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Difficulty in anchoring Sovereign's Cup Commitee Boats in a large Atlantic swell has been given for the postponement of today's racing off Kinsale. 

Racing for the 98–boat fleet is scheduled again for tomorrow (Saturday) for the final day of 2017 Cup competition at Kinsale Yacht Club

Read all's coverage so far here.


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The halfway stage of the O’Leary Life Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale Yacht Club was marked by perfect sailing conditions today with the 98-strong fleet revelling in the steadily building breeze that topped out with 25 knot gusts and brilliant sunshine throughout the day.

Bob Bateman's Day Two photo gallery is here. All Afloat's Sovereign's Cup 2017 is here. Results are here.  Afloat's Sovereign's Cup 2017 predictions here

Most divisions now feature a short-list of contenders for class wins though few can match the consistency of Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club for delivery a fourth straight win in Division 1.

However, with half the regatta at stake including a forecast strong-wind day tomorrow (Friday), much remains to play for especially by David Kelly’s Storm from Howth, the consistent runner-up in the class and lags by just four points.

Sovereigns cup ds 1751Andrew Algeo's J/109 Juggerknot from the Royal Irish Yacht Club is tied on 16–points for third place overall. Photo: Bob Bateman

“The key to the day was doing everything in plenty of time - and staying upright...” remarked Tim Goodbody, skipper of J109 White Mischief that is currently sixth overall in the 18-strong Division 1 fleet.

Kinsale’s own Conor Doyle on Freya has also delivered a straight run of first places albeit with just two races sailed in the much longer courses of the Coastal Division. Yesterday featured a 32-mile, 4.5 hour race that included a leg around the scenic Old Head of Kinsale into Courtmacsherry Bay and back.

Sovereigns cup ds 1751Kieran Collins' Olson 30 Coracle VI (77883) from Royal Cork Yacht Club has three wins from four races and leads class two IRC Photo: Bob Bateman

Closer to Kinsale, the bulk of the regatta fleet sailed a mixture of Windward-Leeward and Round the Cans style courses with relatively flat seas thanks to the shelter of the Old Head peninsula. Nevertheless, there were widespread broaches and busted sails in the gusts.

Sovereigns cup ds 1751Brian Goggin's Jeanneau 349 Allure of the host club is racing in Non–spinnaker 2. Photo: Bob Bateman

“We had exciting racing and plenty of drama plus a few cuts and bruises, especially in the second race after one of the sheets got fouled in the steering gear... fun was had by all!” said Brian McCarthy, skipper of Baccarat that leads White Sails Division 1 on Progressive ECHO handicap.

In Division 4, Sinead Enright’s J24 YaGottaWanna from the Royal Cork YC managed to overcome a few “moments” that were plentiful in the class during the day to score a win and second place to take the lead in the class and holds a seven-point overall lead.

Sovereigns cup ds 1751Thrills'n'spills in the 1720 Europeans Photo: Bob Bateman

Meanwhile, in the continuing family battle for the lead in the 1720 European Championship, first placed Anthony O’Leary saw his lead stripped back to one point after a three-race day in which his Olympian son Peter narrowly miss drawing level for the lead. With half the series left to sail, the match could end either way as the breezy conditions are proving challenging for many of the other boats in the ten-strong fleet.

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There were ideal sailing conditions off Kinsale today for the second day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup

Medium to heavy winds and sunshine delivered another racing programme, mostly incident-free. A turnout of 98 boats from around Ireland and further afield will enjoy two more days of racing for the Sovereign's Cup trophy, awarded to the best overall performance on IRC handicap. See Day Two Report here.

Bob Bateman captured the action today below: 

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Rob McConnell’s Fool’s Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club won both races of the first day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup in Division One, the largest fleet in the event with 18 entries, a result only matched elsewhere in the 98–boat fleet in the White Sails Division 2 fleet where Stephanie Ennis’ Club Shamrock Demelza also had two wins.

See Bob Bateman's full day one photo gallery here. Overall results are here.

At the Kinsale Yacht Club venue, fog gave way to light winds, broken sunshine and flat seas to allow for a full programme of yesterday's opening day races to be sailed on four course areas. At stake is the Sovereigns Cup for the best performing boat on IRC handicap alongside the Portcullis Trophy for the best boat on Progressive ECHO handicap.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleDemelza leads in the White Sails class at the Sovereigns Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleRob McConnell's Fools Gold scored two wins at the Sovereigns Cup off Kinsale Photo: Bob Bateman

At this early stage, few of the nine divisions racing have clear leaders and with the prospect of fresh to strong winds for the next two days, a full test in all conditions is likely to bring the final results down to the wire for Saturday’s finale. has stuck its neck out and offered its predictions on the overall results here.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleHowth Yacht Club's 'The Big Picture' is lying in joint first place in Class Two. Photo: Bob Bateman

In Division 2, the second largest fleet on the course, the top three boats are within one point of each other while the chasing pack aren’t lagging too far behind either. Kieran Collins’ Coracle IV leads after winning the opening race before placing fifth in the second and lies level with Howth’s Richard Evans on The Big Picture.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleA fleet of six Half Tonners at the Sovereigns Cup is making class two very competitive Photo: Bob Bateman

“It’s a very competitive class, especially with six or seven half-tonners,” said Finbarr O’Regan, skipper of Artful Dodger of Kinsale YC. “There isn’t a bad boat in the class and it’s definitely going to a high-scoring event - a lot of people have had a good and a bad race.”

