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1720 class making refreshing impact

8th April 1997

EARLY SEASON sportsboat competition and a forecasted fleet of 30 boats for next month's 1720 East coast championship will make 1997 a watershed year for the Category B class in only its third season afloat. The Cork harbour design makes its debut on Dublin Bay with 10 confirmed entries on April 29th while Howth Yacht Club's warmup series, which concludes on Sunday, is shaping up to be something of a repeat of last October's Nissan league with Robert Dix's Lemon leading at the halfway stage on five points. Mike Evans's Yonka'l Experience is in second place on 10 points with Barry O'Neill's Time Out a point adrift in third overall. Dix, a former Olympic 470 sailor, is just one of many who have moved from cruiser class racing back into the one design arena with others following in his wake. Also signed up for 1720 racing this season is Colm Barrington and Richard Burrows, who move from class zero along with class two's Brian Earls.

Martin Byrne comes from the J245, Dermot Baker from the Ruffians, Pat Gilmour moves from the Squibs while Mermaid and Flying Fifteen champion Roger Bannon is also on the circuit. Finn Lyden, a former Fireball champion, together with Jan Van der Puil, marks his return to domestic racing in a red 1720 called Magic. It's unlikely that there is one single factor to account for the success of the class but the sparkling performance of the Tony Castro design is one of its main attributes. What is interesting is the varied backgrounds of many of the converts who are finding the close tactical racing, combined with the category B sponsorship options, appealing. "Our aim is to build three strong fleets in Cork, Dublin and Belfast. All we're really doing is repeating what the J24 design did in the early 80s," says class promoter Joe English. English is also establishing a fleet in Britain. At Easter, the 1720 had some continental success at Spi Ouest where a UK crew headed by David Munge took fifth overall in a fleet of 50 boats. The Royal St George YC will host the class East coast championships from May 3rd-5th and despite the Dublin venue, a strong Royal Cork fleet will also be attending. Meanwhile, the third outing for the Dragon Lisney Cup was cut from seven to just two races last weekend when 21 entries sat be calmed for the weekend. The only two races to count were sailed on Friday with the breeze no stronger than five knots at the Lough Ree venue. Renowned light air expert John Ross Murphy made the most of the fickle winds in, China Blue and took a first and second placings to beat trophy holder Kin, sailed by Simon Brien of the Royal Northern Ireland YC, but only on the result of a tie break. Third was taken by Chimaera, steered by Andrew Craig of the Royal St George. On the south coast, Kin sale will host the first of two ISA safety seminars tomorrow. With an emphasis on man overboard techniques, the seminars will take the form of practical demonstrations, and involve audience participation. The Royal St George host the second seminar tomorrow week (April 26th) at their Dun Laoghaire clubhouse. Both seminars are free of charge and begin at 10 a.m. For further information contact Donal Lynch on 021 545333 or Paddy Boyd on 01 2800239. At 6 p.m. tomorrow the Cork Dry Gin Sovereign's Cup will be toasted at Kinsale Yacht club in an open information evening designed to update crews on arrangements for the June cruiser event that will also include the 1720 national championships as part of the expected 100 boat fleet. Nigel Rollo, from Rathnew, Co Wicklow, departs on Monday to join the crew of race leader Group Four Security in Cape Town for the penultimate leg of the BT Global Challenge 28,000 mile, race. Pause to Remember (with Irish skipper Tom O'Connor at the helm) arrived in Cape Town on April 12th in 13th place.

Published in 1720
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