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Man Overboard Costs Cri Cri Shot at Welsh IRC Title

6th August 2014
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Man Overboard Costs Cri Cri Shot at Welsh IRC Title

#welshIRC – Did you know there was a catchy named 'RORC North Western IRC Regional Championships' submerged beneath 'Abersoch Keelboat Week'? As one Irish interloper explained it's been some years since a week swinging on a mooring was de rigueur and Keelboat Week attracted much beyond local interest. Down the road at Pwllheli they have a well serviced marina, a national events centre with grand plans for expansion and a Celtic Regatta that has also recently become of little more than local interest.

Put the cruiser/racer event and the cruiser/racer friendly venue together and north Wales finally has the beginnings of a big boat event worth travelling for. For 2014 the rebadged Spinlock Welsh IRC Championships, with the support of ISORA and ICRA, drew interest from the north west of England, Scotland and Dublin and a competitive 40 boat fleet.

If competing interests can be navigated and a stable date found in the Celtic sailing calendar, add a patch of water whose simple (although not quite as minimal as the locals would like you to believe) tide and wind patterns offer a different challenge to anything found in the major sailing centres of Ireland or west of Scotland and the south coast of the Llyn peninsular may have the ingredients for a top class championships.

Confounding the measly forecast 2 races where sailed in 18 – 22 knots on the Friday. Royal Irish quarter tonner Cri Cri, skippered by Paul Colton, made a commanding start with a first in both races in Class 1, while the Sigma 33 Legless Again took 2nd and 3rd to take 2nd spot at the end of day 1. In Class 0, it was evident that Corby 36 Stratisfear, Corby 33 Imposter and Roxstar were serious contenders for the top spot with the Stratisfear taking a 2nd and 1st, Imposter taking 1st and 3rd and Roxstar 3rd and 2nd.

Overnight the fleet made welcome use of the brand new visitor and events pontoons at Pwllheli. These pontoons are part of the £8.3m investment from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council in the new Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre that will open its doors in 2015. 2 cranes are to be added by the time next years event gets under way making attending the event even easier.

After a further 4 races on Saturday Stratisfear's consistent performance put them firmly in the lead adding a 3rd and another first to two wins from the morning. Roxstar followed close on their heels.

In class 1 Molissa and She Too all ended the day in contention. Eazi Tiger's consistent performance had them in 3rd place overall, a broken life line in race 3 slipped CriCri, into 2nd place and, after some highly consistent sailing, the J97 Injenious moored for the day in first place overall.

With winds over 30 knots on Sunday racing for class 1 was abandoned. In class 0 local J109s Mojito and Sgrech got the best starts on the 24nm course and were off across the bay towards the St. Tudwal islands before some others had started as some were struggling to get sails up in the conditions.

Round the islands and through some challenging seas, Imposter took the lead and line honours with Mojito 2nd and Gringo (National Yacht Club skippered by Tony Fox) third on the water.

Published in ICRA
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