There were magic conditions for Day one of the 2018 Sportsboat Cup at Howth Yacht Club today. Sunshine and high teens temperature greeted the competitors for the midday start. With the wind whistling through the rigs on the marina rigs were being tightened and oilskins we donned. With a solid 18+ knots for the beat out to the racecourse, all the crews were trying to shake off the early season rust in prep for three races.
It turned out that the windiest part of the day was the sail out and pre-race warm up. The wind dropped to mid teens which meant the excited 1720 fleet were not quite flat out planning during the races. Still beautiful conditions. Race 1 was won by Atara (Ross McDonald/Aoife English) after a continuous battle with Royal Irish Yacht Club entry Optique (Colin Byrne) and Dutch Gold (Robert O'Leary). It was a premonition of the rest of the day. Although Antix (Fionn Lyden) made his presence felt after being in the main pack in race 1. Optique took race 2 in the lightest conditions of the day by leading around almost every mark while Antix strode ahead for a convincing win in race 3 laying down a marker at the end of the day as the wind rose.
"The top four are tightly bunched on the racecourse and overall"
Optique leads overall from Dutch Gold and Antix. The top four are tightly bunched on the racecourse and overall.
Three Jammy Wins
In the small J/80 fleet, Jammy (Dan O'Grady) dominated with three race wins. There was no quarter given between Mojo (Pat O'Neill) and Jam Jar (Philip Watson/Roger Cagney) with luffing matches galore downwind as they nipped and tucked each other exchanging second and third places.
Checkmate Gear Failure
The small tonner fleet became just two at the start of the day as Checkmate experienced some gear failure on the way to racing. Bit by bit the remaining boats cried off during the day with none competing in the final race. The Big Picture (Mike & Richie Evans) lead that fleet. These boats definitely have one eye on the upcoming Wave Regatta and the Quarter Ton Cup so are giving themselves and boats and good shakedown.
Racing continues tomorrow at midday with four races scheduled and a similar forecast.