There is a new half-ton leader in division two of the ICRA national championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club as overnight leader Johnny Swan's Harmony from Howth Yacht Club drops to fourth overall but optimised Irish Half Tonners continue to dominate proceedings on Dublin Bay and occupy the top six places overall.
The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Nigel Biggs, who is based in North Wales, is now four points ahead in Checkmate XVIII.
As regular Afloat readers will know, Biggs has been working up this latest Checkmate over the last two seasons. The boat is the old Emiliano Zapata, ex Dick Dastardly, ex French Beret, ex Concorde from 1985. As with his previous two successful half–tonners (Harmony and Checkmate XV) she has been 'breathed on' by Wicklow yacht designer Mark Mills with a revised sailplan and keel.
The brand new Howth Yacht Club Half-Ton campaign of the Wright Brothers is second overall and Royal Cork visitor Miss Whiplash skippered by John Downing lies third.
"It's an exceptional event with very close racing, just seconds between the boats only," said Kieran O'Connell, Rear Admiral for Keel Boat Racing at the Royal Cork Yacht Club on Miss Whiplash. That comment was a reference in particular to the third race of the day, the windiest when six or seven half-tonners were lined-up on the downwind leg, almost close enough to walk across.
Defending champion Dave Cullen in Checkmate XV lies fifth with only 9.5 nett points separating the top six and two races left to sail in the championships tomorrow.
Results are here The final two races are scheduled tomorrow from 11 am with breeze forecast to be westerly at eight knots on Dublin Bay
Read all the latest from the ICRA National Championships in one handy link here.