#KINSALE – In contrast to last week's bruising battle, a dying, shifting breeze, pleasant sunshine and shortened courses were the order of the day for competitors in the North Sails sponsored third week of the Kinsale Yacht Club Spring Series writes Peadar Muphy.
OD Donal Hayes sent the White Sail fleets out from Charles Fort to Hake Head, but had to end the race there to ensure that all finished before the zephyrs died out. Nonetheless, in White Sail One the three leading boats crossed the line within 19 seconds on the water, with Stephen Lysaght's Reavra claiming the bullet by one second from the Murphy, Hennessy and Dann team on Val Kriss. Peter Kelly's Magic Elfin popped up in third place again after being blown out last week. Overall it's tight at the head of affairs, with the top six separated by just four points - Reavra holding a one point lead from both Dave Ross' Sonas and Val Kriss.
In White Sail Two, the Lannigan's Privateer claimed an impressive bullet, by six seconds on corrected time, from the in form Windrose skippered by Billy Joyce. The ladies on Guiness Kann came home in third position with the Goode and Forde duo also in third overall on 10 points. Dave Cullinane's Delos is in second on eight points and Windrose is a further point ahead. With discards in White Sail not applying until five races have been completed, it's likely that both of these classes will see a final day shoot out for the podium spots.
Out near the Bulman Buoy, OD Tony Ireson set about giving the Class Three and Class Four fleets a challenging coastal course that gave sufficient options for shortening given the conditions. Both fleets headed out to Black Head and then east to the Sovereign Mark. In lottery-like conditions, the Marron and O'Connell partnership on Bandit, found themselves parked up and enviously monitoring Class Three rival Padraig O'Donovan's progress on Chameleon. In the game of Snakes and Ladders, they got their chance later and grabbed it and went on to score a crushing victory, claiming their fifth bullet in succession in IRC and leading Chameleon home by over 30 minutes and the Ryan/Tyler team on Away on Business by over 40 minutes on corrected time. Bandit is on out on her own at the top of the IRC Three leader board, with the discard coming in to play this week. Finbarr Dorgan's No Half Measures retains second spot on eight points, even though she missed this week's events and Chameleon lies in third spot a further four points in arrears. In ECHO Three, the finishing order was the same, albeit much closer with the progressive handicapping well reflecting the boats' potential. Overall, No Half Measures holds onto top spot with Bandit and Chamelon tied on points just one point behind.
In IRC Four, Alan Mulcahy's yellow-hulled Sundancer led Richard Hanley's Saoirse home in the sunshine for the third race in a row with Michael Murphy's Shelly D claiming the third spot. The three have this class to themselves and this week's action reflected the overall picture, with Sundancer holding a two point lead from Saoirse, with Shelly D four points further adrift. In ECHO Four, Hanley's Saoirse claimed the bullet, with Shelly D pushing Sundancer down to third spot on the day. Overall, Saoirse holds a slender one point advantage over Sundancer, with the Higgins and Morrison pairing on La Maraquita holding onto third spot, despite retiring from Sunday's lengthy challenge.
A mile or more south of the Bulman Buoy, OD Tony Small and team set up the windward-leeward courses for classes zero, one and two. All fleets were well-behaved for the first races' starts, with both the Class Two and the combined Class Zero and One fleets getting away cleanly. The top mark was initially laid west of the Sovereign Mark, and the shifting breeze and the wind shadow from the Sovereign Rocks presented plenty of opportunities for big gains and losses. In IRC 2, Brian Goggin's Allure came home first by 14 seconds on corrected time from Clem and Wendy McElligott's Sea Hawk with the RCYC team on Bad Company just 19 seconds further behind. There was a delay and then an abandoned sequence before the breeze settled sufficiently to lay a new windward mark. In the second race, John O'Regan and company on The Main Four read the conditions best and came home to claim the bullet from the consistent Sea Hawk and Allure in third. Overall in IRC Two, Brian Goggins' Allure leads the way, with the Desmond, Ivers and Deasy outfit on Bad Company in second overall, despite having a race to forget in their latter outing on Sunday. Fortunately for them the discard is in play at this stage and gives Bad Company a three point lead from the KYC team on Sea Hawk. In ECHO 2, Sea Hawk leads overall after a bullet and third in the two races. The Main 4 made it a clean sweep in the second race and now holds second place overall in ECHO Two five points behind Sea Hawk, having discarded a ninth place finish from the first race where Lady Luck did not shine on them on their side of the beat. Bad Company lies a further two points astern.
In Class One, the Nagle and O'Malley team on Jelly Baby had a good day at the office claiming two bullets in IRC One. David Scott's Eos was hot on their heels in the first race, finishing just six seconds behind on corrected time, but they were called over the line at the start of the second race and in the very light and fluky conditions, getting back to the correct side of the start line proved costly. Dan Buckley's J109 Justus was as ever ready to pounce on any mistake and took the second place on offer to go with the third place she scored in the first race, while the Carroll Brothers on Chancer grabbed third place in the second race. Overall in IRC One, Jelly Baby has a two point lead over Eos, and is currently in the comfortable position of discarding a second place finish. Justus is a further six points adrift in third. In ECHO One, Justus and Chancer claimed their first wins of the series, while overall Jelly Baby holds a one point advantage over Aidan Heffernan's Indulgence, which was unable to repeat her heroics of last week. She's tied on points with Justus at this time.
Kieran Twomey's Gloves Off continues to set the standard in Class Zero IRC, scoring an emphatic victory in the first race of the day coming home almost seven minutes ahead of Tom Roche's Meridian on corrected time. Conor Doyle's consistent Freya came home third, but in the second race she chose the perfect line through all the holes in the breeze to round the top mark first and as the run to the finish line was transformed by a massive swing in the wind into a beat, reacted swiftly to claim the bullet by six seconds on corrected time from Gloves Off, which had taken a somewhat circuitous route through the wind holes to the top mark, but made amends on the way to the finish line. Tony O'Brien's White Tiger somehow avoided the melee at the start of the second race which saw both Meridian and Eos over the line and revelled in the conditions to claim a comfortable third. Overall, Gloves Off holds a one point lead over Freya with John Godkin's Godot 9.5 points behind, but with White Tiger and Meridian hot on her heals.
In IRC Restricted, Jelly Baby tops the table overall, with Eos three points off the pace. Freya and Justus lie a further eight points behind.