A mixed bag of weather conditions was in store for the competitors, with a dull sky and black clouds dampening the mood. The air was warmer than usual, so comfort levels were at their peak. A south-westerly breeze was blowing up around 9-12 knots. The Sandquay was busy, as a record number of sailors had arrived to enjoy the morning’s racing.
The start was due for 10:10 am, so Race Officer Alan Fehily and his crew were seen setting up a course in the early hours. The fleet launched with time to spare and could be seen sailing out into the channel under a heavy flood tide. A windward/leeward course was set opposite Alta Terrace.
The 3-minute gun went off at exactly the scheduled time. The record-sized fleet of sixteen boats lined up on the start line, jousting for position. The competitors could be seen trying to stay below the line, with a very strong flood tide dragging them over early. One general recall later and the first race of the day was underway.
As the fleet converged at the top mark, it became apparent how much the tide was affecting the race. A perfect path had to be chosen, with most sailors heading to the left side of the course just outside the shipping channel. MBSC’s Brendan Dwyer took an early lead and extended that lead throughout the race. Challenging for second and third were Monkstown’s Chris Bateman and Fionn Lyden from Baltimore sailing club. Dwyer held them off until the third and final lap, where your correspondent managed to slip into first place, with Lyden in second. RCYC’s Johnny Durcan followed in third place. As the race carried on, Lyden sailed past Bateman on the downwind to finish in first place. Your correspondent took second position, with Durcan making up third.
In the radial fleet, MBSC’s Harry Pritchard took first place, with RCYC’s Michael Crosbie in second and MBSC’s Philip Doherty in third.
Race two began with the same strong tide but with a little less wind. The fleet was close as they made their way up the first beat, beginning the three-lap race. Tactics downwind were crucial, as the tide was head-on. Your correspondent took the lead early on, with Durcan following and MBSC’s Ronan Kenneally right behind. The sun had come out and the water was a clear blue. Bateman gybed away from the fleet onto the shoreline, while Durcan elected to stay out in the tide, but with more wind. By the end of the race, Bateman finished out in front with Durcan in second place. Kenneally finished in third position.
In the Radial category, it was Pritchard taking first place, with Crosbie and Doherty following up in second and third.
Race three began with MBSC’s Richie Harrington taking an early lead. Following in second place was your correspondent, with Durcan in third place. Harrington increased his lead throughout the race, in the light and tricky conditions. Brendan Dwyer sailed through on the last downwind, passing out Durcan and Bateman, but could not hold Durcan with his new-school tacking manoeuvres. Meanwhile, Harrington sailed across the line in first place with a comfortable lead. Durcan sailed into second, with your correspondent making up third place.
A tough morning’s racing was enough to finish off the competitors, and the laser dinghies were put to bed, to be woken again next Saturday.