#hyc – Pat Kelly's J109 'Storm' continues to dominate Class 1 after Howth Yacht Club's penultimate race of the Autumn league on Sunday. A cold drizzly morning greeted the 700 sailors for the Beshoff Motors/ Bloody Stream jointly sponsored series but crucially there was wind too for the event that this year has seen a mix of weather conditions over the first 5 weeks. This week was the turn of the rain and cold to test competitors, although it improved gradually as the start sequences began and the wind stayed reasonably steady, fluctuating between 260 and 270 degrees for the day at about 10 knots.
On the Offshore course, Kelly and team on 'Storm' recorded their fifth consecutive win to put them in an unassailable lead in Class 1 IRC, while 'Flashback' will be fighting to stay ahead next week on ECHO.
Anthony Gore Grimes and crew on 'Dux' can also afford to take a leisurely attitude next week (although it is very unlikely), as they are clear leaders at the top of Class 2 in IRC. However, 'Maximus' and 'Bushwakka' will have no such luxury in the ECHO division - as they share the lead going into the final day.
Vince Gaffney in 'Alliance II' might also consider a rest next week as he and his team will take the honours in Class 3 IRC. The ECHO prize will be a closer fought affair for 'Starlet', 'Tobago' and 'Goyave'.
In Non Spinnaker Class 4, 'Tiger', 'Bite the Bullet' and 'Orna' will battle for top spot in IRC next week and 'Tiger' and 'White Lotus' should be the contenders for the ECHO prize.
Harry Byrne's 'Alphida' will have a real battle next week with 'Demelza' for the Class 5 IRC trophy, but there is little that they will be able to do to stop 'Sandpiper of Howth' taking the ECHO honours.
Meanwhile, the inshore fleet will see similar battles in the 17's between Isobel and Oona to secure a win on scratch and the Turvey's will also be chasing Eileen for the ECHO prize.
J24, Crazy horse will be chased by Flor O'Driscolls Hard on Port for the overall prize in their class. The Puppeteers are comfortably led by Harlequin (Clarke & Egan) on scratch, but the ECHO prize will be fought out between the two joint leaders Mayfly and Odyssey.
The Squibs are being led in both scratch and ECHO by Fantome and after another win this week, Mike Evans leads the Etchells in Valkyrie.
Hopefully the elements will be kind to us again next Saturday and all classes will get a race, which will mean that all races bar one inshore fleet cancellation last week will have been run, bucking the trend for the last few years.
For the final race, our co sponsor, The Bloody Stream is putting up a prize for each class which will be presented at the final prize giving next Saturday afternoon. There is still limited availability in the dining room, there is a special €25 menu being offered for that evening.