Howth Yacht Club's J109 Storm skippered by Pat Kelly has won the inaugural Celtic Cup in Wales after her overall win at the Welsh Championships. In a season-long achievement, the Kelly family lifted the inaugural Celtic Cup with wins at Pwllheli Wales, the Scottish Series at Tarbert back in May, a second at the Bangor Town regatta, and first at Kip Regatta.
The weather forecast for the Spinlock IRC Welsh Championships indicated it was going to be heavy weather on at least one of the three days.
Friday started with a lumpy 18-24 kts from the south-west and race officer Mike Butterfield was keen to get all three races in as quickly as possible in the tricky conditions.
The building wind saw some challenging sailing and some spectacular broaches by Liverpool based Prima38 “Max Too” who opted for white sails during the first race.
As the fleet settled more kites went up and there were plenty more broaches as a result, with few boats hoisting spinnakers in the last race with gusts of 29kts seen on “Sgrech”
Rush/Howth based J109 “Storm” battling against “Triple Elf” for the Celtic cup, struggled during the first race to come in 6th and top spots were taken by local boat and RC35 class member “Imposter”, Scottish RC35 class boat “Triple elf” and Pwllheli based J125 “Jackknife”
"The crew Storm settled into the racing and regained their form & they took the next two races with convincing firsts"
However as “Storm” settled into the racing and regained their form, they took the next two races with convincing firsts but with a consistent performance by First 35 “Triple Elf” who lead the series after day one.
In IRC2 just two races were completed in the difficult conditions, with Impala National champion “Checkmate” taking two fine wins, from Paraiba in race 1 and West Lancashire based “HRT” in race 2, a very impressive performance by them. Cork 1720 Luvly Jubbly took two wins in IRC3, after “Mayhem” blew its jib out. Today’s Cruiser race was won by the single-handed “Theia” racing an offshore race to Eurwyn Buoy and back, with all 5 Cruisers completing this race in very demanding conditions, with big seas and wind over tide out at Eurwyn.
Daily Prizegiving with free Jugs of beer and a prize draw sponsored by Partington Marine followed racing, with a BBQ at Plas Heli
Saturday's forecasts was for 15-20 kts and with much heavier winds forecast for Sunday there was talk of trying to fit in extra racing, but the fleet were quickly met with 21 kts as soon as they left the channel and it soon build to 25-28 kts.
The sustained wind and building chop proved challenging for the fleet with “Valkyrie” losing their pulpit, Dun Laoghaire based ISORA boat “Yoyo” with an injury onboard and “Storm” breaking their spinnaker pole - but despite their difficulties, “Storm” took all three races in IRC 1 to lead the series, with “Checkmate” again taking two wins in IRC 2. 1720 “Mayhem” took both wins in IRC 3 and Darling XX IRC 4 Cruiser Class
Competitors were greeted by the Jac Dobson a’r band playing in Plas Heli after racing, with impressive dancing by the “Max Too” team! with today’s prizing draw and jugs of beers sponsored by Firmhelm. This was followed by a crew dinner, in Plas Heli’s Gorwel restaurant.
Sunday soon found the overnight gale “Ernesto” subside and winds soon dropped off to 17kts for the start of racing, further dropping to 6-8kts by the end of the last race. With the chop left from the previous night's winds, the fleet experienced equally challenging conditions.
In IRC 1 “Storm” one of three highly competitive RC35 class racing in the event managed another convincing day with two firsts and a third to win the overall class 1, and take the inaugural Celtic Cup with wins here at Pwllheli Wales, the Scottish Series at Tarbert back in May, a second at the Bangor town regatta, and first at the Kip Regatta. IRC2 was won by Impala 28 “Checkmate”, IRC3 class was by Cork 1720 “Mayhem” and IRC 4 Cruisers by DarlingXX
A great three-day championship, with race management by Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club and Royal Dee Yacht Club, and social events by Plas Heli, who thank all helpers and competitors, with a special mention to the RC35 class, and all Irish and Liverpool boats for making the journey to Pwllheli.