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Royal Cork's James Dwyer Matthews Leads Optimist Nationals at Howth Yacht Club

18th August 2019
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James Dwyer Matthews leads the Irish Championships and is chasing the USA hard for the lead in the Open Championships at Howth James Dwyer Matthews leads the Irish Championships and is chasing the USA hard for the lead in the Open Championships at Howth

Saturday brought a change of fortune for sailors at the Optimist National Championships at Howth Yacht Club with champagne sailing conditions that overflowed a little for some.

The seniors were the main action of the day. They got four races in to make up for the challenges of the previous day. Freddie Parkin from Team USA is leading the field after eight races into the last day, with James Dwyer Matthews from RCYC hot on his heels and leading the Irish Nationals. The locals though have not given up the fight with Luke Turvey, Rocco Wright and Johnny Flynn - all of HYC still in contention. Sam Ledoux from Dun Laoghaire who was well in contention, suffered a broken rudder which hurt his chances - however, a 2nd discard which will happen after the next race could bring him back into the mix.

The Juniors only got two races in, as the building wind that gusted in excess of 25/26 knots was too much for some of these younger and lighter sailors. The decision was taken to send them home after two exhilarating races, but at that stage, there were probably too many boats ending up upside down. Nathan Pine from the USA is leading out the Juniors with USA & GBR sailors filling the first 4 places. William Walsh from the host club (and TBSC / MYC) is leading the Irish challenge and the Junior Nationals with a highly credible 5th position in a strong international field. He is followed in the Irish Nationals by Des Turvey and Cillian Twomey, both also of HYC and with a lot to do if they are to take the national title.

In the Regatta Fleet, Conor Cronin from Malahide leads going into the finals day, followed by Benjamin Barry of RCYC. However again the locals have not given up the chase again here, with Keelan Darby from Howth YC pushing them all the way.

Racing concludes on Sunday. Results are here

Published in Optimist
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