This is the first time this event has been hosted in Ireland waters, and also the first time that both the UK and Irish have been combined. This combination should throw up an interesting challenge, for the top UK RS 400 sailors and the Top Irish RS 400 sailors. Currently, we are expecting 56 boats on the start line!”, according to Gerry Reid, the Event Director.
From England, Mike Simms, a former Laser aficionado, and in more recent years a very quick RS 400 helm, and former winner of the Nationals is competing. Also, racing is England's Nick Craig.
From home waters, Barry McCartin has had a terrific year along with his regular crew Andrew Penny, winning most of the Traveller events this year, and is the current holder of the Bosun Bob trophy, He knows Belfast Lough well.
Bob Espey also knows the Lough well and has won many past events, we would expect to see these guys at the top of the fleet. Peter Kennedy, a former Olympic sailor, is the local
guy who can make any boat go very fast, and Peter will be mixing it up at the front.
From Greystones, Sean Cleary was second in Garda recently. Sean will be a threat to those at the front, and can certainly show a turn of speed!
Other local contenders showing form are Paul McLaughlin from Cushendall, and Hammy Baker and Mike Ferguson. Ross Vaughan is making a welcome return to sailing at this event, sailing with his cousin Andrew Vaughan and it will be interesting to see how they get on.
The fleet arrives on Saturday, with racing starting on Sunday afternoon (25th) running through to Thursday (29th), with two races per day scheduled.
The Race Officer Robin Gray plans to run the racing between Royal North and Greypoint. The event also has a busy social schedule to keep the competitors entertained off the water.