Ronan Downing was crowned virtual Champion of Champions in Sunday night’s (3 May) nail-biting finale to the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Virtual Regatta leagues for April.
With 20 of the club’s best virtual sailors qualifying for the final, it was always going to be hotly contested.
Royal Cork Admiral Colin Morehead opened the Zoom meeting with a virtual prize-giving for all fleets and over 50 households were in attendance.
Colin commented on how great it was to see the club and its members continue to stay engaged through these difficult times. He also encouraged anyone interested in taking part to join any one of the Royal Cork’s many Virtual Regatta leagues.
Newly elected Irish Sailing president David O’Brien also joined the session and discussed how sailing’s national governing body is working with Sport Ireland to understand the implications of the Government roadmap on our activities.
Racing kicked off at 1900 with a six-race series allowing one discard and the final race being a double-points, non-discardable race. J70s were the boat of choice for the first three races and 49ers for the final three races.
Spectators who joined on Zoom were able to view the racing and were treated to commentary from Nicholas O’Leary, Séafra Guilfoyle and Cian Jones.
With five different race winners over six races, it was thrilling to watch. Virtual Regatta veterans Ronan Downing, Daragh Connolly and Donal Hegarty were proving hard to beat.
Thankfully, Laser sailor Harry Pritchard was keeping the boys honest and was in the hunt right up until the end, including a win in race five.
With five races completed, Daragh Connolly had a commanding lead going into the sixth and final race but disaster struck at the start when he was over the line and infringed another competitor, instantly ruling him out of contention.
Oppie sailor Liam Duggan and Topper sailor Joe O’Sullivan had a great battle but Ronan Downing’s speed proved too much and as he passed the lads downwind to take the lead which he held through to the finish.
This meant Ronan took first place overall in the series, Harry Pritchard was second and Daragh Connolly managed to climb back up to ninth in the final race which game him third overall. Full results are HERE.
RCYC issued congratulations to Ronan and thanks to all for joining and taking part on the night, league sponsors North Sails and RopeDock, and Siobhan Carmody for managing results.
Those looking to join in on the fun can sign up for one of the May leagues which will commence soon.