There was a tricky start to the IRC European Championships for Ireland's sole entry Fools Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club but the Rob McConnell skippered entry is still very much in the hunt and lies fifth from 12 starters in class three after only one race sailed so far in Cowes.
With such a light forecast, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's on-the-water officials, led by PRO Stuart Childerley, did well to complete one race on the opening day of the Europeans, incorporating the Commodores' Cup. Unfortunately the 5-7 knot north-northeasterly wind, all but disappeared just prior to the final IRC Two and Three boats finishing. After sending the fleet back to port, the PRO called it a day just before 1500 BST.
While only one race was held on the central Solent, there were some shining performances, none more so than the X-37 Hanson of Dane Michael Mollmann. Hansen not only beat all of her IRC Three rivals, but finished amid the front-runners in IRC Two.
IRC Two also had a run-away leader on the water in the Blair family's King 40 Cobra, however, they lost out a lot as the wind shut down on the final leg. This allowed their rivals on Roger Bowden's sistership, Nifty to live up to her name, sidestepping the stationary Cobra.
There was another run-away winner and an on-the-water lead change in IRC One, where James Neville's HH42 INO XXX led around the top mark only to be rolled by South African Mike Bartholomew's former GP42 Tokoloshe II on the first downwind. "We split from them and were going a bit quicker," explained Bartholomew. "It was pleasant enough, very shifty and the breeze was up and down, but we like that light stuff - the 40s are all quick in that." The FAST40+ yachts romped around the course and also benefitted from completing the last run before the breeze subsided.
Seven three boat teams have emerged to compete in this year's Commodores' Cup, being scored jointly with the IRC Europeans. After one race it is close, with the Celtic Team (Shaitan-Adventurer-Keronimo) tied at the top with Lastminute.EU (Hansen-Fargo-Juno) and just one point ahead of Haribo (Oui-Tilt Racing-Selma Racing). The Celtic Team, supported by Aberdeen Standard, benefitted today from podium finishes by both Adventurer and Keronimo.