#SAILOR OF THE MONTH – Pat Kelly of Rush Sailing Club is the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" for November after his J/109 Storm - crewed by fellow-Fingallions - was celebrated as the Irish Cruiser Racer Association "Boat of the Year" at the ICRA annual general meeting in Dun Laoghaire at the weekend.
The sailors of north Fingal are on a roll these days. Back in September, Matt Davis of Skerries won our monthly award after his Sigma 400 Raging Bull retained the Irish Sea offshore championship. And another Skerries sailor, windsurfer Oisin van Gelderen, continues to be Ireland's fastest man afloat, his current official best speed being 44.23 knots.
Now it's the turn of Rush to top the podium. Not that Rush is new to successful sailing. Once upon a time, it was the top port on the east coast of Ireland for smugglers who veered into privateering and occasionally even piracy. To succeed in any of these activities, they needed fast ships and able skippers, and captains like Luke Ryan and James Mathews gave Rush its formidable sailing reputation.
Storm was made ICRA Boat of the year last weekend and this Saturday her skipper Pat Kelly becomes Sailor of the month for November. Photos: Bob Bateman
Highlight of Pat Kelly's season with Storm was his outright class win in the ICRA Nationals at Crosshaven. Five wins in six races is the sort of performance that would get the Luke Ryan/James Mathews seal of approval. Storm was also regularly in the frame in many other major events, and had frequent success in regattas and club racing with a dedication to sailing that does her skipper and crew proud.
Pat kept his previous 30-footer in the tide-riven anchorage at Rogerstown off Rush SC's attractive south-facing clubhouse, one of the few south-facing sailing clubhouses in the entire country. However, with the bigger boat it was necessary to find a berth at Howth, and in fact Storm sails as a joint HYC/RSC entry. But the club in Howth wouldn't begrudge this success to their smaller neighbours to the north. And with their own marina in fine shape (it hosts next year's ICRA Nationals in late May), they'd be the first to agree that the only thing holding back north Fingal sailing from even greater achievements is the lack of sheltered and conveniently accessible pontoon berthing on the entire coast between Malahide and Carlingford Lough.
More from WM Nixon in the Irish Independent here