Day 1 of the 50th Anniversary Squib Irish National Championships at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough had all the hallmarks of champagne sailing, sun out, blue skies and a steady breeze but only for a few more knots to make it perfection. First round the windward mark was 601 Squiblet, sailed by Ian McMillan & Laura Fitzgerald, with Fagin and Inshallah and Outlaw close behind. Race one finished, Fagin 1st, Inshallah 2nd and Outlaw 3rd.
Race 2 took a little while to get under way after a brief postponement and general recall. The black flag was up and unfortunately, Fagin got caught out along with Lil Quickie and Born Wild. This time it was Outlaw, Prodigal, Firecracker and Femme Fatale, fighting it out at the front, Inshallah was showing great boat speed and managed to pull through the fleet to take 3rd from Femme. At the finish, it was Outlaw, Firecracker.
Race 3, The race started in a light and shifty SE breeze, the fleet were away clean and, in true Holywood style, the underdog came good; Vincent Delaney and Joe O'Byrne had the bit between their teeth and sailed away from the fleet, with Inshallah showed amazing boat speed to pull through the fleet into 2nd and Maximus holding onto 3rd.
Race 4 started in similar breeze and direction but getting even more shifty, Prodigal, sailed by father and son duo Greg and Harry Bell, led round the windward mark. Again, as in any fairytale, Femme Fatale showing speed had a blinder and took the win, with Fagin 2nd and Outlaw 3rd.
Race 5. After a short postponement and movement of the committee boats to go and find the breeze, the race got under way in marginal racing conditions, Maximus lead round the first mark to later find out they had been Black-flagged after a very taxing run in little the fleet went inside out. At the finish it was Fagin making the most of the light, shifty conditions taking the win and Worm having a great race, sailed by Sam Lyness and Eric Heyes and Volante, sailed by Simon Watson and Jordy Withers, had a brilliant race finishing 3rd.
It was a battle royale with Outlaw and Fagin fighting it out for the overall win.
Race 6, started in a SE 6/7 knot breeze that was building. The race got away clean and a tricky beat saw Maximus, sailed by Wallace and Weatherstone, round the windward mark first closely followed by Born Wild, Thomas and Jack Anderson and Prodigal, Greg and Harry Bell. Prodigal closed the gap down to Maxiums up the beat but Maximus managed to take the win, while this was going on Fagin and Outlaw were fighting for the Championship down in 6th and 10th place with Femme Fatale finishing 9th place.
Race 7, started in a stronger breeze 10/12 Knots from the SE. This time is was The Worm sailed by Sam Lyness and Eric Heyes that rounded the windward mark first, closely followed by Maximus and Outlaw and Femme Fatale. Maximus managed to get into the lead by the leeward gate but missed a shift up the last beat to allow The Worm back into the lead. Femme Fatale also clawed back into contention. The Worm took the win by the half a boat length, then Maximus and Femme Fatale. While this was going on, Fagin and Outlaw were still slugging it out in the fleet with Fagin finding the advantage and taking a 4th over outlaw in 6th.
This meant that Fagin sailed by Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan took the 2019 50th Anniversary Irish Squib Nationals.
- 2nd Femme Fatale, Vincent Delaney and Joe O'Byrne with Noel also crewing.
- 3rd Outlaw, Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan.
- 4th Maximus, Peter Wallace and Martin Weatherstone.
- 5th Inshallah, David Eccles and Phil Hutchinson
Article by Martin Weatherstone. Photos by Lindsay Nolan and Martin Weatherstone