Sovereign's Cup Kinsale SailingGeorge Sisk's Wow, a former ICRA Boat of the Year, is competing in the coastal class. Photo: Bob Bateman

Although George Sisk’s Wow! from the Royal Irish Yacht Club led the Coastal Class fleet from the start, the Dun Laoghaire crew was unable to shake off the chasing pack and a finishing-line error ensured that Conor Doyle’s Freya took the first result of the series.

The opening day was shorter than the remainder of the series and the coastal course was more of an extended round the cans style race but with the full schedule planned for Thursday, a much longer course can be expected – dependent on weather.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleThe 1720 Sportsboat European Championships is being sailed as part of the Sovereign's Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

In the 1720 Sportsboat European Championships that is being sailed as part of the main regatta, a luffing match between father and son in race one saw Olympic sailor Peter O’Leary defeat his father Anthony to take first place. However, O’Leary senior was the more consistent over the three races and is the clear overnight leader.

In turn, the younger O’Leary holds second overall but only on tie-break from Tom Durcan’s T-Bone on level points. Ben Cooke’s Smile n ‘Wave doing well in the final race until they were inadvertently sailed off the course by another boat struggling to drop their kite and slipped down the rankings. Like Peter O’Leary, Cooke is counting a ninth place so far.

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Sunsine and wind greeted competitors for the first day of the O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup today off Kinsale. A fleet of approximately 100 boats are in Kinsale for the four day regatta that started this afternoon.

Scroll down for our photos by Bob Bateman below


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With about 100–boats entered for the first races of O'Leary Life & Pensions Sovereigns Cup this afternoon, there are plenty of good boats capable of winning in each class in Kinsale's biennial Grand Prix Regatta.

Sticking its neck out, here are Afloat's class predictions for overall wins by Saturday.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsale ICRA Class Zero Champion Dark Angel from Swansea Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleJohnny Mordaunt's Mat design from the Solent in today's first race of the Sovereign's Cup.  This is the latest Mark Mills Design MAT1180 Tschuss, originally from the US.Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 0 Only 4 boats in this class. Johnny Mordaunt's Mat design from the Solent has chosen to miss the UK IRC Nationals starting today and instead compete in Kinsale. He should be favourite but expect to see ICRA Class Zero Champion Dark Angel from Swansea also in the mix.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleTim Goodbody's J109 White Mischief from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin. Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleToday's Class One start at the Sovereigns Cup. Photo Bob Bateman

Class One 10 J109's are entered including Joker II, recently crowned ICRA champion for the third successive year. However with Joker's normal tactician Mark Mansfield not sailing on her this week, some might expect to see Pat Kelly's Scottish Series Champion Storm from Rush Sailing Club right up there, particularly in the windier conditions. Rob McConnell's Fools Gold will also be in contention as will Tim Goodbody's White Mischief. In a likely mixed wind regatta, we will put our money on Fools Gold by a hair.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleNigel Biggs newly renovated Checkmate XVIII made its Irish debut today at Kinsale. Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleMike and Richard Evans Half Tonner Big Picture from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Class Two includes a very broad range of boats including 5 half tonners working up towards the half ton worlds in August. It includes Nigel Biggs newly renovated Checkmate XVIII.  In the lighter early week conditions the half tonners should have the edge and Mike and Richard Evans Big Picture, with Mark Mansfield as tactician should find the conditions to their liking but Harmony owned by Johnny Swann and Dave Cullen's Checkmate will have something to say about this. In heavier conditions, later in the week, Ross McDonald's Equinox should be to the fore. Overall, in the likely two days of lighter winds and two windier days, expect one of the half tonners to shade it and watch out for the newly launched Checkmate XVIII. He rarely finishes far down the pecking order.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleX302 Dux from Howth

Class Three Not a large class and expect one of the X302s to take this, likely Dux from Howth Yacht Club.

Class Four Will likely go to a quarter Tonner with three entered including Anchor Challenge recently crowned ICRA class 3 champion. In this event she is being sailed by Dave Dwyer and not her normal crew but she will be potent in lighter airs. Ken Lawless in Cartoon from Dublin Bay Sailing Club may just shade it however in mixed conditions.

Sovereigns_Cup_Yachts_kinsaleAnthony O'Leary competing in the 1720 Wet'n'Ready in today's first Sovereign's Cup race. Photo: Bob Bateman

1720 class –12 entered. This is the class European Championships. Expect an O'Leary (either Anthony or Peter) to take this.  Peter is likely to have the edge in the lighter early week conditions and Anthony in the windier stuff. Expect Peter to hold out and take it by a slim margin.

See Day One Photo Gallery here

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The biennial O’Leary Life & Pensions Sovereigns Cup to be sailed at Kinsale on June 21st has extended today’s entry deadline until next week.

