A highly successful 6-race Spring Warmer One-Design Sailing Series concluded at Howth Yacht Club on Saturday 24th April, having attracted 42 boats in four classes which experienced widely varying conditions over the three weekends of the event.
The light winds of the first two weekends were replaced on the final day with strong south-easterlies, forecasted to reach 15 knots but which saw gusts touching 26, with awkward wind-against-tide conditions in the first races.
Ten clubs were represented over the three Saturdays, with local crews coming out on top in all bar the J/24 class. In the Etchells, the 13-boat fleet was dominated by Dan O’Grady and crew in the curiously named ‘Kootamundra Wattle’ who notched up five results in the top three (including two wins), with the only blip being a 6th in race 3. Nearest challenger was series organiser Stephen Quinn (‘Fetching’) whose three second places on the last day were enough to overhaul Laura Dillon (‘Lambay Rules’) who didn’t enjoy the fresher conditions as much.
The SB3s only raced on the first two weekends because a previously arranged event took place in Dublin Bay on the third one, so the 17-boat fleet only managed three races. In the end, only one point separated the top three boats, with the honours going to ‘Sonic Zoom’ (Ryan/White) ahead of ‘Sharkbait’ (Duncan/Moran) and ‘Splash Gorden’ (G.Patherson).
The J/24s, who were racing in the Spring Warmer for the first time and will be back in Howth in September for their Nationals, attracted seven entries from six clubs but one boat dominated from start to finish. Flor O’Driscoll’s ‘Hard on Port’ (Royal St.George YC) had five bullets and only an OCS in race 5 prevented a clean sweep. Brian McDowell’s ‘Scandal’ from Malahide was consistently second to take the runners-up spot with an 8-point gap to third-placed Brendan Gallagher’s ‘Yorvik’. The latter travelled the furthest distance to make the event, from Lough Erne YC in Enniskillen and was pleased to have some local Puppeteer talent on board to finish in the top four in each race.
The Squibs had the smallest fleet and only completed four races in the series, with Jonathan Craig’s ‘Kerfuffle’ notching three race wins to record a comfortable win from Royal North of Ireland YC visitor Peter Wallace four points adrift in second and the McMurtry brothers in ‘Pot Black’ a further two points behind in third spot.
Below: Flor O'Driscoll, the J24 Class winner and outstanding performer at the HYC Spring Warmer Series receiving his prize from event organiser Stephen Quinn (left).jpg