The halfway stage of the O’Leary Life Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club was marked by perfect sailing conditions today with the 98-strong fleet revelling in the steadily building breeze that topped out with 25 knot gusts and brilliant sunshine throughout the day.
Most divisions now feature a short-list of contenders for class wins though few can match the consistency of Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club for delivery a fourth straight win in Division 1.
However, with half the regatta at stake including a forecast strong-wind day tomorrow (Friday), much remains to play for especially by David Kelly’s Storm from Howth, the consistent runner-up in the class and lags by just four points.
“The key to the day was doing everything in plenty of time - and staying upright...” remarked Tim Goodbody, skipper of J109 White Mischief that is currently sixth overall in the 18-strong Division 1 fleet.
Kinsale’s own Conor Doyle on Freya has also delivered a straight run of first places albeit with just two races sailed in the much longer courses of the Coastal Division. Yesterday featured a 32-mile, 4.5 hour race that included a leg around the scenic Old Head of Kinsale into Courtmacsherry Bay and back.
Closer to Kinsale, the bulk of the regatta fleet sailed a mixture of Windward-Leeward and Round the Cans style courses with relatively flat seas thanks to the shelter of the Old Head peninsula. Nevertheless, there were widespread broaches and busted sails in the gusts.
“We had exciting racing and plenty of drama plus a few cuts and bruises, especially in the second race after one of the sheets got fouled in the steering gear... fun was had by all!” said Brian McCarthy, skipper of Baccarat that leads White Sails Division 1 on Progressive ECHO handicap.
In Division 4, Sinead Enright’s J24 YaGottaWanna from the Royal Cork YC managed to overcome a few “moments” that were plentiful in the class during the day to score a win and second place to take the lead in the class and holds a seven-point overall lead.
Meanwhile, in the continuing family battle for the lead in the 1720 European Championship, first placed Anthony O’Leary saw his lead stripped back to one point after a three-race day in which his Olympian son Peter narrowly miss drawing level for the lead. With half the series left to sail, the match could end either way as the breezy conditions are proving challenging for many of the other boats in the ten-strong fleet.