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John Minnis of Belfast Lough is Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" for May

2nd June 2021
John Minnis, successful First 31.7 campaigner in Irish and Scottish waters   
John Minnis, successful First 31.7 campaigner in Irish and Scottish waters  

We can only hope that next week's up-grading of our sailing from training events to official racing will hold up through a steadily developing season, despite the many challenges to continuing emergence from the pandemic. If it does, then when the full story of the sailing season of 2021 is finally analysed, it will be seen that the victory of John Minnis with his First 31.7 Final Call in last weekend's Scottish Series is in fact the first major "official" racing success this year, and a worthy "Sailor of the Month" winner for May.

Skipper Minnis and his keen crew are no strangers to being in the frame both in First 31.7 and handicap racing. But it took a special level of enthusiasm for a flotilla of cruiser-racers from Belfast and Strangford Loughs to cross the North Channel for a very controlled Scottish series in which the racing was certainly real and officially recognised, but just about everything else was virtual and socially distanced, with three different venues being used in the eastern Firth of Clyde.

Thus it wasn't felt appropriate to declare an overall winner, but had they done so, Final Call's very impressive scorecard and clear class win would have made her the favoured contender for the top title.

Final Call racing in the First 31.7 Class in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, when she finished second overall in a class of 14 boats. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'BrienFinal Call racing in the First 31.7 Class in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, when she finished second overall in a class of 14 boats. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

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