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The West Out-Sail the East at Ruffian All-Ireland Team Racing Championship at Mayo Sailing Club

18th September 2023
The Ruffian Golden Jubilee calendar All Ireland Team Racing Championship was hosted by Mayo Sailing Club in the first weekend of September
The Ruffian Golden Jubilee calendar All Ireland Team Racing Championship was hosted by Mayo Sailing Club in the first weekend of September Credit: MSC

Following the success of the Ruffian 23 50th anniversary celebrations in Portaferry in June, the next major event in the Ruffian Golden Jubilee calendar was the All Ireland Team Racing Championship hosted by Mayo Sailing Club on Saturday and Sunday, September 9th and 10th. Four teams from all over the country competed in the event on the beautiful waters of Clew Bay, Co. Mayo.

Race Officer Colin McMullen and his team aboard committee vessel Movita had planned an ambitious series of 2 round robins with 6 races in each, with a boat changeover in between. However, as the forecast was light for day 2, there was a provision for a third round robin to take place on day 1.

A trapezoid course was set with marks to be rounded to starboard, and racing got underway on time at 11.00 using a 3-minute starting sequence in a light Westerly breeze. The West (Mayo) got off to a strong start by beating the South (Wicklow) in race 1, while the East (Dun Laoghaire) also started well by beating the Barbarians in race 2. The Barbarians were the 4th team with crews from Dun Laoghaire, Donegal, and Wicklow replacing the Carrickfergus team who were unable to attend.

The 3 on-the-water umpires, Ailbe Millerick, Eunice Kennedy, and Jill Fleming made their presence felt from early on with a number of boats falling foul of their red penalty flags.

The Race Management organisation was flawless and the very well planned boat changes worked seamlessly. After 12 races in first 2 round robins, Colin announced another boat change-over before commencing races 13-18 in round robin 3.

At the end of day 1 the West team from Mayo SC led, with the East in second place, by 8 race wins to 6, so they would contest a 3-race final should the conditions allow. The Barbarians and the South with 2 race wins each would contest the petit-final for 3rd and 4th place.

A tired but happy bunch of 60 sailors, mark layers, umpires, and the committee boat race management team retired to the clubhouse for drinks and a meal, thanks to the shore-based volunteers from MSC.

After a postponed start on Sunday, Sept 10th, the wind filled in, and the Race Officer started the first race of the final with the East beating the West. With all to play for in race 2, the West out-sailed the East and then went on to win race 3 to take the title. The Barbarians won the first 2 races in the petit-final to take 3rd place. The event was rounded off with the prize giving on the clubhouse balcony in lovely sunshine.

Huge credit is due to Mayo Sailing Club for supplying 12 Ruffians, 12 owners reps, the race management team of Colin, Ed, Brendan, Alex, Gillian and Martin, and the shore crew who fed and watered us at sea and ashore all weekend. A particular thanks is due to Fergal Guilfoyle, Colin McMullen, MSC Commodore Bobby Conlon, and MSC Ruffian Class Captain Pat O’Malley for organising the event. Congratulations to Mayo SC skippers Fergal Guilfoyle, David Quinn, and Libby Lambe and their crews for winning the event.

The next major event on the Ruffian 50th anniversary calendar sees a team of 20 Irish Ruffian sailors heading to Hong Kong to complete in the Golden Jubilee Ruffian Interport 2023, a 4-day event hosted by RHKYC from October 20 to 23. It will be the 7th Interport Challenge held between the Irish and Hong Kong Ruffians, and the 4th one to be held in Hong Kong.

Published in Ruffian 23 Team

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