Nicholas ‘Nin’ O’Leary of Crosshaven is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month for September after retaining the all-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship in demanding light wind conditions in Cork last weekend.
Racing in the Irish Sailing Association’s flotilla of J80s, O’Leary was crewed by Adam McCarthy and Marty O’Leary in a nail-biting finish in which his closest challenger was his father Anthony. In fact, the duel between the two O’Leary helms became so intense that the Laser SB3 representative, New Zealander Ben Duncan from Howth, managed to pull off two first places in the two final races, resulting in separation for the podium places by fractions of points.
The well-run championship achieved a worthwhile spread of top scorers, as John Driscoll from Belfast Lough, sailing for the Squib class, was fourth, while the Lasers’ Paul MacMahon was fifth. In the Juniors racing Laser Radials, Mattie O’Dowd (17) of Dun Laoghaire is the new champion, while Diana Kissane of Howth is the 2009 All-Ireland Girls Junior Champion. Selecting the Sailor of the Month for September has been a lively business, as the offshore scene has had Michael Cotter continuing his winning ways with his 78-footer Whisper, topping the cruiser-racer division in the Maxi Regatta in the Med, while Vincent Farrell of the National YC has become the 2009 ISORA Champion.
Then too, new junior champion Mattie O’Dowd’s latest victory was the culmination of a fantastic season. However, as the month drew to a close, perhaps the best suggestion launched on the Afloat website forum was that Sally O’Leary of Crosshaven should be the winner for maintaining peace and purpose in a household of complete and utter boatnuts who are also into rugby.