The annual Irish University Sailing Association Intervarsity Team Racing Championship is the first major event to signal the new season, and 2018’s – at Kilrush on the weekend of March 9th to 11th – was vintage stuff. There were 28 teams taking part, including two from Scotland, in a series jointly organised by University College Cork and National University of Ireland Galway
In all, 194 sailors and supporters descended on the Shannon Estuary sailing mecca, and in a massive championship which saw 188 races being sailed, the final came down to Battle Royal in the excellent sailing conditions of a light to moderate westerly. This resulted in University College Cork 1 winning from the Scottish national team, Scottish Student Sailing, with UCD 1 placing third.
The organisation of an event of this scale is mind-boggling, but the multi-functonal Kilrush Marina’s many facilities were well able for it. Top skills were to be found afloat, where 28 different team captains had to keep their highly individualistic squads on message. Although it’s quintessentially a team event, inevitably it is the Captain of the winning team who is highlighted, and at Kilrush it was Brendan Lyden who led UCC 1 to victory and acclamation as “Sailor of the Month (Inshore)” for March 2018.
However, it being a team effort, it’s only fair to mention that the other two helms were Fionn Lyden and Aodh Kennedy, while the crews in the final were Jill McGinley, Sinead Barnett, and Lisa Smith. Next year’s event will be up on the lake at Blessington in West Wicklow, hosted by Trinity College Dublin.