Day one of the Volvo WIORA Championships dawned with a final entry of thirty nine boats and was to begin with one race and an afternoon start to facilitate crews arriving to the island of Inishmore on the morning ferries. The midday briefing was a straightforward affair with PRO Alan Crosbie, in his twelth year with the West Coast Championships.
At the briefing Jack Roy, President of Irish Sailing spoke about volunteerism and participation and gave credit to event organisers Cormac MacDonnacha and Míchéal Gill of Club Seolteoireachta Arainn for bringing the event to the island for the first time.
Not only is the scenery idyllic but the weather was also playing ball with a light southerly breeze and a windward leeward course was chosen.
In IRC 1 and ECHO 1, Liam Burke’s ‘new’ Tribal Farr 31 was to the fore with Galway Bay Sailing clubmates Glen Cahill on Joie de Vie and Now What hot on their heels after an hour and twenty minutes of racing.
In IRC 2 it was the young guns from Galway Bay Sailing Club headed up by Aideen Breen sailing Port of Galway, the Dehler 37CW owned by well-known Martin Breen. The two Corbys, Thomas Whelan of the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland on Stonehouse Racing& representing the Daffodil Foundation and Rob Allen on Smile filling the other spots on the podium. Ray McGibney’s Dis-A-Ray was also in the hunt finishing third in ECHO.
In IRC 3 and ECHO 3 the class is headed up by Brian Raftery’s J24 Gossip with Foynes’ J24 Gala Racing in second and the Club 8 from Galway Bay Sailing Club in third.
White Sails which has been sailed on progressive ECHO has Simon Trezise on Leonidas in first, Frankie Leonard on Roamar in second and Euphanzel III sailed by Gerry Morgan in third.
The fleet is also joined by a mini transat class with two mini’s match racing with Yannick Lemonnier to the fore.