The standout performance of the 2017 O'Leary Life Sovereign’s Cup was Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold, with a string of six bullets in a Class 1 IRC fleet jam-packed with top-notch racers and no less than eleven J109s writes Peadar Murphy.
Scroll down for our prizegiving photos by Bob Bateman below. See Afloat's 2017 Sovereign's Cup coverage here including race reports, photo galleries and pre-regatta preodictions.
This year’s winner of the coveted Sovereign’s Cup belied the quality and competitiveness of her opposition with flawless execution allowing Fool’s Gold the luxury of discarding a first place! Pat Kelly’s Storm, triumphant in Scotland just a month ago could do no better than a string of second place finishes against the Dunmore East-based Archambault 35, and even John Maybury’s Joker II, so often a race and regatta winner, never scored better than a third place to finish up in third place overall in Class 1 IRC. Such was the awesome consistency of Fool’s Gold and Storm, they repeated their first and second places in ECHO, with Lauren Heskin and Jim Grealish’s NowWhat coming in third overall in Class 1 ECHO.
Tony Ackland’s Dark Angel claimed two bullets on the final day to come home ahead of Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice and Johnny Mordaunt’s eye-catching Tshcuss in Class 0 IRC. In Class 0 ECHO, Robert Douglas on Spirit of Jacana was the meat in the Dark Angel and Jump Juice sandwich for podium places with two bullets on the final day helping Mordaunt’s cause no end. There was some consolation for the Jump Juice team when they were awarded the Michelle Dunne Prix d’Elegance for being the most elegant boat at this year’s regatta.
Local boat Artful Dodger, skippered by former Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Finbarr O’Regan claimed overall victory in Class 2 IRC by the tightest of margins, squeezing out Kieran Collins’ Coracle VI by just 0.5 points after six races. 2015 Sovereign’s Cup winner Equinox, skippered by Ross McDonald, mounted a worthy defence of her crown and clinched third place overall by just 0.5 points also, in a fleet where every 0.5 points was significant. In Class 2 ECHO, Coracle VI claimed top honours, and the Portcullis Trophy for the best performing boat in ECHO, with Jim Cartwright’s Daydream Believer claiming second spot for the Liverpudlian team on tied points with Artful Dodger - getting her bow in front on count back.
Howth Yacht Club dominated in Class 3, where Paddy Kyne’s Maximus brought her 2015 form back to this year’s regatta finishing top of IRC on just seven points from five scoring races, after discarding a third place. Maximus was in good company, with the evergreen Dux, long campaigned by perennial visitor to Sovereign’s Cup, Anthony Gore-Grimes, in second place with Royal Cork’s Bad Company (Desmond, Ivers and Deasy) claiming third overall in IRC. In ECHO, Howth Yacht Club and X-302s claimed a 1-2-3 with Maximus, Dux and Eddie Bourke’s Xebec claiming the podium places in a very tight class, with Bad Company unfortunate to miss out on third place on count back.
Class 4 proved to be the most open class with five different boats claiming the six available podium positions in IRC and ECHO. Sybil McCormack & Ken Lawless’ Cartoon was the only boat to feature in ECHO and IRC, winning the ECHO division and coming third in IRC. Only eight points separated the top six boats in ECHO, with David Delahunty’s Fulmar Fever and Jim Monaghan’s Enigma finishing up in second and third place overall. In IRC, Sinéad Enright’s J24 YaGottaWanna claimed top honours for Royal Cork Yacht Club while James and David Dwyer’s Anchor Challenge claimed second place.
Howth Yacht Club’s Colm Bermingham on Bite the Bullet claimed top spot overall in White Sails 1 IRC in a tight tussle with Denis Murphy’s Nieulargo and the McCarthy Brothers’ Baccarat coming home in second and third respectively. In ECHO, Nieulargo claimed top spot for Royal Cork, with Shane Statham’s Slack Alice, often a competitor in the spinnaker fleets in previous events, taking second place, with the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club visitor forcing Baccarat to third spot.
Stephanie Ennis and Windsor Lauden’s Demelza was the runaway winner of White Sails 2 IRC, with a string of bullets for the Club Shamrock. Samuel Cohen’s Gunsmoke II from Kinsale claimed two second places on the final day to hold off Royal Cork’s Tom McCarthy’s Whistlin’ Dixie for second place with two points separating them in the end. In ECHO, Dermot Lanigan’s Privateer came out top for KYC, with Demelza shading second place from Tom O’Mahony’s Loch Gréine on count back. An outstanding week for Demelza was capped with the Howth team being judged the inaugural winner of the O’Leary Life Family Boat prize.
In the Coastal Class, the blown out day on Friday meant that there were no discards and after the three races, the overall podium positions in IRC and ECHO were identical. Conor Doyle’s Freya, fresh from a broken boom in KYC’s Spring Series, claimed top spot, despite not matching her race winning exploits of Wednesday and Thursday. The Coastal Class was locked out by Kinsale Yacht Club boats with the Carroll Brothers’ Chancer second overall, with John Godkin’s Godot finishing the event in third place.
In the 1720 European Championships, run as part of the O’Leary Life Sovereign’s Cup this year, Anthony O’Leary’s Antix was crowned 2017 Champion despite a heavy collision in pre-start manoeuvres for the final race. The level of competition in this fleet was underlined by the fact that there were seven different winning boats in just nine races! Antix was the only boat to win more than one race, and that consistency ensured overall victory from son and former Olympian Peter’s Dutch Gold, with Tom Durcan’s T-Bone putting in a final day rally to claim third overall.
2017 Sovereign's Cup Prizegiving
Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Tom Roche, Cork County Council’s Kevin Murphy, Brian Goggin of sponsors O’Leary Life and Mike Walsh, Sovereign’s Cup Regatta director, presented the prizes for this year’s Cup at a packed Kinsale Yacht Club
Photos by Bob Bateman