Regatta organiser Mike Walsh has confirmed a 91–boat entry so far for the popular four–day south coast event. The deadline extension should see the regatta top 100–boats, especially as the Dun Laoghaire–Dingle offshore race has attracted a large fleet of 45 that will finish on the south-west coast a week before the Sovereign's Cup begins.

A new Kinsale Yacht Club 'Family Boat Award' will be presented by the O'Leary Life and Pensions sponsors as part of the regatta.

Walsh recently signalled a later start time for the biennial event starting on June 21st. The first gun has been pushed back to 1355 hrs to make it easier for sailors travelling down to Kinsale on the Wednesday morning. 

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A new Kinsale Yacht Club award is to be presented at next month's O’Leary Life Sovereigns Cup 2017 will be a 'Family Boat Award'. As reported yesterday, the brainchild of the title sponsors, O’Leary Life, the award will be made to the best placed boat with two or more direct family members sailing on board.

The prize, a 3D nautical chart of Kinsale Harbour, including the Sovereigns Rocks, was made by Bobby Nash of Latitude Kinsale. Unlike other perpetual trophies for the event, the winning skipper/owner of this award gets to keep it and, no doubt give it pride of place in their home or office.

Family Boat awardThe new 'Family Boat' award at the Sovereign's Cup is a a 3D nautical chart of Kinsale Harbour

Commenting at the launch of the new award at the O’Leary Life offices in Cork, managing director Ronan Goggin noted, “For us, family is the mainstay of our business, essentially looking after people and corporates through all life stages. We therefore wanted to reflect our family ethos within our sponsorship of the event and acknowledge family members sailing together”

Regatta Director Mike Walsh added “For us Sovereigns Cup is very much about family too. We encourage competitors to bring their families to Kinsale and enjoy our magnificent town. That is why we put such an emphasis on the day time and social shore side activities”

With over 100 boats expected, the organisers are very much looking forward to welcoming competitors and their families to Kinsale and would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet entered to do so as soon as possible here.

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A new 'Family Boat Award' will be presented to the best placed boat with two or more direct family members sailing on board at June's Sovereign's Cup off Kinsale. 

Kinsale Yacht Club Regatta Director Mike Walsh, announcing the award said 'We encourage competitors to bring their families to Kinsale and enjoy our magnificent town. That is why we put such an emphasis on the day time and social shore side activities of the event'.

Up to 100 boats are expected to compete in the biennial event that runs from June 21st. More on the event here.

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Over 100 boats are expected to enjoy four days racing in the open waters of Kinsale Harbour when the Sovereign’s Cup 2017 takes place at Kinsale Yacht Club from 21st-24th June, 2017.

The O’Leary Life & Pensions sponsored event was launched at Kinsale Yacht Club today by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. 

Minister Coveney praised the co-operation between all the stakeholders and cited Sovereign’s Cup as a prime example of what can be achieved to bring benefits to whole communities when clubs and associations work closely with business groups and local authorities to organise world class events.

Soverigns Cup 2017Jack Roy at his first official event as President of the ISA, Carrie Dunne, Ronan Goggin, O’Leary Life & Pensions, Minister Simon Coveney, Susan Horgan, Rear Commodore KYC, Cllr Kevin Murphy, Cork Co Council, Dave O’Sullivan, Vice Commodore KYC.

Some of the entries to the Sovereign’s Cup 2017 to date include 2015 Champions, Equinox the X-333 from Howth YC, skippered by Ross McDonald.

Also returning to Kinsale are WOW, the Farr 42 sailed by George Sisk, DUX, the X302 sailed by Anthony Gore-Grimes, Fool’s Gold the Archambault 35 sailed by Robert McConnell and Jump Juice, the Ker 37 sailed by Conor Phelan.

The J-109s are represented by Jump The Gun, sailed by John Kelly and Michael Monaghan, White Mischief, sailed by Tim & Richard Goodbody, Powder Monkey, sailed by Mark Byrne and Chris Moore and Indecision sailed by Declan Hayes.

IMG 0414J109, Jump The Gun,  sailed by John Kelly and Michael Monaghan is heading for Kinsale

Half Tonners, Checkmate XVIII, sailed by Nigel Biggs, The Big Picture, sailed by Michael Evans and Checkmake XV sailed by David Cullen will enjoy great racing in advance of the Half Ton Classic Cup that also takes place in KYC from 14th-18th August.

There are a number of 1720 sportsboats including Antix, sailed by Anthony O’Leary, Dutch Gold, sailed by Peter O’Leary, T-Bone, sailed by Clive O’Shea and Tom Durcan, Déjà vu, sailed by Rory and Ross Johnson, Aquatack, by Denis Murphy and 1601 sailed by Michael Walsh.

Kinsale YC is well represented by Meridien, skippered by KYC Commodore, Tom Roche, Freya, sailed by Conor Doyle, Artful Dodger sailed by Finbarr O’Regan and Cimarron VI, sailed by Vice Commodore Dave O’Sullivan.

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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

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At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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