Conditions have been tricky for sailors and Race Officer Sheila Lewis and her team with southerly breezes of 10 to 15 knots aided by gusts of over 20 at times. Day 1 saw a large number of casualties both in capsizes and broken masts. Sailors at the front of many of the fleets succumbed regularly to the swinging gusts finding themselves upside down having been chasing a podium position. Day 2 saw slightly lighter breezes but still tricky with the breeze moving back and forwards through 40 degrees at times. The race team must be commended for getting in 6 races so quickly over the first 2 days for 3 notoriously difficult fleets in such conditions - the addition of a separate finishing boat has allowed the Standards and 4.7’s to get away and not having to wait for the squabbling Radial fleet each time.
In the Laser Standards, Ronan Wallace of Wexford Boat Club is the standout performer with 6 bullets ahead of relative youngsters Darragh O’Sullivan and Fionn Conway. First Master is Cork’s Nick Walsh followed by a handful of Ballyholme sailors led by veteran Charlie Taylor.
The 4.7 fleet is tighter with the National’s Conor Gorman and Royal Corks’s Michael Crosbie on equal points followed by UK visitor Luke Anstey from Frendsham Pond. First girl is Ellen Barbour from County Antrim YC on the other side of Belfast Lough.
The Laser Radial fleet has seen the most dramatic changes possibly due to sailing on the inner loop where the beats may have been less easy to read. Day 1 saw recent UK Youth National Radial Champion and Ballyholme YC sailor Dan McGaughey leading with 2,2,2 but Races 4 and 5 will be ones he will want to try and forget going into the second half. Kinsale’s Micheal OSuilleabhain and UK sailor Kai Wolgram from Llyn Brenig are tight together at the top with the most consistent results over the first 2 days followed by Tom Higgins of Royal St George. First female and youth girl is the National’s Claire Gorman with a good lead over Ballyholme’s Suzanne Flannigan for first Lady.
Three more races are scheduled today with sunshine and similar breezes to the first 2 days - 12 gusting up to 21 - perfect for the photographers if testing for the sailors.
Results can be viewed here