Tralee Bay in County Kerry was the perfect arena for a high–paced weekend of sailing. Led by the Tralee Bay Maritime Centre with the support of Tralee Bay Sailing Club, 49er Olympic hopefuls gave an incredible ballet of spinnakers over three days.
The primary event was the return of the 49er national championships but the added benefit was that local dinghy sailors could see Irish Olympic sailors at first hand. With the addition of John Chambers Waszp design, the event was a great conclusion of the summer season.
On the racing front, four races were completed on Friday afternoon in 10-12kts from the south west on the west side of Fenit Marina. The start line was just a few boat lengths away from the Marina bridge making it very spectators friendly. Indeed, one of the aims of the weekend was to bring the sailing as close as possible to the public as opportunities to actually see top sailors in action at home is rare enough.
With four different race winners, it was tight racing and Matt McGovern and crew Robbie Gilmore headed back ashore with a narrow lead over the rest of the field.
Saturday saw the passage of a very active front, and despite a progressive drop of the strong winds, racing was definitely abandoned at 16.30.
Sunday gave the sailors some great sailing conditions with 8-12kts from the south west. This time the course was located to the East of the Marina with the windward touching distance from the Marina walls. The U–23 European bronze medallists Cian Byrne and Paddy Crosbie were on form with three second position and ended their challenge with a race win but Matt and Robbie’s consistency was enough to secure the title.
Overall top 3
1st Matt McGovern – Robbie Gilmore, BYC, 1-2-2-2-3-1-1-3
2nd Cian Byrne – Paddy Crosbie, RCYC, 4-4-1-4-2-2-2-1
3rd Robert Dickson – Sean Waddilove, HYC, 3-3-3-1-1-3-3-2
The weekend was not all about racing and the sailors returned the warm welcome given by locals by taking kids sailing and giving crewing experience to local sailors. John Chambers Waszp was also a great addition to the weekend. TBMC principle Brian O’Sullivan and organiser Thomas Chaix were delighted with the outcome and are definitely looking forward to welcoming the 49ers again.