Nicholas 'Nin' O'Leary has had a successful weekend on and off the water in two countries. The Royal Cork ace organised this weekend's successful Dinghy Fest Regatta for over 100–boats in Crosshaven but in Cowes, UK, he also took Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80 YES! to an overall win of the 1342–boat Round the Island Race.
There were still a few hundred boats needing to finish their 2017 Round the Island Race yesterday, but mathematically none of them were able to dislodge Gosling's Irish crewed YES! from the top of the overall results, hence scoring them the biggest trophy of the day, the Gold Roman Bowl.
Gosling's crew included O'Leary and James Hynes. O'Leary, who was race director of Dinghy Fest at his Royal Cork Yacht Club, skipped to Cowes to participate in the massive UK race early on Saturday. As soon as O'Leary crossed the line, he was already making plans to be back in time to present the Dinghy Fest prizes at RCYC on Sunday.
Often they say that the race is won either by the biggest or the smallest boats and for a time it looked like this would be a big boat race, after an impressive performance from Irvine Laidlaw's Reichel-Pugh 82, Highland Fling XI.
However, with Fling sitting at the top of the results table, Yes! and much of the rest of the IRC1 fleet within which she was racing, stormed home to dislodge a number of previous finishers from the top positions.
Highland Fling did manage to hold onto second, but ultimately Yes! was in another league taking victory by just under eight minutes corrected. Gosling's team a well-known group in the Solent and have won a great many trophies and plaudits but the Round the Island Race win had thus far eluded them.
They join a very special group of 81 winners from the illustrious race.