Although George Sisk’s Wow! from the Royal Irish Yacht Club led the Coastal Class fleet from the start, the Dun Laoghaire crew was unable to shake off the chasing pack and a finishing-line error ensured that Conor Doyle’s Freya took the first result of the series.
The opening day was shorter than the remainder of the series and the coastal course was more of an extended round the cans style race but with the full schedule planned for Thursday, a much longer course can be expected – dependent on weather.
In the 1720 Sportsboat European Championships that is being sailed as part of the main regatta, a luffing match between father and son in race one saw Olympic sailor Peter O’Leary defeat his father Anthony to take first place. However, O’Leary senior was the more consistent over the three races and is the clear overnight leader.
In turn, the younger O’Leary holds second overall but only on tie-break from Tom Durcan’s T-Bone on level points. Ben Cooke’s Smile n ‘Wave doing well in the final race until they were inadvertently sailed off the course by another boat struggling to drop their kite and slipped down the rankings. Like Peter O’Leary, Cooke is counting a ninth place so far.